All about content: Whirlpool’s niche Web sites build brand affinity

Whirlpool’s online hubs about cooking and cleaning, coupled with its social media presence, tout Whirlpool’s expertise without promoting its products in a crassly commercial way.

Missy Stevens had a laundry problem.

Like many others in her position, she turned to Twitter for help.

“#Whirlpool, any thoughts on why the clothes get so tangled in the washer? I can’t imagine they’re getting clean when tied in knots,” she wrote. “Help!”

In stepped Whirlpool’s Institute of Fabric Science, first to simply ask which washer she had—it was a Whirlpool Duet Stream—then offering up a series of tweets suggesting she use a shorter cycle, lower the spin speed, load fewer items and mix up the items in each load.

At no point did the Institute’s tweeter tell Stevens she needed to buy some new doo-dad to make her washer work better. And that’s the whole point of the Institute of Fabric Science and its sister, the Institute of Kitchen Science, says Monica Teague, senior manager of PR and brand experience for Whirlpool. Acting as a resource—versus promoting products—goes a long way in developing brand loyalty.

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