Reddit launches in-house agency to help brands tap into communities

KarmaLab will offer workshops and insights for brands from Reddit users.

Reddit launches in-house agency to help brands tap into communities

As Reddit emerges as a key advertising destination, the platform wants to help brands take advantage of its offer.

On Thursday, the company announced KarmaLab, an in-house creative and strategy agency that offers insights, workshops, community management and campaign development for brands looking to connect with Reddit’s 52 million daily active users.

KarmaLab, which evolved out of Reddit’s creative strategy team, has had some of “the most in-demand offerings for Reddit partners” over the past year, said Will Cady, former head of creative strategy at Reddit, who will lead KarmaLab.

“We are launching the KarmaLab agency to bring clarity to our partners on what to ask for, and clarity for us on what kind of offerings to invest in,” he added.

The agency, which is already working with clients including Taco Bell, Volvo, Samsung and Snickers, will support brands on a range of activities both on- and off-platform, from defining brand purpose, to showing up organically in community conversations, to understanding how to launch a successful AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit.

Volvo, for instance, which invented the modern-day seatbelt, enlisted KarmaLab to help the automaker start a conversation around vehicle safety in communities for parents and car enthusiasts. The topic garnered thousands of stories and inserted Volvo at the center of a dialogue it wanted to be part of.

“Reddit has unique interest groups other platforms don't,” Cady said.

KarmaLab can also help brands spot conversations on Reddit that could inform their media or creative strategies months down the road.

The in-house agency worked with Taco Bell to highlight a story about a woman who went on an extraordinary journey to get a limited edition item from the fast food chain that wasn’t available in her state. Deutsch LA created a video about the story that became part of Taco Bell’s brand communications.

“Stories are being surfaced on Reddit and used to create [branding work],” Cady said. “Insights gleaned paint a picture of how people really feel on a community level.”

Unlike typical platform creative teams, KarmaLab aims to be present “from the beginning to the end” of a brand’s campaign, Cady added. The group will also help brands keep up with the speed of culture by mining insights from its user base.

“We want to identify the trends, topics and communities that matter to a brand, help with the dialogue and conversation and identify stories that can create the next steps [of a campaign],” Cady said. “That's where it takes a leap from being a Reddit campaign, to being a marketing campaign to being a culture campaign.”

KarmaLab is just shy of 20 people and is hiring. With the agency, Reddit is making a bet that digital communities, which rose to prominence over the past year, will remain prominent in culture even as parts of the world emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“KarmaLab looks for curiosities and pockets of culture on Reddit to create a mainstream moment,” Cady said. “Enabling our partners to be more predictive is a powerful addition to the overall marcomms tool kit.”

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