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A New CEO Blog From Mayfield Dairy Farms

09/18/2006

Mayfield_logo Welcome Scottie Mayfield, CEO of Mayfield Dairy Farms and Rob Mayfield, VP to the wonderful world of blogs!

Although Mayfield Dairy Farms is a subsidiary of Dean Foods the company retains the culture of a close-knit, family business. Scottie and Rob Mayfield are grandsons of founder T.B. Mayfield. The company distributes throughout the southeast to Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia and Mississippi.

I've been waiting since the spring to write this post when Diva Amanda Carmichael, WaterhousePR, invited me to present a workshop and ideology session on blogs to one of the firms coolest clients Mayfield Dairy Farms. My first question to Amanda was not how should we position the strategy but, "Will Scottie  Mayfield be there?" Scottie Mayfield is the spokesperson of the brand and has quite a fan club .. including this Diva. <wink> And yes, ScottieScottie_mayfield was at our meeting and I wasn't disappointed. Scottie is as charming and down-to-earth as he appears in TV promotions.

One of Mayfield Dairy Farm's social media goals is in-line with the culture of blogs .. to tell the stories of the people who are the company. So while other dairy blogs may concentrate on providing information to specific segments, Mayfield's Dairy Blog is all about the behind the scene company stories.

Posts range from Rob's story about his childhood with Scottie to Scottie's post about new products and how ice cream flavors are chosen.

In keeping with that strategy it's not just all about Scottie and Rob. The Mayfield Dairy Blog is a multi author blog and includes an administrative assistant, plant managers and even a few sales and marketing people.

Welcome Mayfield Bloggers! - Mayfield "Moms" Brittney Smith, Lisa Dotson and Intern Cayci and Plant Managers Eddie Allen, Scott Watson and Mary Williams, GM and Alan Owen, Marketing and Robbie Roberts, Sales and Tangela Arnwine, HR and Chad McKeehan, Visitors Center and Jan Montgomery, Consumer Affairs and guest blogger Dr. Michael Zemel, "Guru of Nutrition" from the University of TN.

Scottie took some time out from making sure that Mayfield's latest flavor, Blueberry Cream Pie, was ready to hit the stores, to give me his take about how blogs fit into Mayfield Dairy Farm's marketing strategy.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why did Mayfield Dairy Farms decide to blog?

Scottie Mayfield: We base many of our product decisions on the opinions of our consumers. We have two visitor centers. We have formal and informal focus groups on a frequent basis. We have an in-house consumer affairs department to answer phone calls.

We have over six hundred people, in the market daily, absorbing input from consumers. We have a group of 85 "Mayfield Moms" who sample consumers year round, and they provide feedback. I personally get out in the market and talk to people as much as I can.

We recently had over 500,000 votes cast by consumers to select a permanent ice cream flavor (Blueberry Cream Pie won). We want consumer input. Having a blog seemed like a natural extension of our efforts to provide consumers a way to talk to us.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Many CEO's are fearful of the blogoshere. They think the competition will discover their company's trade secrets, they think that negative comments will harm the brand and they feel they don't have time to blog. How would you respond?

Scottie Mayfield: We do some special things to make our milk taste better than other milks and to make our ice cream creamier than other ice creams. These extra steps are costly and take a real commitment on our part. They are not that secretive. We typically don't talk about the processes we use as much as the benefit.

I am not as concerned about our competitors reading our blog. I am more interested in having a personal dialog with our consumers. There is value in having that type dialog. If a consumer has a negative comment, I want to hear it.

If we are aware of a problem we can solve it. When I have the opportunity to talk to a consumer who has a problem, it provides me a great opportunity to understand, improve and most importantly show that specific consumer that I care about their problem. We may not be perfect, but we can fix things when they do not meet or exceed someone's expectations.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Level with me Scottie. You're among friends. Are you really writing the blog yourself?

Scottie Mayfield: We have several contributors to our blog. We all write our own entries each month. Some of mine have been pertinent to business and some have simply been personal experiences. I do write mine myself. I would admit that I have someone make sure my spelling is correct.  On a personal note, I enjoy your blog and I appreciate your interest in our blog.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Appreciate your kind words, Scottie. I am enjoying yours also. And thanks for the ice cream cone!

One more CEO for Debbie Weil's next book on Corporate Blogging!

Do You Have A Social Media Success Story?

09/16/2006

Next month I'm teaching a workshop on social media at AMA's Marketing Workshop conference in San Diego. October 24/Sheraton San Diego. Divas and divos, I'm betting a cosmo that you can quess two of the burning questions that inevitably come up at these sessions. 

One - Can a business make any money from this stuff?
Two - Can you give any examples of how blogs have helped moved a business along?

Do_not_close_minds_sign Now granted it all goes back to your goals and objects. What determines "success" is different for every company. I know the drill about how blogs can build relationships, extend brand, provide customer feedback, ect..etc..etc.

That said -  I'm looking for a couple of interesting examples to share that demonstrate that social media/blogs don't just suck resources but contribute to a company's success.

What's your return? My gratitude. An opportunity to have your story told to marketers who want to learn about this new media. And I'll post on Diva with link love to your blog.

Sidebar: Blog pal Sybil F. Stershic, Quality Service Marketing, will be teaching her in-demand session - Marketing from the Inside Out: Engaging Employees for Strategic Advantage� If you have an interest in internal marketing and internal communication this workshop won't disappoint nor will Sybil's blog.

Sidbar: Drop a comment if you want to meet-up Sunday, 10/22 for dinner or drinks.

Edelman's Pioneer Thinking Portal: Opportunity For Diversity

09/16/2006

Edelman Edelman's blog portal - Pioneer Thinking lists the firm's thought leaders in social media.

Diva and divos let's play a game. It's a spin on a game you might have played in kindergarten. Take a look at the list of Edelman Bloggers and find the one that does not fit.

Richard
Steve
David
Neville
Stephnn
Guillaume
Alan
Phil
Christopher
Marilynn
Wolfgang
Phil
Hoh
Bjorn
Wszyscy razem ;)
Maciej
Sebastian

Did you find the person who is not like the rest? I'll give you a hint: she is the only woman.

I find it difficult to believe that a company that positions itself as the 5th largest independent public relations firm with approximately 2,000 employees who work in 43 cities across four continents with 70 percent of its U.S. staff comprised of women has only ONE WOMAN who is considered  a thought leader in social media.

However, do not dispair, Edelman is committed to diversity and their website states,"To continue building the diversity it takes to succeed in the 21st century and beyond, we’ve appointed Michelle Deese to spearhead the initiative. If you have any questions or comments about diversity at Edelman, please contact Michelle at [email protected]."   

Based on that it seems to me that Edelman is on the look out for a few good women in the social media space. Might want to shoot Ms. Deese off an email if you think your qualifications are on par with the men and woman included in the above list.

For More Information Refer To Edelman's Diversity Web Page.

Update 9-29-06:  Noticed a few women were added to the Edelman Blog Portal -- Cornelia Kunze, Alexandra Levit and there seems to be a woman who is blogging from Edelman Milan. Keep looking RIchard, I know you have talented women in your organization who would be/are great bloggers!

Friday Fun: Dishin' Online

09/15/2006

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Girls_night_out_hallmark_cardDivas what do you dish about when you and your girlfriends get together for GNOs or for VHHs?
Sidebar: For the divos stopping by - GNO = Girls Night Out. VHH = Virtual Happy Hour via phone/skype chats with out-of-town girlfriends complete with sharing a glass of vino or a blueberry beer.

Chats with my girlfriends range from work to politics to relationships. Always there's talk about hot restaurant (they come and go so quickly in Atlanta!) and the latest finds and bargains. Inevitably someone wants advice about where to find a new stylist, doctor or something to do with her house. Beth once tried to put together a little directory of handy people .. didn't quite make it.

A few weeks ago a pipe broke in my yard. I found a plumber on a local search site. Yes ma'am, I read the reviews. The plumber worked out fine. But the website experience was a yawn .. a little drab sort of like a muddy gray. Why not have some fun while you're checking out a spa or a plumber or a shoe boutique? Why do these things have to be so .. well ..  geeky?

Diva Extraordinare Jeneane Sessum told me about Chick Advisor that seems to be pulling a lot of the pieces together including some online bling mixed in with widgets, tags, hot lists and a bunch of social media links. The Chick_advisorconcept of a community of women who -

Together, we can define what works, what doesn't, what's hot and where to go in our own cities and on the go! Come as you are, and share what you know.

- is the vision of Ali , who along with her techie husband Alex, are building out the concept city-by-city beginning with Toronto, Canada.

Chick Advisor “chicks” report on beauty, shopping, restaurants, health, fitness, and deals. All chicks get their own profile page. Would like to see the product/service reviews link directly to websites.

One of the neatest features is the floating tag cloud that greets readers on the front page. Users can grab on to a term that floats by and click through to related reviews in that area. Mouse over the logo in the upper left corner and create a star trail.

So I'm thinking .. it would be cool to have a community where women could share, rate and dish about products and services; in an online environment that is enjoyable and offers value-add content. Chick Advisor when are you coming to Hot'lanta?

Astrology_14 business astrology for fun -
from The
Astro Divas
Paula Dare & Donna Page

Think before you speak is the key phrase for the Mercury Mars conjunction today. The power in communication will be demonstrated by being forthright yet fair. If you are in negotiations seeing the other side of the person’s position is vital, otherwise a power struggle can ensue and a stalemate will occur.

Early next week ruminate over the ideal job; the universe is asking us to make work fun, appreciate what is available and take action towards something even greater. Rediscover the core value and service your business provides and you will naturally pull ahead of the curve.
 

New CEO Blog From M/A/R/C

09/13/2006

Merrill_dubrowBy: Toby - Diva Marketing

A long over due "welcome to the blogosphere" to Merrill Dubrow, CEO & President of M/A/R/C Research. M/A/R/C Research, a part of Omni com Group Inc., is one of the top marketing  research firms in  the  U.S.  Merrill joins an elite group of senior-level researchers who are blogging: Laurent Flores, Jim Nail, Max Karloff to name a few.

Sidebar: You may know Omni Group, Inc. through some of its other portfolio companies such as global advertising brands BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide or TBWA Worldwide.

The Merrill Dubrow Blog holds a special bloggy place in the blogs that I helped launched. You just never know where your friends will land as they forge their career paths. Merrill and I were AMA Chapter presidents at the same time. He was in Boston and I was in Atlanta. In one of his first blog posts Merrill tries to bring past AMA presidents together. A nice use of social media.

Last March I had the pleasure of spending the day with Merrill and his team in Dallas discussing social media. Some people just intuitively "get" blogs and social media. The M/A/R/C team including Joan Treistman (NYC past AMA president), Randall A. Wahl and Kevin Robertson were spinning ideas as fast as we could write them down.

And Merrill. As I told Merrill, some people are born to blog and Merrill is one.  Sure he's still finding his blog "voice" .. so I ask you to cut him some slack. What will you find on The Merrill Dubrow Blog?  A mixture of personal, opinion, thought leadership and teachings about an industry he clearly loves .. marketing research. And the Red Sox. What would you expect from a guy from Boston?

I was able to catch-up with Merrill for a mini interview where he explains the back-story of why M/A/R/C launched a CEO blog.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why did M/A/R/C decide to blog?

Merrill Dubrow: A few reasons – need to communicate in lots of different ways these days. Blogs are just another way. Wanted to get postings out there to try and stimulate dialog with industry contacts and frankly I think I can learn a great deal  in the process. As I mentioned I am NOT sure where they are headed but I wanted to make sure we were on the wave and lets see where it takes us. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Many CEOs are fearful of the blogosphere. They think the competition will discover their company's  trade secrets, they think that negative comments will harm the brand and they feel  they don't have the time to blog.  How would you respond?

Merrill Dubrow: Clearly I am not going to talk about company revenues and profit BUT pretty much everything else is fair game. I believe in the more you put into things the more you get out. When I present at conference I am very open – just ask anyone who has heard me. In fact most times I am the highest rated speaker because one of the main reasons is because I am honest.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Level with me Merrill. You're among friends. Are you really writing the blog yourself?          

Merrill Dubrow: I write like I talk and present – I have been told I will be a good blogger ... I HAVE WRITTEN ALL OF THE POSTINGS SO FAR AND DOUBT THAT WILL EVER CHANGE ... If I didn’t they would all be about research.

Debbie Weil .. here's a CEO blog to add to your next book about c-level blogging!

Calling Real Estate Bloggers

09/12/2006

Paul Chaney, Blogging Systems, is offering a free webinar about How Will Deploying a Real Estate Blog Impact Your Real Estate Business?. Great opportunity to learn from one of the visionaries of the business blogosphere.

September 13- 2pm EST - (1pm CST, 11am PST)
September 14- 2pm EST - (1pm CST, 11am PST)

Reflect. Remember. 9/11

09/11/2006

911_remembered

One day. One moment in time. Our lives were changed forever.

Next time you're in Atlanta stop by the National Museum of Patriotism. It is the only museum in our nation dedicated to patriotism. The museum was born from the passion of one man, Nick Snider, who believed one man could make a difference by inspiring and educating. When you're there be certain to see the 9-11 exhibit. Powerful in its simplicity.

Thanks to Jennifer for the graphic

Friday Fun: Cereal Goes Chic

09/08/2006

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Never know what might inspire a Friday Fun post. Today's Friday Fun is complements of of Wendy, a grad student at Florida International University. Wendy is studying finance and did her undergrad work at the University of Texas. 

Cereal_bowl__3 Last week I received an email with the subject line - Cool Story for your blog

Bloggers frequently receive PR pitches for new products but this email wasn't slick. It seemed real to me.

I'm a big fan of your blog....I just came back from this cool place in Miami which is also opening up in Gainesville and Atlanta later this year its called The Cereal Bowl.

However, I shot Wendy an email asking if she was affiliated with the company or an agency. I can only imagine what ran through Wendy's mind as she ready those questions. She emailed back that she was a student and just thought I'd find this new restaurant fun.

We thought it would be cool if Wendy wrote a review. So Divas and Divos, for your reading pleasure, -drum roll - here is Wendy's first blog post, Diva Marketing Blog's first restaurant review and first guest blog author! 
Sidebar: I think Wendy shot the photos and if you look very closely you can see a reflection of her taking the outdoor shot.

Cereal Is Not Just For Saturday Morning Cartoons
    By Diva Wendy, Favorite Cereal: General Mills Trix

After first reading about The Cereal Bowl I was skeptical about the idea of paying to eat cereal outside of the home. My friends finally dragged me down there and the place was nothing like I had envisioned it. Cereal_bowl__1

It really was like a Coldstone for cereals. All of the cereal and topping options that could make you head spin. One of the things that really surprised me was how extensive their menu was. It wasn't just cereal like you would find it in a bowl but they had come up with lots of creative ways that I never thought you could do cereal.Cereal_bowl__2

My favorite however was the Freeze 'N Flakes which was a machine that blended cereals into a soft serve ice cream to make it take on the flavor of the cereal. As far as the atmosphere goes think ok a funky Starbucks that is cool enough for college kids but not to stuffy where it would turn off families. Overall my experience was pleasantly surprising and I can't wait to go back.

My new favorite cereal is Kraft's Grape-Nuts Trail Mix Crunch. What's your favorite cereal?

Sidebar: Great example of customer evangelism.

Astrology_14 business astrology for fun -
from The
Astro Divas
Paula Dare & Donna Page

Happy Friday Diva babes…. Are you all still buzzing from the full moon eclipse last night?

If your friends and coworkers seem off center and emotional well that is the norm for now. This weekend we have Mars moving into Libra and the moon in Aries, the question is how can we get what we want but still be fair? Or do we really need to make compromises to be able to get our desires met?

Business should be running at full speed next week, stay focused on your top priorities.  With the moon in Gemini and Saturn moving at a good clip the tendency to be scattered with too many projects and too little time is a major problem.

 

MySpace You Tube "Smash-Up" Promotion

09/07/2006

Cruise__2 I've been MIA the last few days from Diva Marketing. Sorry but I've been in another country with Diva blogger  Marianne Richmond .. or so it seemed to me. No girlfriend, it wasn't a (well deserved) holiday on the beach with drinks that have cute little umbrellas. We were playing and working in MySpace and YouTube. Which believe me .. is a whole new world.

Every once in awhile you work with people who are willing to step off the mundane path and blaze a new trail. Donna Lyons-Miller, founder and CEO of GourmetStation, is one such amazing women.

Yesterday we took a deep breath and launched an innovative promotion -  Get Out Of The Dog House Video Campaign. It's lots of social media / Web 2.0 interwoven with traditional strategies and with a touch of heart - donations to the Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) Rescue Foundation.  

At Donna's suggestion Marianne and I will be blogging the progress on Diva Marketing Blog and on Resonance Partnership. We hope to share some of the lessons we've learned and will learn along the way. We also invite and encourage your suggestions, feedback and of course participation. It's been a bit of a rocky road .. MySpace makes Typepad look like Web 10.0 in terms of page development so we will be tweaking as the campaign progresses.

So how's it coming along? In under 24-hours, with no promotion -  2 orders Zip videos.

Part 1 The BackStory - Get Out Of The Dog House Campaign

A few months ago  Donna & I caught up for brunch at Food 101, a great restaurant in Atlanta's Morningside neighborhood. Donna was looking for a Big Idea, on a limited budget of course (!), that would help lift awareness of the GourmetStation.

Light bulb moment! A viral video contest would be cool. Off I went to develop a fun little project that was to morph into motion art (kinetic) with mountains of moving pieces. Lucky me to have Marianne to partner with on this project.
Sidebar: What is one ROI from blogging? Relationships that lead to friendships and even business partnerships.

We're fondly calling this a Smash-Up Promotional Strategy because it is built on a smash-up of a number of social media tactics: MySpace, YouTube, viral, word of mouth; as well as, traditional marketing tactics: PR, couponing and partner relations. Why include traditional? Because not all your customers are online all the time.

Objectives

  • Motivate consumer interest in GourmetStation
  • To reinforce GourmetStation’s positioning as a “gifting solution" to current customers
  • Introduce GourmetStation’s positioning as a “gifting solution” to a new target audience

        Goals

  • Create a viral video contest that engages the target audience in a fun, interact manner
  • Capitalizes on key consumer trends: user generated content, video, reality entertainment, and online social networks
  • To increase brand awareness and interest about GourmetStation within the existing target demographics
  • To evaluate the potential of a younger target group to generate incremental sales.

From the heart - We are proud to partner with the Borzoi Rescue Foundation. Borzoi's are very special to Donna who is involved with the rescue of these sweet dogs. GourmetStation will donate $10 to the Foundation for every Get Out Of The Dog House coupon that is redeemed through 12-31-06.

    Promotional Elements

  • MySpace
  • YouTube (to house contest videos)
  • Relationship strategies
  • Websites and video directories
  • Traditional and online public relations
  • eMail campaign
  • GourmetStation website
  • GourmetStation extend product line
  • GourmetStation couponsof various levels

Viral Marketing - There are cute little buttons

And More Viral Tactics - Tell A Friend eMail, down loadable music, and the sweetest photo slideshows of Borzoi rescue dogs, dogs that need a home and a special Favorite Pooch slideshow. Send me a jpeg of your dog and I'll add it to the show [email protected]. Yes, of course little Maxie is included!

MySpace Friends - Another unique twist in this kinetic strategy - building relationships with comedians on and off MySpace. It's not unusual for companies to tap into the music community on MySpace. However, the comedy community has been overlooked .. until now. It seemed like a natural extension of our MySpace strategy. The Get Out Of The Dog House teaser videos were made by comedian Jed Fearson and TruGritz's  Jen Gordon. They're also going to introduce us to their MySpace "Friends." Very cool cha cha cha!

Looking forward to seeing Your video of How You Got Into The Dog House and How You Got Out Of The Dog House! Good luck .. hope you win the Grand Prize - 12-months of GourmetStation Dinner of The Month valued at over $1000.

Next Challenge: Find and install the code for a MySpace metrics tracker and fix broken links!

Friday Fun: Creativity From Del.icio.us to Delicious

09/01/2006

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Today's Friday Fun is all about creativty from del.icio.us techie tools that help share and link to handmade delicious scarfs from the other side of the world (from Atlanta).

Girlfriend, social media tools are being developed as fast as as a fashion change at a run way show. Just when you finally figured out how to spell del.icio.us up pops a toy box of new fun. Find a pair of white GoGo boots and boogy woogy the night away with a tool that sounds like a disco dance linkaGoGo> Then it's on to dessert with something called Raw Sugar .. hope it comes with some yummy chocolate.

How to keep track was a nightmare for most people. Offering more than a couple of options to your readers was even more frustrating. Lee Odden, Online Marketing Blog, has developed a couple of nifty social media tools that make all that a snap. In true blogger kindness, Pink_boa_15he has provided them gratis. Toss of a pink boa to Lee.

The first tool allows you to add a social bookmark menu after each post or on a static web page. The jazzy thing about this tool is the social bookmark links are presented in a drop down menu to save screen space.

The second tool is an RSS Button Maker. By placing your cursor over the orange RSS icon a list of the top RSS readers folds out so you can subscribe using your favorite reader. Just might have to create a blogger boogy dance for this one!

Madam_jillys_scarfs_1 Speaking of boas and scarfs .. boas are sort of scarfs .. so cut me a bit a slack with this segway .. My dear friend Madam Jilly from Auckland New Zealand sent me the photos of her latest gorgeous hand-knited scarfs. Jilly is an artisan whose creativity continues to amaze me.

She's agreed to accept out of country orders for her one of a kind hand-knit creations. The scarfs in the photo are about 3-4 feet in length and sell for $150 each. Would make awesome holiday gift for any diva! This is not a commerce deal for Diva Marketing .. just a pass along. If you're interested drop a comment and I'll make sure that Madam Jilly receives it.


Astrology_14 business astrology for fun -
from The
Astro Divas
Paula Dare & Donna Page

 
 On Mon.9/4/06-Labor Day-Pluto turns Direct. This is the planet that is associated with the underworld. So when you come back to work from the holiday, if you’ve been manipulating, trying to keep secrets, or going behind a co-workers back, Pluto has a nasty way of revealing such things. If you’ve heard in the news that Astronomers have demoted Pluto as being a planet, Astrologers aren’t likely to think less of this powerful “planet.”

The Full Moon in Virgo on 9/7/06 this month is also a Lunar Eclipse giving added strength. If you find yourself feeling stressed out with too much work to get done, take time out of your very busy day to find a quiet place to relax a few minutes. Calm your racing mind. Take a deep breath. The solutions may just become clear as a bell if you just allow the inspiration to flow. The Moon is also aspecting Uranus, so unexpected change may upset the apple cart.