Can Women Change The World Through Social Media?

10/22/2007

Happy Monday. How about a little guessing game to jump start your week? (Take a sip of your coffee and stay with me on this one.)

Q: What is one common denominator of a successful blog?

A: I say passion. Without passion about the topic it's difficult to sustain these hungry critters with content. (Yes, there is also honesty, transparency, authenticity and more but stay with me on this one.)

Q: What is one benefit that you can derive from a blog written from a passionate point of view?

A: I say viral word of mouth buzz. (Yes, there is also relationship building, brand awareness, SEO lift and more but take another sip of your coffee and stay with me on this one.)

Greenplanet Mary Hunt, In Women We Trust, has a BIG vision that combines passion, social media buzz and women. She is working very hard to not only change the lives of families around the world but positively impact the bottom-line of business at the same time. She's not in this game alone. Among the key players who share Mary's goals is Lee Scott, President and CEO of Wal-Mart. He's putting the significant force of the largest retailer in the world into play to make this dream a reality.

"It's viral in nature and company programs are usually not viral."
      Doug McMillian President and CEO, Sam's Club

Q: What "drops to the bottom-line, makes you feel good, improves quality of life?" Quote from Lee Scott
A: Sustainability

The company you either love or love to hate might have found a way to win the hearts of many with its commitment to the environment. Earlier this month Wal-Mart invited its Big Brand vendors and some consultants and a few bloggers to its Live Better Sustainability Summit. Lee Scott  explained what the company has done (launched initiative in 2004), what the current outcomes have been (10 $Billion saved in the last 2-years from packaging efficiencies) what the future holds not only for the Wal-Mart but for its vendors (20% of items influenced by Live Better innovation in 2008).

Lee Scott and Mary Hunt both believe that it is through business via consumers, not government, that  will result in changing the way we live. Not only our personal life styles but our business life styles as well.

" .. the leadership isn't going to come from the White House. Ever. At best, Washington can enhance what is already in motion. The answer lies in Time Magazine's Person of the Year - YOU, and another big organism of YOUs - Wal Mart and the 62,000 YOUs in their supplier base." - Mary Hunt

While Lee Scott is leveraging the power of retail economics Mary Hunt is leveraging the economic power of the women online through social media. "Why women?" you may ask. Research indicates that women hold the purse strings when it comes to consumer buying decisions. It just makes good sense to follow the money. These stats were taken from the Women's Congress site.

FACT: Women influence 95% and make 85% of all consumer buying decisions.*
FACT: By the year 2010, women will control 60% of wealth in the U.S.*
FACT: Women-owned firms are growing at nearly twice the rate as firms as a whole.*
FACT: America's 9.1 million woman-owned businesses employ 27.5 million people and contribute $3.6 trillion to the economy. **
FACT: Female entrepreneurs account for 70% of new business start-ups.*
FACT: Women comprise 46% of purchasing managers and 58% of wholesale and retail buyers.***

*Center for Women's Business Research
**U.S. Small Business Administration
***U.S. Department of Labor

Mary is building alliances with many bloggers and online communities including the influential  Big Green Purse which has challenged women to be One In A Million where if a million women intentionally shift at least $1000 of their existing budget to environmentally-friendly products, we can have a noticeable ONE BILLION DOLLAR IMPACT in the marketplace.

Denise Wakeman, Next Level Biz Tips, offers some ideas on how to reach your $1000 goal. Her suggestions range from buying recycled paper products for your business to supporting environmentally friendly vendors. Her post is an example of the buzz that is building through blogs (count this post too).

So .. through social media, by impacting businesses' bottom-line, can women change the world? Mary Hunt thinks so. What are your thoughts? Of course, men are always welcome to participate too.

Read More. Learn More:

In Women We Trust Interview with Coral Rose

Cool It Moms Be sure to read the Open Letter To The World Leaders
Yvonne DiVita Lip-Sticking
Funny Business Elana Centor on BlogHer

A World of Difference - The Trendsight Group

Sustainable Buzz

Power Image Green Brand Study 2007

When asked what their perceptions were of green brands, respondents said they are often seen as better quality, though at a higher cost. This perception of green equating premium is one that makes good business sense for anyone considering entering the space.

Top 10 Green Brands From Power Image Green Brand Study 2007

  1. Whole Foods
  2. Wild Oats
  3. Trader Joe’s
  4. Toyota
  5. Honda
  6. Sub Zero
  7. Ikea
  8. Body Shop
  9. GE
  10. Aveda

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Comments

Toby, this is a powerful post. I've been making sustainable purchasing choices for over a decade, so think my $1000's been spent times 50 by now!

There's another important way women (and men) can significantly influence sustainability: By voting for leaders who truly value sustainability principles. This weekend's Thomas Friedman ("The World Is Flat" guy) editorial in the NY Times makes the case:

http://tinyurl.com/2con9b

We have to act in our own lives AND choose leaders who won't un-do our micro-choices with their actions on the macro level.

Posted by: Tammy on Oct 22, 2007 5:10:32 AM

If Walmart succeeds in becoming seen as environmentally sensitive through social media, then I will be very impressed. Their image in Austin is that of a large corporation that is insensitive to local environmental concerns.

Posted by: Mike Chapman on Oct 22, 2007 9:40:58 AM

Toby - thank you for posting on this topic in such a concise way. I hope everyone becomes passionate on Climate Change.

As you captured so well, money talks on a micro and macro level. It's going to take both sides of the buyer/seller equation to turn this planet around. All the good intentions will fall apart, however, if we don't use Sustainable Standards, (the laws of the global free market) to guide us and keep the whole process honest. Sustainable Standards are already here and ready to implement, regardless of who is in Washington.

Voting for the right person is important, but not as important as voting with our money for the "certified sustainable" products. Even with the greenest President, it still will always come back to commerce for change to happen and lock in on a global level.

Posted by: Mary Hunt on Oct 22, 2007 12:11:00 PM

Toby,

I didn't even need the coffee to stay with you on this one! Thanks for empowering my Monday.

xoxo

Posted by: Stephanie on Oct 22, 2007 3:39:43 PM

Can Women Change The World Through Social Media?

We are doing it! The sustainability story is the most important and exciting story I have "covered" in over 30 years in journalism ( I know I call myself a reformed journalist but still)
Thanks for a wonderful post, I will come back to it often, link it, refer to it and learn from it.

See ya,

elana

Posted by: Elana Centor on Oct 22, 2007 4:17:10 PM

Toby - this is among the best posts... ever. Great stuff. Can't wait to connect it to 100 things i'm working on!

Posted by: Ann on Oct 23, 2007 8:57:44 AM

Toby, wonderfully and inspiringly done. You made my Monday [well, actually my Tuesday :)].

Posted by: C.B. Whittemore on Oct 23, 2007 9:31:31 AM

Toby - a really interesting post and nicely done on making a difficult and broad topic very concise.

The statistics you gave were impressive:
FACT: Women influence 95% and make 85% of all consumer buying decisions.*
FACT: By the year 2010, women will control 60% of wealth in the U.S.*

For smart businesses, it pays to go where the money is...and apparently that is with women. The importance of brand image can only be strengthened through social media influences - word of mouth and starting of conversations.

Posted by: Larissa Fair on Oct 23, 2007 5:37:35 PM

Ciao Diva! I shop at 6 of those 10 retail stores. My conversation around sustainability in my beloved Europe many years ago -- less space, less stuff for starters. This post gives me an idea for a friend ;-)

Posted by: Valeria Maltoni on Oct 23, 2007 9:19:26 PM

Toby,

My wife and I have been buying natural and green for more than two decades. Of course, the options continue to grow and the shopping is becoming much easier, so, yes, we can change the world. Oh, and that would be together--men and women.

Posted by: Lewis Green on Oct 25, 2007 12:17:41 PM

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