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MarketingSherpa Video Archive

Authentic Marketing: How The Onion built trust with skeptical customers to grow into a $500 million brand

Scott Dikkers, Founder, The Onion


“What’s your brand? What’s the most outrageous thing you can do that’s within the character of your brand? Play that role to the hilt, and you may never have to do marketing again,” said Scott Dikkers, Founder, The Onion, during his featured speaker session at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017.

For example, at The Onion, Dikkers decided, “We’re going to stop sending out press releases and we’re going to start doing things that are worthy of press attention.”

You likely think of The Onion as the world's most prominent parody news website. But it’s also a powerful digital brand with more than 5.8 million likes on Facebook, 9 million Twitter followers, 11.4 million domains linking to them in the Ahrefs database, and 30 million people collectively visiting its websites every month.

In 1989, featured speaker Scott Dikkers bought The Onion for $16,000. The digital media company recently sold a stake to Univision at an approximately $500 million valuation.

In this full, free video replay of his Summit session, the satirical news source’s longest running editor-in-chief (and winner of more than 30 Webby Awards) provides an inside look at how The Onion:

  • Built an engaging, authentic relationship with its audience
  • Wrote attention-grabbing headlines
  • Tapped into real-time, trending topics
  • Managed creative talent and led high performers (“Leave people alone and let them do what they are born to do, what they are compelled to do,” Dikkers said.)

Related Resources

What Marketers Can Learn From The Onion: Interview with founding editor Scott Dikkers

GET FREE ACCESS: Session Replays and Presentation Slides from MarketingSherpa Summit 2017

Transparent Marketing: Marketing is not about programs; it is about relationships