Reddit is a unique corner of the internet. Unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, Redditors don’t hop online to see and be seen; they’re there, instead, to have conversations. So are brands, founders, entrepreneurs, foodies, manufacturers, supply chain executives, marketers, and every kind of consumer under the sun. If you’re in the CPG world and you’re not on Reddit, the time is now.
Reddit is a series of forums on any topic imaginable dedicated to exchanging information and promoting civic discourse. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has said, “The overarching goal here is to create an environment where people can feel like they are able to be authentic and genuine.” Although this dialogue can sometimes take an ugly turn, Reddit is a place where, at its very best, users help each other quit smoking, fix relationship issues, find jobs, and even grieve together.
It’s mutual aid, 21st century-edition, and an invaluable resource for consumer insights and all things CPG and supply chain.
After the company left Condé Nast in 2011, the Reddit board recommitted to the site’s mission: “...to positively impact journalism, civic engagement, fundraising, product development, and learning.” Those last two are key: For entrepreneurs working closely with supply chain executives, Reddit is an invaluable resource to find community and get inspired by the innovation of others. Best of all, Reddit users are a uniquely devoted crowd, so you can be sure that the users in the thread take Reddit—and your contributions—seriously.
And now, your CPG-related guide to Reddit. Here are some of the best subreddits, both intimate and massively active, to follow and pay close attention to.
These are unprecedented times in the CPG industry. While mainstream news sources offer plenty of information, it can be hard to get the specific business insights you need. This is where Reddit comes into the picture. With subreddits that focus on different categories of consumer packaged goods, you can get a better sense of the consumer mindsets and behavioral trends—both quick to leave and here to stay.
This is where it gets tricky. Even though Reddit is a great marketing tool for up-and-coming brands, Reddit users loathe blatant marketing tactics, and some subreddits even ban commercial promotions in their corner of the web. Luckily, this mammoth site leaves plenty of room to get creative.
Two big brands in particular have found success with the Reddit crowd. KFC took an approach last year that had the air of a regular marketing campaign but played on Redditors’ characteristic quirkiness. KFC organized a giveaway that involved creating a winning drawing, essay, or photoshop piece to accompany a photograph. But the photo was of a taxidermy-style rug, and instead of an animal there was… Colonel Sanders. The campaign was a success.
On the other hand, UNIQLO has made an impact with a subtler, more integrated approach. Arielle Dyda, an e-commerce manager at UNIQLO, engaged with users through her personal Reddit account, @midnight1214. “Being able to be a genuine person is important,” Dyda says. “I joke around with them, I post memes. I’m savvy with the Reddit lingo and that makes me one of them. I’m not just Uniqlo (sic), I’m midnight1214, and I understand the jokes and I understand frustrations, but I’m going to be here to help you when you need it.” Dyda’s mentality has paid off: she has led successful meetups at UNIQLO stores, created high-engagement posts about deals and product launches in subreddits such as r/frugalmalefashion, and—above all—given the brand a human face.
There are also opportunities on Reddit to harness niches and get on the radars of people who’d be most interested in your product. People love to support small, local businesses—especially in the post-COVID world we’re all growing into. Start targeting location-based subreddits to make a name for yourself as a local business and even partner up with other entrepreneurs in the area.
Other Reddit niches have an interactive aspect that goes beyond just exchanging comments. Some, like r/snackexchange and r/SampleSize, provide avenues to unique opportunities for marketing and information-gathering. Through the subreddit Snack Exchange, you could send boxes of your specialty product to consumers across the country and even across the world. Through Sample Size, you could send out surveys to potential consumers and get genuine feedback from a random pool. This exposure—whether on-the-ground or up in the air, so to speak—can be priceless.
And then there are the subreddits where you can find ideas for marketing initiatives that don’t involve posting on Reddit itself:
Finally, Reddit-adjacent services exist that allow you to more easily keep up with your community contributions and industry. TrackReddit makes it easy to track subreddits and phrases so the place you carve out for yourself doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
In a time when human connection feels scarce, Reddit provides an online spaces to turn to. Uplifting one another through community-building will benefit everyone, whether you’re a CPG brand or not. And while you’re there, see what we’re up to and give us a shout @UnioncrateCPG!
Editor's note: This post has been updated.
Unioncrate is an AI-powered Supply Chain Planning Platform that gives CPG brands the technology they need to compete and win in a rapidly changing consumer landscape. Our automated demand and supply forecasts deliver unmatched accuracy, collaborative visibility, and actionable intelligence, simplifying a manual-heavy process and slashing hours from your week.