Give Kudos

Strava takes on social media with a global positivity campaign.

Social networks have had a rough run in recent years, from fake news to privacy breaches to public apologies to congressional hearings. As many are questioning social media’s impact on society, Strava saw the issue as an opportunity to show the world what makes their social network different from the rest.

Strava came to Stink Studios to create a global campaign that would highlight the positivity and support shared among the millions of athletes who use their platform to track activity, share results and motivate one other toward further progress.

“Kudos” are the little orange thumbs that correlate to a “Like,” “Heart,” or “Star” on other platforms. But unlike those other platforms, kudos are given for actual physical activity (not just selfies and political rants) so they represented the perfect vehicle for a head-to-head comparison. We kicked off the phased campaign with out-of-home that ran in London, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco.

The foundation of the global campaign was a documented set of guidelines that set the tone and style for visuals and language based on an evolution of the Strava core identity. The guidelines were used to unify the work of multiple teams that included Strava’s internal social media team and global creative partners.

From that foundation, we created eclectic materials that reinterpreted kudos in many forms, celebrating them as more than just a button on a screen. They’re the head-nod on the trail. The secret handshake of the run club. The applause of the crowd. The spoken and unspoken ways athletes recognize, support and celebrate each other.

Strava was keen to involve their community in amplifying the message, so, with the hashtag #GiveKudos, we created a way for Strava athletes to spread their support to the rest of the world (and the rest of social media). The campaign is centered around providing tools for athletes to give kudos online, in social media, on the Strava app, and IRL, and we built at the center of it all.

The campaign hub is a place for athletes to give their own kudos and to see the energy the campaign has generated worldwide. Behind the scenes, our digital team developed a lightweight, React-based framework to quickly generate static site builds for each of our fourteen global locales using data from our headless CMS.

Our in-site Kudos Creator was built with canvas, with a back end of various Node.js microservices triggered through AWS Lambda functions. This serverless architecture offered us almost limitless scalability while providing our client large cost -savings.

We created a library of Giphy stickers and a set of screenshot templates for athletes to give kudos in their Instagram stories, complementing the kudos you can give in-feed via the kudos creator on the campaign hub site. Search strava or kudos in the Giphy library and see @strava's story highlights to make your own.

Our How-To films show what it means to give kudos in real life. Watch them all here.

The campaign site attracted 2 million visitors in the first month, and we’ve counted over 14,000 unique Instagram posts with the #GiveKudos hashtag.

Partnering with Stink Studios pushed our creative further than we could have imagined. The team's energy, organization, sharp ideas and thoughtfulness every step of the way was awesome to work alongside.
Annie VranizanGlobal Brand Marketing LeadStrava