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Community Champions: How Taylor Weitzel keeps a 135-year-old community fresh

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What is your name, title, and company?

My name is Taylor Weitzel and I’m the Associate Manager for Influencer and Public Relations at Newell Brands. You can find me on Instagram at @the_weithouse.

Tell us about Ball Canning and your role there.

As a member of the Ball Canning Brand Communications team, I support the brand by handling all public and influencer relations. In 2020, this looks like managing our first-ever Ball Canning Brand Ambassador program, which is an influencer program partnering with 9 ambassadors throughout the duration of the year. 

What does community mean to Ball Canning?

Community and Ball Canning are synonymous. If you’ve ever tried your hand at canning, you know that sharing what you’ve made with others is just as important as the canning itself. Ball Canning has encouraged and enabled this type of community for the past 135 years and continues to do so with new platforms, such as social media, where consumers can share photos of their pantries filled with canned goods or their favorite ways to use Ball Mason jars. 

Ball uniquely engages a community of canners, foodies, and home organizers. Tell us about your most valued community members.

Thanks to the sustainability and versatility of Ball Mason jars, our most valued community members range from canners to DIYs. The bread-and-butter (pun intended) community of Ball jars consisted of at-home canners growing large gardens and preserving the flavors of summer for months to come. Today, that community is still as active and proud of their results as they were 135 years ago. In addition to our core canners, in recent years we’ve seen Ball mason jar lovers innovate and create new ways to use the jars. Whether it’s canning, crafting, home decor or dry food storage, the Ball Canning community continues to show us how the Ball mason jar has endless uses. 

From asking creators to produce content to events, how do you activate your community?

With communities being such a huge part of the Ball Canning brand, we are always looking for new ways to keep our community engaged with the brand and with other members. That can look like activating influencers to be an extension of those conversations, challenging our large Facebook and Instagram audiences with prompts such as “show us your canning pantry” or “how many Ball jars do you have?”, or highlighting the many small businesses that use our products.

When did you recognize the need for an ambassador program and how have you approached building that?

As the go-to expert for canning, the Ball Canning team saw a need to develop an ambassador program that not only showed off the amazing jars, but partnered with creators who could become true extensions of our brand. Additionally, we felt it was important to begin developing partnerships that benefited the creators as much, if not more, than it benefitted us. We truly want it to be a partnership built off the foundation of the love of Ball mason jars. 

What strategies have you personally seen be most successful in building, growing, and engaging a brand community?

We believe it’s important to always have an open ear to all of our community, whether that’s from our social media community, brand ambassadors, small businesses, or even restaurants that use our products. We do our best to listen to all feedback, both positive and negative, to respond individually when possible, and to re-share content that our community is proud of. We also take the time to recognize new trends that our community brings to use and provide innovative products that continue to spark excitement in our community. An example of this would be two of our latest innovations: Ball Flute Jars and the Ball Fermentation Kit. With both products, we saw our community using our products for both drinkware and fermentation, and saw an opportunity to continue innovating for their needs. 

What does the next phase of your community program look like?

We are always looking for new ways to engage our current audience and invite new people to join our growing community. In light of the current environment, we are looking at ways to provide virtual resources for our consumers such as classes and educational content to continue inspiring them to use Ball mason jars throughout their home. 

What are your top resources for keeping up with the evolving marketing landscape?

With a social-first background, I stay active on the platforms and receive a stream of resources daily that help me stay on top of the always evolving changes. I also look for continuous education opportunities (such as ANA)  in both the influencer and public relations fields to maintain my expertise in both categories. Last, but certainly not least, I look to my colleagues, both within Newell and across agencies, to learn from their insights, wealth of knowledge, and experiences. 

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