Krispy Kreme Heats Up Engagement with TINT and UGC


Food & Beverage

Top Use Cases

For the last 80+ years, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has made “the most awesome doughnuts on the planet every single day.” So, it’s no surprise that customers want to excitedly share photos of their tasty treats across social media. For Krispy Kreme, this virality offers an opportunity to show the world the genuine love customers have for its delicious doughnuts.

You’d think that a highly shareable product and an enthusiastic fan base would be a recipe for automatic success, but there was one challenge to overcome: how do you create a source that makes the most of that fan engagement?

The Challenge: Create Source of Fan Engagement

As businesses and marketers understand, it’s simply not enough to generate impressions and engagement. The work put into creating meaningful interactions with customers and prospects should be thought of as an ongoing investment—not a one-off campaign. Best practice means you’re reusing those efforts to generate even more touchpoints with audiences.

Krispy Kreme’s marketing team and social media director, Kelley O’Brien, found an answer to this challenge through TINT, a user generated content (UGC) platform. For O’Brien and Krispy Kreme, UGC as a marketing practice meant they could give their brand some heart.

O’Brien described the lack of UGC for any company as a one-sided perspective that narrows the experience for customers. With TINT’s ability to maximize UGC, O’Brien knew Krispy Kreme could capture the heart of people’s experiences with the brand and bridge the gap between the digital and real world.


increase in Instagram followers


increase web sessions



days worth of content aggregated

The Solution: Krispy Kreme Heats Up Engagement with TINT

Krispy Kreme was able to take on this engagement challenge with TINT in some creative ways that increased key metrics while simultaneously representing the warmth of its brand. One use is likely familiar to most marketers: promoting an exciting new idea quickly with limited time and resources.

The key to overcoming this challenge meant combining TINT with Krispy Kreme’s hashtags. This simple but effective move allowed the company to close the gap between its users and marketing promotions. Below are some key campaign examples:

  • #hathathooray: A celebration of the company’s 75th anniversary, centered around workers’ iconic hats, generated great engagement. For its 78th birthday, the hashtag was reactivated as a method for entry to a contest and with TINT’s help was used to build micro-doughnuts from the participant images on landing pages.
  • #krispykreemelove: The love is real for Krispy Kreme as proven by fan praise. TINT’s ability to populate screens and webpages with hashtagged posts allowed Krispy Kreme to literally spread the love.
  • #hotlight: Krispy Kreme created a sensory experience with this highly engaging hashtag that would allow customers to know if hot doughnuts were ready to pick up.
  • #krispykreememoments: This hashtag generated priceless brand moments like those of customers eagerly waiting in line and helped grow their Instagram followers from 0 to 1.6 million.

In each of these cases, it’s TINT powerful and customizable aggregation capabilities that enabled effective user generated content curation. The quality and quantity of authentic images Krispy Kreme collected for campaigns with TINT was unlike anything they could do manually. Plus, the organic growth produced through these campaigns can be attributed to higher quality content—engagement that did not need to be bought.

“TINT added the life and content that we had a shortage of. So from that perspective it filled a huge void that comes with needing 365 days of content. You’re able to supplement like a hundred days out of the 365 using TINT feeds and curation.”

Kelley O’Brien, Krispy Kreme, Director of Social Media

The Results: Building Brand Health, Acquisitions, and Priceless Moments

With TINT, Krispy Kreme was able to move the needle across across a wide range of marketing touchpoints and metrics. Take for instance the results from #NationalDonutDay:

  • Web traffic: 25,000 sessions → 330,000 sessions
  • Twitter mentions: most mentioned national brand on Twitter

The sum total of these benefits helped pave the way for new customer acquisition. Along the way, TINT’s platform offered up engagement at new levels with increased frequency and quality of content. The UGC collected led to the brand being able to show off what O’Brien described as “priceless moments.”

And it’s this last point that showcases the power of delivering UGC to customers. O’Brien told us that building brand health and alliance is something existing brands, especially long lived ones, crave. For O’Brien, increasing this brand health through social is as important as getting customers through the door:

“Adding users is the same as adding customers to a restaurant, capturing the heart of people experiencing a brand.”

Kelley O’Brien, Krispy Kreme, Director of Social Media

Final Takeaway: Advice for Other Marketers

We ended our interview with a question about the value of TINT and UGC for creating and repurposing content from social media. O’Brien’s answer went well beyond aggregation or metrics. The social media director’s advice expertly describes a best practice that all companies can get behind:

“I would say UGC can be the fundamental thread in building out a brand’s existence, presence, and harnessing all the love of a brand. With UGC, you can truly exemplify the heart and the core of what people think and believe while living the company’s mission.”

Kelley O’Brien, Krispy Kreme, Director of Social Media

The trusted enterprise solution for over 5,000 of the world’s leading brands

Speak to a Strategist

Ready to build an army of brand loyalists?
We're here every step of the way.