Sprouts Integrates Local Influencer Marketing


Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 8.34.09 PM In the competitive world of grocery stores most people living in urban areas have many choices. Organic foods, once a competitive advantage, are now available in more than "specialty" grocery stores.

 The question many in the grocery industry struggles with is... "What's a company to do to cut through the clutter and entice shoppers to "please choose me?" In metro Atlanta, where I call home, a relatively new player to area’s grocery store world, is doing things a little differently to gain community awareness and acceptance.

Sprouts is positioned as “… a healthy grocery store offering fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices…” Its management seems to understand; along with healthy food that supports its positioning, building relationships with its customers might be the key that unlocks a competitive advantage.

 Sprouts is building community at the local level. 

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 8.28.02 PM

Investors Deck November '16

The community-based tactics Sprouts is putting into play build on each other. The first is an on-going series of demos and tastings.

Integrated into these fun and informative demos Sprouts is tapping into local food influencers. Recently members of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society (I am a member of the society through my Food Site Diva Foodies) were invited to attend a Game Day Cooking Demo. The focus was on how to prepare healthy snack foods to nosh on while watching the Super Bowl Game.

Instead of bringing in a chef to conduct the demo, Sprouts made an interesting decision to have a licensed nutritionist, Marisa Moore, facilitate. The choice of a nutritionist supported and added credibility to the brand positioning.

Joining me at the demo were two other prominent food bloggers. Although the demo was free and open to the general public, Sprouts took care to make their staff and Marisa, the nutritionist, available to us. In addition we were given a gift card honorarium to create social content about the event.

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 6.20.21 PM

All in all an interesting and well done influencer experience. 

If you enjoy food blogs and sites about the culinary world please join me on Diva Foodies where you'll find a slightly different approach to my experience (and a black bean brownie recipe!), interviews with TV Chefs, cookbook authors, and much more. Follow me on Twitter at @DivaFoodies

The invitation to attend this free food demo at Sprouts in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta was part of a blogger influencer program affiliated with the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society. I was given an honorarium for social media content creation and promotion. All opinions are those of the author.

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 8.25.31 PM

An Interview with Advocate Health Care: Case Study #StoriesOfTheGirls


Breast cancer logoBreast cancer still impacts too many lives. Advocate Health Care launched a unique program to bring attention to breast cancer prevention, treatment and support.

Understanding that women gain strength and the comfort from the stories they share and are shared they used digital and social networks to tell the  #StoriesoftheGirls . Through the following interview Christine Piester, VP Marketing and Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing and Communication graciously provided us with a case study of the program.

This post is dedicated to my sister Susan who I know is dancing in the stars.  Susan atl

About Advocate Health Care. Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest.

Advocate operates more than 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals that encompass 11 acute care hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health care companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $661 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2013.

 Our Story Tellers

Advocate Healthcare_ Christine Priester, VP, MarketingChristine Priester, VP, Marketing





Advocate Healthcare _Christine Bon

Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing & Communication




 Diva Marketing/Toby: How did the idea of #StoriesoftheGirls evolve? Was it a difficult sell to management including the hospital administrator?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Obviously, the idea of #StoriesOfTheGirls remains a very edgy concept. Anytime you introduce a double entendre (“the girls”) as part of your campaign you take a risk. However, the Chicago health care market is noisy and we had to figure out a way to break through the clutter. Not only did we have to sell this concept to the health system leadership, we had to convince the 12 hospital presidents that this was the right idea, at the right time and with the right audience.

In order to gain the necessary buy-in, our CMO hosted numerous sessions where she outlined the campaign and addressed any questions and concerns. The vast majority of our internal leadership were overwhelmingly supportive, there were a few unsure outliers, but they soon became believers once they saw the results.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was success for the campaign and how was it measured?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonWhile we wanted women to join the conversation at StoriesOfTheGirls.com, we really wanted women to take advantage of our patient added-value proposition.

We were the first in the market to offer same-day, no-referral mammograms.  This breaks down access barriers and allows women to schedule their mammogram on their terms, when they have some extra time as life might be too busy to schedule this test a few weeks out, months out, but there is no time like the present. 

  • So, that said we measured the growth in mammogram appointments (up over 10% across the system), web site visits, and engagement in the conversation (social media).

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The micro site is rich with content about breast healthcare. For many visitors to the site, I’m guessing the most compelling content is the video stories told by the breast cancer survivors and physicians.  How were these women indentified? What were their reasons to publically participate in #StoriesoftheGirls? 

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonAdvocate Health Care treats more breast cancer patients than anyone else in Illinois, and more of our patients become survivors than any other system.  Through our over 30 mammogram locations across the system, we were able to tap into our internal resources to identify patients with compelling stories that were willing to participate in the campaign.

And, we had, and continue to have no problems with patients wanting to tell their story. All of our survivors say if telling their story can just save one woman’s life it was worth it. They also appreciated the real tone and voice of the campaign.

  • They have all grown tired of the traditionally depressing look at this disease and wanted to show that women’s relationships with “the girls” is much more than a cancer diagnosis.

This year we have some wonderful new videos that include not only survivors, an update on one of last year’s featured patients, but patients currently going through treatment, Sue even shaved her head on the video as her hair was falling out – emotional stuff!

 Diva Marketing/Toby: I would love to be able to chat with these amazing people. Did you explore incorporating real-time conversations through social networks, perhaps a Tweet Chat or a G+ Hangout?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Glad you asked this question. New in the 2014 Stories of the Girls campaign is a message board prominently on the StoriesOfTheGirls.com microsite. We knew that we had to take this campaign to the next level in terms of the conversation so this is an exciting element this year (just launched on 9-15-14). Here, you can chat with survivors, you can talk with other families and their friends going through this journey with a loved one, you can ask our doctors questions, and you can simply ask about other breast health issues from puberty and first bras, to breastfeeding, boob jobs, and changes during menopause. Anything goes! We’d be happy to put you in touch with any of our featured survivors, check out their amazing stories through these videos.

Advocate Health Care theta theta girls

theta theta girls video

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The most exciting social tactic I saw was a #StoriesoftheGirls Instragram contest. Would you explain the concept for the Diva community?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThe #StoriesOfTheGirls contest was another extender of the conversation. We wanted women to share their inspiring photos, but also just women in general living healthy lives. Women were encouraged to share their photos and in turn were entered to win a gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago. Since we had just launched our Instagram account the month prior, this was a great way for us to gain some new followers and boost engagement.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was the most surprising aspect of the Instagram contest?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThrough the contest, we uncovered some very inspiring stories and one that we are now featuring in this year’s campaign: Kia. We also saw a side of our own associates (employees) who shared their breast cancer journey through photos as well. We were excited to see how quickly we gained new followers who were interested in our content and still engage with us on the social platform.

 Diva Marketing/Toby: In addition to Instagram what other social media tactics were included? Which one was your favorite and why?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonIn addition to Instagram, we also used Facebook as a social platform to drive awareness of breast cancer by creating a daily calendar of trivia questions about breast health. There was a new question posted each day. Once the daily question was answered you were automatically entered to win a handmade breast cancer awareness crystal bracelet. You were able to enter a total of 31 times for a chance to win the grand prize of gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago.

We also used Facebook as a platform to share all of our patient’s incredible stories, and also to promote our Instagram contest. Both of our social promotions were well received and we got some great submissions and are continuing to engage through new social promotions with the campaign this year as well and we are seeing even greater results!

Diva Marketing/Toby: How are consumer generated stories/photos being used to extend awareness of #StoriesoftheGirls and  breast cancer health?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonOur videos and patient stories have been picked up by many local media outlets as further promotion. Our patients also blog and are the subject of many stories on our brand journalism site ahchealthenews.com  View some of them here.

We also have a partnership with the Chicago Cubs, Bulls, and Bears and we are able to leverage those relationships to have breast cancer awareness events where are patients are honorary captains, sing the 7th inning stretch, and more! It’s a year-long commitment to keep breast cancer awareness at the forefront, not just during October.

Diva Marketing/Toby: The #StoriesoftheGirls campaign kicked off October 2013 to support Breast Awareness Month and appears to be continuing into the summer of 2014 and beyond. As one might say in the theatre, what makes this a long-running show?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon

  • This campaign is authentic and real and that’s what gives it staying power. 

Act 2 of the show is in market now and we couldn’t be more excited. An element of this campaign remains in market year-round, however.  We want to make sure we’re promoting early detection of breast cancer through mammography 365 days a year. And, we want to make it easy for women to get their mammogram and new this year they can find out their results in less than 24 hours – talk about reducing worry that often times accompanies the wait on this test.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons did you learn and can pass along to others in healthcare that maybe considering creating digital/social campaigns?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonTake a risk, it’s worth it!

Content is critical.

Don’t tell your consumers about new equipment, this or that accreditation, they don’t care. 

Make your campaign about them, not about you.

Speak to your audience how people have conversations in their real life and reach out to them how they like to receive the message (social media, email, direct mail), everyone has a preference, learn it!

  • And, amazingly, you do this, they will talk back to you, and then you have a two-way, engaged consumer conversation and you create brand loyalty.

Toss of a pink boa to Sarah Scroggins for her help in coordinating this interview.  Advocate Health Care _ Sara Scroggins

Digital Networking Turns Pink Slips to Pay Checks


Computer woman Cultivating relationships has always played a critical role in business success. This post is dedicated to my dear friends and yours and perhaps you .. people who have unexpectedly found a pink slip instead of a pay check.

The first advice to folks on a job search seems to be to activate or reactive your network. Let's take what we've learned from social media marketing and make it work for a job search.

There are two aspects involved in creating a winning support system:

1. meeting people who are willing to offer their help and friendship 

2. maintaining those associations.

As our lives grow more complex attending networking or professional organization events becomes a challenge to schedule. Even meeting colleagues across town for a coffee chat is often difficult. Then comes the time investment to nurture fledgling friendships.

As the world spins smaller what happens when your network extends not just to the next city or state but across an ocean? To put it simply, how do you meet people and then stay in touch?

The answers can be found in what might be perceived at first glance to be cold and impersonal … the World Wide Web. The Internet has morphed into an important catalyst for developing and sustaining digital relationships. Through social media tools such as blogs, social networking, online boards people are changing how they interact with each other.

Interestingly, women use social networks differently than men. A recent study by Rapleaf, a San Francisco consulting firm, indicates women appear to spend more time on social networks building and nurturing relationship while men spend their time acquiring relationships. According to Rapleaf the net result is the about the same number of people in both circles.

Developing digital relationships are not much different from the relationships you might make at a Chamber of Commerce event. At the core they are comprised of similar values: mutual need, support, trust and respect. Digital relationships hold a few extra benefits that may not be immediately obvious:

1. If you are shy meeting people at offline events the “fourth wall” of the Internet might make it easier for you to participate in conversations. People appreciate comments on their blogs, profile walls and Twitter @responses that add value. Your thoughts can be 140 characters a la Twitter, a few paragraphs on your own blog post or short video posted on your Facebook page and YouTube.

2. Dropping into a social network site like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook can be done at your convenience whether at 5a or 5p or midnight. You can engage at your computer or on your mobile phone extending the flexibility even further. You determine how long you stay - a few minutes or a few hours.

3. Similar to building your offline network, social media provides opportunities to “meet” friends of friends.
A few ideas to help you jump start building your digital relationship network:

1. Explore the a few social networks. When you build your profile, to prevent spam consider using a different email address from your business or personal email. The following Big Three have become the core platforms for many business professionals.

LinkedIn’s focus is business networking making it an ideal first step into social media. I think of LinkedIn as your digital Rolodex combined with your online resume. Resource: from EZine Articles - How and Why to Network on LinkedIn.

Twitter allows only 140 characters per message or "tweet.” A Twitter strategy can be used not only to grow your professional network but to reinforce your position as a expert in your field. Resource from TwiTip - 8 Twittering Network Tips.

Facebook offers the option to create personal pages, business pages and group pages for brand “fans.” Resource: from About.com Using Facebook for Professional Networking.

2.Don’t feel obligated to follow/friend everyone who knocks on your virtual door. Sometimes less is more. Take time to read profiles to help you determine who you want to be a part of your community.

3.Participate in discussions in the same way as you would in the offline world. Be yourself. Let your personality come through in your words, on videos or in a podcast interview.

4.Adding value to the conversation will reward you faster and better than a continuous stream of promotion about how great you are .. it's a two way conversation online and offline.

The results are you’ll develop a global network that you can tap into for resources, information, support, advice where you can control where and when you meet-up. Don’t be surprised if the connections you make turn into real friendships that lead to offline meetings! While digital networks are fast becoming a critical aspect of business relationships nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting over a cup of coffee or sharing a meal.

Note: The post is based on an article I wrote for the Sun Journal.

Interview with Heather Morgan Shott of Meredith's Mixing Bowl Social Network Community


New social networking communities seem to be on every virtual corner these days. Marketers understand that social media can be a powerful strategy that supports niche or segmentation marketing. However, when brands build out communities it's obviously a business decision that has incurred significant resources - including dollars.

I wondered how do they integrate marketing objectives, while ensuring that the "social" aspects,  the heart and soul of the community, are authentically and transparently developed and nurtured? When Chris Kieff offered the opportunity to interview one of his Ripple6 client's from Meredith Corporation's recently launched Mixing Bowl, a food and recipe community - I said yes!

Mixing bowl About Mixing Bowl

Editors touch every piece of content that exists on our branded sites. We post recipes after they’ve been triple-tested in our kitchens, write how-to articles, and so on. We don’t run Mixing Bowl that way because we want it to be a site created by home cooks for home cooks.

I’m (Heather Morgan Shott) very present on Mixing Bowl (my username is CoolCookie), and my profile page states that I’m a Mixing Bowl editor, but I’d never censor conversation or edit content. I’m there to answer questions as well as contribute to the community just like a typical member would by posting my own recipes, sharing my opinions, and joining groups. From a business point of view, Ripple6 offers advertisers access to a very sophisticated and extensive analytics system.

Heather morgan shott  About Heather Morgan Shott

I'm the Senior Food Group Manager for the Better Homes and Gardens Network, which includes five websites. On Mixing Bowl, I mix it up like any member might--but if there’s a functionality problem I’ll address it.

For example, we had some members who were unhappy with the way in which our contest application worked when we first launched the site. Entries were randomized so members started having problems finding the recipes they wanted to vote for once lots of recipes were entered. They started posting their complaints on the site, and we responded very quickly by tweaking the system so that the entries were static.

Suddenly ‘thank you CoolCookie’ threads started to pop up. Of course lots of people worked to resolve that issue, but I’m the person that the community knows is listening to them, because I’ve established a very visible presence on the site. When I’m not working, I’m cooking, restaurant hopping, drinking wine, shopping, or hanging out with my husband. We live in New York City.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Mixing Bowl is not only a new social media community but a new brand for Meredith. That said, Meredith’s reach with women is wide and established. How did you use those assets to help build membership and promote the site?

We’ve been working with all of our magazines and websites to promote Mixing Bowl. American Baby, Fitness, Family Circle, and Better Homes and Gardens, for example, have all created groups that tie to specific departments in their magazines. Ladies Home Journal features questions and answers from Knowledge Bowl in each issue. We have another magazine that will be sponsoring a contest on Mixing Bowl this summer. Online, we’ve been promoting Mixing Bowl in newsletters. We’ve got lots more to come; this just marks our very early efforts.

Toby/Diva Marketing: There are other social networks that focus on food and recipes. What is Mixing Bowl’s point of difference? Why would I want to join and spend time on Mixing Bowl versus another community?

Heather Morgan Shott: By filling out your profile, Mixing Bowl can deliver a totally customized experience just for you. For example, if you check off quick and easy, desserts, and cooking for kids as your interests, we'll bubble up all the recipes and groups that mesh with those interests. So we’re offering a vastly different experience than you get on other sites where you log in and see everything that everyone else does, and you literally have to wade through hundreds of pages of information to find what’s relevant to your life.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The quality of online peer-to-peer relationships builds over time. How is Mixing Bowl encouraging and nurturing “community” among with its members?

Heather Morgan Shott:I’m dazzled by so many of the people in our community, and I meet new, amazing members every day. When we launched Mixing Bowl, we tried to start things on the right note by inviting some incredible content creators, such as past winners of cooking contests and bloggers, to get in the mix early on. None of them were professional cooks but they all had a certain level of expertise in cooking or baking, so we knew they’d be able to provide high-quality content. We also knew that they had the kind of passion and enthusiasm that we wanted to foster on Mixing Bowl.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Mixing Bowl is a very rich platform, built by Ripple6, that offers multiple ways for people to contribute their favorite recipes and as we love to say, “Join the conversation.” At this early stage in its development which areas or groups are getting the most activity? 

Heather Morgan Shott: There’s no question about it, our community loves to bake. We have an extremely rich Ethnic category, with 16 groups covering a range of different cuisines (Chinese, Colombian, Mexican, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Parsi, Persian, Polynesian, Puertorrican, and so on); in this category many of the group leaders are actually based overseas, so they’re posting truly authentic recipes. We’re also seeing tremendous growth in areas that we’d expect—quick and easy, healthy recipes, desserts, and entertaining.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Has that surprised you?

Heather Morgan Shott: So far just what we hoped would happen has happened. Our goal was to engage home cooks who specialized in specific topics. What better way to learn how to cook Indian food than from someone based in Mumbai? Who better to get baking pointers from than an owner of a boutique bakery?  Who knows picky eaters better than moms raising kids who are picky eaters? These are real people with real solutions and inspiring ideas.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Since this is part of Meredith’s business strategy can you tell us what constitutes success?

Heather Morgan Shott: Our goal is to continue to grow membership on MixingBowl.com. We’re extremely pleased with where we are right now, and we will continue to work to develop an even richer and more robust community.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How concerned is Meredith with, let’s call it “traditional website metrics?”

Heather Morgan Shott: Page views and unique visitors are extremely important, but our top goal is bringing in new members.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I was watching a video where Dan Hickey, Vice President, Digital Conten, discussed marketers (advertisers) participating within the community to add value. Can you give us some current examples and tell us how Mixing Bowl ensuring transparency?

Heather Morgan Shott: Toby, we’re still working on this. We haven’t really rolled anything out yet… We're cooking up some great stuff, and I can't wait to tell you about those efforts once we've rolled them out. Check back with me in a month or two.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Understanding that the site has been live only a few months, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned at the start-up of this venture?

Heather Morgan Shott: In a community, it’s extremely important to be involved, to mix it up with your members. It doesn’t work to just build a community and then abandon it. You need to listen to what they’re saying and you need to respond quickly. You need to show you care, or they’ll go somewhere else. It’s also critical to be flexible and be willing to change something that isn’t working.

Toby/Diva Marketing: At its heart, or in your heart, what is your vision for Mixing Bowl on a long-term basis?

Heather Morgan Shott: We want MixingBowl.com to become the largest community food site out there. We’d love for it to be the number one destination for everyone who loves to swap recipes and join cooking groups. And we’d love to continue to draw in more members from overseas so that we truly become a place for cooks from around the world to connect.

Heather Morgan Shott On Social Media
It’s thrilling, and I can’t imagine life without it. Oftentimes content isn’t all that exciting until people actually start talking about it – and that’s why social media platforms like Mixing Bowl, Twitter, and Facebook have become so central to our lives. They enable us to take one thought or idea and connect about it with hundreds of others, regardless of where those people are in the world. We gain multiple perspectives, oftentimes from people whose views are vastly different from ours, and in turn our own thoughts and ideas become much richer.

More About Social Network Communities From Diva Marketing

Diva Marketing Talks, BlogTalkRadio, with Liz Strauss & Nancy White

Interview with Nancy White

Diva Marketing Talks About Social Media Communities With Liz Strauss & Nancy White


Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio (BlogTalkRadio) show.  30-minutes. 2-guests. 1-topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss today's show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.

Today's Diva Marketing Talks takes a dive into Social Media Communities or social networks. Liz Strauss, Successful Blog, and Nancy White, Full Circle, are our rock star guests who will explore if relationships built within social networks are real or an illusion. If there is value in social communities then how do you build and nurture them? In other words how do you get the "community" into communities?

Topic for April 2, 2009: Social Media Communities: Real Relationships or Illusions of Friendships?
Time: 6:00p - 6:30p Eastern/ 5:p - 5:30p Central/ 4:00p -4:30p Mountain/ 3:00p - 43:30p Pacific
Call-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924

Liz Strauss_5  Liz Strauss

Liz (Successful Blog) is a social web strategist and community builder. Coming from a background of publishing, business, and instructional design, Liz understands how people perceive a blog, a product, and an experience — how the head and heart engage to make a fiercely loyal customer. She can articulate what makes things irresistible — what keeps people coming back — from literacy, editorial, design, and marketing sensitivities.

Liz works with businesses, universities, and individuals to help them understand how text, words, and images work in the culture of the social web. She has over 20 years in print, software, and online publishing, and has strategized with publishers in Europe, Australia, the UK, and Ireland. She was recently a featured speaker at the Cass Business School of City University in London and will return in the fall to give a presentation and seminar for students at Oxford University.

Liz is a founder of the highly successful business bloggers conference SOBCon — that gained the attention of BusinessWeek, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Innovation Initiative of the Kellogg School of Business. She has been named to the Top 100 Social Media & Internet Marketing Bloggers Top 100 Most Influential Marketers of 2008, the 50 of the Most Powerful and Influential Women of Social Media, NxE’s Fifty Most Influential ‘Female’ Bloggers and her blog is listed on Alltop-Socialmedia and Alltop-Twitterati

Nancy white _1 Nancy White

Founder of Full Circle Associates (Full Circle), Nancy helps organizations connect through online and offline strategies.  Nancy is an online interaction designer, facilitator and coach for distributed communities of practice, online learning, distributed teams and online communities.

She has a special interest in the NGO/NPO sector. Nancy blogs at http://www.fullcirc.com/ as well as teaches, presents and writes on online facilitation and interaction, social architecture and social media ( http://www.fullcirc.com/community/communitymanual.htm). She is co-author with Etienne Wenger and John Smith of the upcoming book “Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities.”

Nancy confesses to online interaction, learning  and chocolate addiction. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two grown sons.
Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Liz Strauss

Some points that interest me right now ...
Malcolm Gladwell talks about it in his book, Outliers: The Story of Successon page 39 when he says
… the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he o she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.  They do the work.

We're taught to be leaders on someone else's path. What path would be ours if we were never taught or graded?

Irresistible takes head, heard and purpose aligned toward the same goal.

Follow Liz on Twitter Lizstrauss

Complements of Nancy White

1. Is this a community of friends/colleagues or a network? If the latter, how much of your personal identity is useful and what should you keep to yourself? (explore issues of boundaries, transparency and identity) Know how to figure out which is what!

2. Experiment - many of the uses of these tools are just emerging. But don't think you have to play with all of them. Better yet, experiment WITH others.

3. Be clear on what you need/want to do and get out of social networks. Purpose drives clarity to a path of useful participation!

Follow Nancy on Twitter NancyWhite

Engage With Grace


A few days ago I received an eMail from Paul Levy describing a unique outreach to help educate people about an important life issue that is often incredibly difficult to discuss. End of Life Experience. 

It may seem strange to some, but for me, on the day before Thanksgiving it seems right to join with the voices of many people in social media who are dedicating posts to this cause. Taking these words from Alexandra Drane's speech (video below) I invite you to .. Make a toast to those that you love and those that you miss and have this conversation with your family.

Engage with grace

We make choices throughout our lives - where we want to live, what types of activities will fill our days, with whom we spend our time. These choices are often a balance between our desires and our means, but at the end of the day, they are decisions made with intent. But when it comes to how we want to be treated at the end our lives, often we don't express our intent or tell our loved ones about it.

This has real consequences. 73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but up to 50% die in hospital. More than 80% of Californians say their loved ones "know exactly" or have a "good idea" of what their wishes would be if they were in a persistent coma, but only 50% say they've talked to them about their preferences.But our end of life experiences are about a lot more than statistics. They're about all of us.

So the first thing we need to do is start talking. Engage With Grace: The One Slide Project was designed with one simple goal: to help get the conversation about end of life experience started. The idea is simple: Create a tool to help get people talking. One Slide, with just five questions on it. Five questions designed to help get us talking with each other, with our loved ones, about our preferences.

And we're asking people to share this One Slide - wherever and whenever they can.at a presentation, at dinner, at their book club. Just One Slide, just five questions. Lets start a global discussion that, until now, most of us haven't had.Here is what we are asking you: Download The One Slide and share it at any opportunity - with colleagues, family, friends. Think of the slide as currency and donate just two minutes whenever you can. Commit to being able to answer these five questions about end of life experience for yourself, and for your loved ones. Then commit to helping others do the same. Get this conversation started.

Let's start a viral movement driven by the change we as individuals can effect...and the incredibly positive impact we could have collectively. Help ensure that all of us - and the people we care for - can end our lives in the same purposeful way we live them. Just One Slide, just one goal. Think of the enormous difference we can make together. - Written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team

The story of Za, that began this innovative journey is told by her sister in-law Alexandra Drane.

Engage with Grace from Health 2.0 on Vimeo.

Toby -
Proud sister of Susan Ellen, proud daughter of Anne and Lou.
Believer in the Power of Conversation

Read more on Engage With Grace

Motrin: A Case Study In Social Media Marketing


Subtitle: Motrin's  We Feel Your Pain Ad Campaign Targeted To Moms: Proof of the Influence of Social Media


Today sipping my morning coffee I clicked into Twitter and was intrigued by a tweet from @chrisbrogan.


What I found was a video that was apparently an element of Motrin's We Feel Your Pain campaign that was targeted to moms. <the link to the page has been taken down>



Script: "Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.

Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the body tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t. I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?! I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid."


Surfing over to #MotrinMoms (a summary of tweets tagged with #MotrinMoms) I was overwhelmed. At that time there were 65 pages, with 15 tweets per page, or 975 posts. I can only imagine what the team at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson and Johnson,Tshirt_2 must be feeling.

The majority of tweets were from moms who were Passionately outraged about the video. They felt hey and their babies were being disrespected. 

So passionate that Mamikaze designed t-shirts, mugs, buttons and bags for sale at CafePress. So passionate that Katja created a video of what she felt was should have been the message. In social media style it was uploaded it to YouTube. Before this post went live there were 2014 views.

People are wondeWarrenwhitlock_real_lesson_2ring ..


So .. I've been thinking .. if McNeil Consumer Healthcare were a social media marketing client how would I advise them?

  • First I'd say, especially to Bonnie Jacobs, VP Communications and  Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing - McNeil Consumer Healthcare - take a deep breath and be prepared for some long nights.
  • Second I'd say "listen" to the angst of what should be the community of Motrin Moms.

Sadly, you will learn that you have lost some customers.


You will learn what went wrong for these moms and how they felt.



You will learn from women who were so upset that they took online, tweets and blog posts, offline to main stream media, advertisers and friends.















You will also learn from women who generously offered ideas on what McNeil Consumer Healthcare could have done with the campaign that would have added value and increased brand appreciation.


Laura Fitton aka Pistachio wrote a detailed post that includes a few lessons for the Motrin marketing team:

But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age. Rolling out a new tactic is THE most important time to lend an ear.


From Sarah Browne, Guru of New, more lessons:

The lesson here for corporate America? This didn’t have to happen. All you have to do is ask and Moms will help — with your creative, your research, your buzz.

  • Third, I'd say join the conversation sooner than later. That is the challenge.

Neither Motrin or McNeil Consumer Healthcare have a presence in social media. However, there is the Johnson & Johnson blog - JNJ BTW and the social networking community Baby Center where they could tell their story. Perhaps Twitter is an option .. if they can put people resources against it

How do you reach out to over a thousand people who have written about you? Do you invite a handful of mommies to corporate headquarters and wine and dine them? How do you determine the "influencers?" No matter who you tap there will be hurt feelings.

How do you give back to a community? Maybe you make amens by identifying moms in need. Maybe you do something Big that is Important. Maybe you ask the community's help in identifying what that should be.

The big lesson that we continue to learn

Not stepping into social media especially when a significant, vocal, powerful segment of your market .. IS stepping into social media.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  Charles Darwin

Update: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Responds to Amy Gates, Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Amy posted the email:

   Dear Amy -

    I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

    We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.


    Kathy Widmer
    VP of Marketing - Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
    McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Update: 11-18-08; Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing apologizes on the home page of Motrin. Part 2 of Motirn: A Case Study in Social Media.


Friday Fun: The "Real" Women of WowOWow Tell Their Stories


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.

Wowowow_logo Today's Friday Fun is being turned over to Mugsy, Iris, Suzanne and Suzanne, a few of the women who are the heart of the the WowOWow - Women on the Web site. However, Girlfriend, they are not the founders (media celebrities: Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans). Nor are they are paid employees. Nor are they are formal volunteers. In fact, they have had little to no interaction with the women who launched WowOWow. And that was what mystified and intrigued me.

A little background .. early this week I wrote a post about three social networking communities, Dove, Shine by Yaoo! and WowOWow - Women on the Web, that are targeting women .. and not only "mommy bloggers." A couple of the WowOWow women reached out to me to tell me their reasons for being involved and committed to a community where the founders/contributors seldom engage with their peeps.

I had several reasons for this post. I wanted to share these four amazing women with the Diva Marketing community; and in doing so, give them a platform to tell their stories about their WowOWow experiences. The learnings about how to build social networking community is evolving and we continue to learn from each other.

At first I thought the post might find its way to the ladies who lunch, the founders, and perhaps help them understand/encourage them to be more "social" within their own community. However, as the emails flew back and forth among the vintage vixens (Iris' term .. love it!) and myself I began to understand these smart, savvy women had created their own community. They didn't need, nor were they really interested in, extensive interaction with the founders (altho I'm sure it would be nice).

Organically they have assumed the role of community managers. As anyone who has been involved in online community knows influence grows with interaction. The vintage vixens want to be involved in the development of what they consider to be "their community." It would be wise of WowOWow to listen and engage directly with these women.

It with pleasure that I turn Diva Marketing over to Mugsy Peabody, Iris Odonata, Suzanne de Cornelia and Suzanne Conti

Mugsy_peabody_2 Mugsy Peabody

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Mugsy Peabody:

When else in history have women over 40 been actively asked to express their opinions about anything in public? 

I mean, since Seneca Falls, which was when?  1848?  I have always been interested in what women say when they are in a space to speak safely and honestly about their lives. Reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen on the farm, when the men were off somewhere, and the women were cooking together, telling the truth about their lives because they knew they would be heard.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site? 
Mugsy Peabody: What I found lots of women like me out there. It helps with the cosmic loneliness of having Mensa IQ without an interest in hanging out with a bunch of snobbish winos who smoke too much.

I really am amazed that the wowowow people didn't realize we'd want to get in touch with each other and build community.

But most of them don't just make friends with folks; they get handed "suitable" people by others to evaluate, so they probably wouldn't know what the rest of us do to hook up. Like George Sr. not knowing what a grocery scanner is.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Mugsy Peabody: Good conversation is one of the great rewards for dressing up our eternal souls in this human suit and lugging this corporal body about the planet for whatever alloted years we have.  It's a skill I learned early on, growing up in a family not unlike J.D. Salinger's Glass family.  Three brothers (one actually a rocket scientist) and parents whose brains were incandescent, and an adopted sister who glowed with smart genes.  My sister-in-law is a big shot techie at NASA, e.g.  All sorts of people used to gather at our house just for such conversation. 

So I get some of that juice from the wowowow site -- not necessarily from the contributors or the owners (two separate sets of people) but from the posts of these amazing women who are sharp enough to have found the wowowow site in its beta state.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos?
Mugsy Peabody: For starts, the authors aren't necessarily the most interesting women on www.wowowow.com. (And I think that really surprised them!) So we're not really talking with them alone.  Certainly if they want to join in, fine. Second, I'm honing my "voice" for my own web efforts, retrieving my humor writing skills.  I must say, I've been really touched and gratified by the reception I've received in this community. And, third, who knows?  The WowOWow women might just learn something from the rest of us.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Mugsy Peabody: Make it really interesting for us.  For example, we loved Joan Julia Buck's piece on Ms. Streep.  And Jane Wagner's Care-Toons on the earth were so fabulous.  Women over the age of 40 are some of the most experienced, inciteful, "smart" folks on the planet.  Even though retired "soccer  moms" are routinely ignored as being an interesting demographic, that is a serious error, a blind spot on the radar, because those women are the best organizers we have, and they determine where the household dollars get spent.

I know Ms. Tomlin can get down with "just folks," but I seriously wonder how many of these people are democrats with a small 'd'. And, P.S., for godzakes, don't try to BS us, because we have BS radar for days.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Mugsy Peabody: Hire me to help them get on track. Just one example: Whoopi Goldberg is the only women of color on the masthead, and she hasn't bothered to fill in her profile. Of course, that gets "read" as them saying, at the last minute, "Oh, we'd better get Whoopi, cause we'll drop a big piece of the audience if we're all white." (Well, guess what, ladies?  The whole dern rest of the country is actually serious about pluralism!  [Ms. Tomlin's support of Richard Prior earns her a lifetime street cred on this issue.]) 

And of course, they've already dropped the Asian demo -- and trust me, that's where their lack of inclusion will hurt them, cause my Asian-American friends drop more cash at Tiffany's and on designer bling bling than anyone else I know.  As to today's blunder of talking about how they "confuse" their "hired help" with "friends," oh, well, where do you even start with that? Hire me. I'm worth my weight in gold.

A little about Mugsy Peabody

I'm 61 years old, and live in Oakland, California. I've lived in the Bay Area since I came here with flowers in my hair, 38 years ago, and used to play pass tag on the Golden Gate Bridge with Janis Joplin.  While I may walk a little slow, I still have god's own rock and roll in my soul. I don't disclose much personal information on the net, since what I have to offer here is my written stuff, and you've already got that. My beta blog site, Mugsy Peabody Online, first posting.
Sidebar: Mugsy's writing is absolutely as refreshing, funny and as smart as you would expect!

Iris_odonata Iris Odonata

Greetings Miss Toby:

Where to start, where to start. Saw Mary, Leslie, Liz and Joni interviewed by Diane Sawyer on GMA at very beginning of site launch. Decided to visit and see what was up. Had only posted infrequently on a couple of other sites. Got drawn in by the idea of us vintage vixens having a forum for our voices. I have been awaiting this source of energy finally finding it's spark ...

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis? 

Iris Odonata: You have and you must admit there are some of the most erudite contributors. Smart, funny, irreverent, brilliant, giving, educational and generous. Paying it forward and helping each other evolve. I am not speaking just of the Masthead Mavens.  I am speaking of us just regular folks.  This is Upstairs/Downstairs, Gosford Park stuff. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?   
Iris Odonata: Same reason I read on continuous basis. Plus, if I can get to half of Suzanne de or Mugsy or The Old Crone's brain power.  These women are mentors in a way I could never have dreamed possible.  I always knew I would be late bloomer.  These AMAZING! woman are a gift. 

This is accelerated, cut-the-crap, no nonsense practical and pragmatic information on just about any subject you could possibly want. Suzanne de may just single-handedly jump start activism again. That woman is one force to be reckoned with. Plus, there is "culture" being discussed. Gaudi/Gehry. Feadships? Learned something new on that one. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Iris Odonata:  Learning, teaching, being. Nice to be asked to the table. We've discussed the disappearing bees.  Me thinks they are in our bonnets.  This site is thought provoking and endearing, humbling and hubris busting.  X marks the spot.  X chromosome that is and this site will not only earn gadzillions, it'll let the boys in power know (who might be trying to learn their opponents weaknesses) swarm behavior is unpredictable.  Swarm goes where the queen goes and each of us is a queen.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos?
Iris Odonata: Yes that is a big question.  Do they care? Don't they?  Set the cat among the pigeons, eh?  I think they'll end up with the precise focus group they want as us "first posters" start make off-line contact. We may become more watchdoggish ourselves. 

The Ladies who started this aren't really in control of it. They just own it and it's going to go where it goes.

I e-mailed Mugsy this a.m. and said this site is deliciously layered, just like Baklava. There are many many threads in this web. The convo twixt the foursome yesterday, will be read much differently "those" of their "echelon."  Made me think of the famous Cavafy poem, "Barbarians At The Gate."

I don't want anyone dying to get a peep like me active in convo. This site has taught me that 54 years on the planet now comes with a users fee.  So yeah, make it worth my while.  Either compensate me financially or engage me emotionally. If it ain't got heart, I ain't interested.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Iris Odonata: Get this thing more organized ASAP.  We need a venue just for continual/ongoing conversation, seperate from the content exploration of daily question or brand promo.  I think they get that they are not dealing with dummies, irregardless of our educational/geographical backgrounds. They also need to be upfront as to why they want our input. You yourself are probably receiving scads of useful information here so you can advise your clients as how to best capture their market share.

A little about Iris Odonata's

Iris Odonata's bio....I am writing her memoirs now. I let you know when they are ready for publication. Sidebar: Yes, Iris please let me know when your memoirs are ready for blogging! Love your phrase vintage vixens also!

Suzanne_de_cornelia Suzanne de Cornelia:

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Suzanne de Cornelia: I admire the founders' highly successful media careers, and that now in their 50s-80s they are undertaking an entrepreneurial venture. I wanted to be at the party.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?
Suzanne de Cornelia: As a former designer I find the clean architectural look and white/black/red scheme appealing and snazzy. The content is well organized and runs the gamut of glitzy fun to topical and serious. It forces you to reexamine your beliefs.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Suzanne de Cornelia: Three reasons really. 1) I'm very sporty and techy and just shattered my foot and am confined to bed-rest. So the chatty site is a godsend. 2) I've been an activist and involved in major projects my
entire life, and like to help grow things and to support and also challenge other women. 3) Because my novel "French Heart" will be out the end of the year and I'm also relocating to France I want to develop an online network. The women who've thus far emailed me from the site are Francophiles like me, including a writer who lives in Provence where I'm headed.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos.
Suzanne de Cornelia: Theoretically, I'm partly using the site as a focus group for my book, and building word-of-mouth. In practice I wind up shooting myself in the foot by feeling obligated to respond to factually false responses on things like unregulated derivatives trading and how it propelled the foreclosure crisis,
then wind up pulling freight for free. The founders need to either become more involved in the conversations, or hire a moderator. When Mary Wells said on Charlie Rose that they are spending all their time on this, I thought, "Hello?!" I know nothing compels me to do it besides some feeling of responsibility in me when I see something posted that demands an affirmation, acknowledgement, or correction.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Suzanne de Cornelia: Match the site to a passionate market. The political, celebrity, society gossip, wine blogs, and other specialty sites from cats to Joan of Arc garner that kind of readership. Look at the Top 100 Blogs on Technorati and the Yahoo Groups for clues. Mainly I think it is something that you need a real passion for yourself otherwise you'll burn out.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Suzanne de Cornelia: The most popular class at Harvard today states the recipe for happiness is finding activity that is pleasurable and purposeful. From what I gather, WoW will be making some technical adjustment
to make maneuvering through the site more pleasurable, and will be developing the Change the World section in a manner that will make visitors feel more purposeful. Those two things will really add to the site. However, there's a certain dissonance the founders need to clarify: They write about their lives tooling around glitzy locales, attending First Nights with celebs, sponsors are high-end, and the weekly financial column is a summation of trends that would benefit those with hefty well-portfolios. But when hundreds of readers responded to an economy-related question they clearly wanted pragmatic advice.

There's a dichotomy between the demographic they want to attract, and the one that is showing up and demanding they be more diverse and inclusive.

Sidebar: The Change the World section launched on Thursday. It's my understanding this was one of the first times when the vintage vixens were asked their opinions about how a feature should be developed. The energy and excitement of helping to create the site comes through loud and clear in comments.

A little about Suzanne de Cornelia: I managed $1 billion in major design and construction for Fortune 100 firms and top universities. Then an accident cost me $700K and my 20-year career. I retrained in the UCLA writing
program, wrote my novel, and live in San Francisco where I belong to two Web 2.0 groups.
Sidebar: Suzanne authors a delightful site My French Heart.

Suzanne_conti Suzanne Conti

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Suzanne Conti: The caliber of the women contributing their comments - they were well informed, witty and I felt similar enough in views and characteristics to mine that we could have a real discussion of kindred souls. I enjoyed the amount of differences and new aspects in thoughts presented that stimulated serious consideration on my part on the issues. There was enough common ground to relate to each other, but not so much as to be clones.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?
Suzanne Conti: That this site brought me together and allowed me to meet and have dialog with these fascinating accomplished blogging women who have and continue to make an impact on the world. I am not a “lunch” lady - I have been too busy working at a demanding career. But I do want to join with other women to make a difference.

The whole sexism issue coming back to light with Hillary’s campaign has raised my hopes that the activism of my generation of women would be reignited. Since I started my lawsuit against my employer in 2004 for glass ceiling, unequal pay I have been deeply disappointed (not surprised though)  in women’s lack of willingness to do anything about their oppression – other than whine. I have also witnessed women’s unwillingness to support other women, to unite for progress. I was hoping this Wow site would be a mechanism to unite women willing to finish the women’s liberation we started decades ago.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos.
Suzanne Conti

I am not a celebrity chaser and really could care less if they join in the conversations. I am there to talk with other women of substance who log on. These women have renewed my faith in humanity. I had no idea such thinking witty women were out there since I have spent most of my life in a male world of work as well as at home – brothers, husbands, sons.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Suzanne Conti: It is all about the quality of the conversation, I am too busy to invest time reading and blogging back to small minded people and have no interest in just chatting – I am a doer- that is how I have achieved all that I have in my life I am not an idle chatter. 

My husband is highly accomplished and my sons – one got a full ride scholarship to University of Michigan’s medical school and the other got a major scholarship to an art college on the east coast and was honored at Carnegie Hall for winning art awards, he also won an award that sent him to France for 3 weeks to study art there. I do not want to discuss what I sleep in and how many people I have slept with - Career women concerned about their professional reputation do not discuss such crap.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Suzanne Conti: Reduce to a minimum - the gossip Cosmo type trivial articles or come out and tell the bloggers what your vision and mission statement is so we know if we are in line with your goals. Recently, I am beginning to feel WowOWow is an oxymoron – wanting intelligent, accomplished, women of substance to log in and then they present such trivial, gossip, superficial topics. In all honesty I had my concerns when I saw Liz Smith was one of the founders, but had no idea she was going to be the dominant celebrity contributor – and apparently nobody crosses Liz Smith!

A little about Suzanne Conti: At a time when women were traditionally in administrative positions Suzanne  spent the majority of her career in a management positions in the male dominated auto industry. True to her husband's assessment of her as triple A type personality Suzanne was even the youngest buyer at a major Big 3 company .

Pink_boa In this world of social media we continue to learn together. Toss of a pink boa to Mugsy, Iris, Suzanne and Suzanne!

Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans .. here's the secret .. you may have jump started the convos but you are not the heart of your own community.

My advise .. hire these amazing women to continue doing what they have been doing  .. building community. Let the vintage vixens know that you are listening and involve the community in the creation process. It might be nice if you reached out in the digital world and in the offline world. However, a bit sadly, that's not really necessary.

Girlfriends Just Want To Have Fun .. Social Media Style!


Question: What does Dove soap, Yahoo!, a comedian - Whoopi Goldberg, a TV journalist - Lesley Stahl, and a gossip columnist - Liz Smith have in common?

Answer: They are tapping the hottest demographic trend in social media networking .. YOU. Me. Us. Girlfriend! 

Blogherlogo Recently BlogHer and Compass Partners co-sponsored a primary research study that provides some much needed insights about women who blog and women who read blogs. The findings were presented at BlogHer Business earlier this month. A few interesting stats from the survey. Among the respondents who participated (blah blah blah):

  • 36.2 million women write and read blogs every week
  • Approximately half consider blogs a “highly reliable” or “very reliable” source of information and advice about everything from products to presidential candidates.
  • 24 percent of women surveyed say they now watch less television because they are blogging instead.
  • 55% would give up alcohol
  • 50% would give up their PDAs
  • 42% would give up their i-Pod
  • 43% would give up reading the newspaper or magazines
  • BUT, some things are sacred … only 20% would give up chocolate!

Sidebar: PowerPoint of the study is posted at BlogHer. The link is at the end of the post.

Small wonder that w
ithin the last few weeks several social media networking sites, targeted to women, were launched by Dove, Yahoo! and a group of women celebrities. Take a sip of your skinny latte, I prefer my vanilla, and let's explore what these new sites have to offer US.


Dove_community After it's successful Campaign For Real Beauty Dove (Unilver) became the darling of the marketing/advertising/pr world. The no-make-up-beauty-is-in-the-heart campaign also resonated with  its target audience. Working with Ogilvy North America Dove is partnering with MSN to create dove.msn.com/

  • Our goal is to become a global leader and a true digital media force by completely redefining the digital experience for women worldwide. We can do this by leveraging the Dove "real beauty" credentials -- our philosophy, compelling content and product offerings. Kathy O'Brien, marketing director Dove North America Money Central

The site is heavily branded including free product samples.  Blogs, columns, discussions seem to blur together. Didn't see much participation or comments but it's early in the game. There is def lots to do on the site including games for tweens and social media profiling, ask the experts columns and product info. Demo target seems run from young girls to moms to women in general. A frustration for me was the content is "locked" ..  can not be copied and pasted. Not very 'social.' 

Big Question: Can Dove leverage the Campaign for Real Beauty concept and goodwill to create a community where women will feel comfortable and want to participate? Can you be all things to all peeps .. from young teens/tweens to 20-something, 30-something, ?-something?

Shine Shine - Yahoo!

My first impression of Shine was .. a slick publication. There are nine categories including fashion, beauty, parenting, health, love and sex, food.  Shine editors are responsible for content development. In addition blogs and articles are pulled from Yahoo!'s other lifestyles publishers (including male writers). Community members can add their comments and digg, del.icio.us, stumble, technorait and buzz up the post.

Shine is targeting the 25-54 audience - .. a highly sought-after demographic for advertisers. From a Yahoo! news article a new buzz word for this demo - Chief Household Officer. Wonder what Susan or Marianne or Jeneane would think of their new title (wink!)?

  • We didn’t want to be a site just for moms or just for single women or working women, or any specific demo- or psychographic. We wanted to create a smart, dynamic place for women to gather, get info and to connect with each other and the world around them. Shine About Us Page

Big Questions: Can Yahoo! turn the "slick shine" down a notch or two? Can you be all things to all peeps .. from  20-somethings to 50-somethings?

Sidebar: Toss of a pink boa to Yahoo!for reaching out to women around the U.S., bloggers and not, asking for feedback about Shine. I was looking forward to attending the session in Atlanta, alas! my hot water heater had other plans for me. I won't go into details except to say walking on squishy carpet is not a fun thing. Back in Skinny Jeans attended in CA and has a great post about her experience.

Wowowow_logo WowOWow - The Women On The Web

Here's the deal - you're smart, you're successful, you're rich, you're 40+ and you "know everybody." You want to make money, be an entrepreneur, get involved with something new on the web. Your journalist friend is complaining she is getting cut from 5-days a week to 3-days. Another chum wants to write more than about politics.

Over lunch an idea is born. Together you'll create a site where you can talk to your friends and invite other accomplished 40+ women to the conversation. It doesn't hurt that you and your girlfriends can each invest $200k or a total of a cool $1 million. You knock on your friend Tiffany's and Sony's doors for a few ads and launch a "ladies who lunch site."

Snippets from Charlie Rose's Interview with the founders: Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans

Charlie Rose - When you say geared to women over 40 what does that mean?
Joni Evans – It means women who have had experience, women who have had education, women
Wowowow_lesley_stahlwho have had careers, women who have lived.

Leslie Stahl – Virtually every woman who is a contributor is a known person. And they are commenting and writing on something you wouldn’t expect that person to write about. Candice Bergen on politics. Leslie Stahl on her new mattress.

I wanted to love WowOWow. Really I did. Accomplished, smart women reaching out to a demo who had been neglected. I wanted to love WowOWow. Really I did. I love Liz Smith's wit, and Candice Bergen's savvy and Mary Wells forged paths in advertising for women and Lesley Stahl is from Swampscott, MA where my college roommate lived. I wanted to love WowOWow really I did. Behind the scenes with the cool celebs who seemed to want to include me in their world. I wanted to love WowOWow really I did. But it falls flat for me.

Maybe they don't really want to talk to us. Trust me when I tell you I have spent significant time wandering around the site. I call it a site because it's way far not a social networking community. It's rather like being invited to join the "in group" in high school and then being ignored. In the Charlie Rose interview (he asked great questions but the women danced around giving straight responses) the founders made a big deal about the "conversation." However, few join in on their own conversations to talk to the peeps.

Sidebar: There are several women who actively comment and encourage conversation on many, many, many of the posts. Suzanne de Cornelia, Mugsy Peabody and Suzanne Conti. WowOWow has hired five employees and call me cynic but I can't help but wonder if these are them.

Maybe they don't really like us. In chat about privacy Julia Reed commented: I read somewhere that like 10 times the amount of people now Google themselves as did five years ago. I mean, you know, just … not people like Candice, who have reasons to be written about. What does that mean?  

My ah ha moment is .. I don't think the founders of WowOWow get what social media or building a social media networking community is about. In the Charlie Rose interview when asked what blogs they read, Drudge and news sites a la the Huffington Post (not a big surprise) were mentioned. Women of the Web do you know there are vibrant communities of women bloggers who are your target audience?

However, barely a few weeks old the site is doing quite nicely thank you kindly. My favorite bit in the Charlie Rose interview was when Joni Evans stopped herself because she wasn't "allowed to talk about" the site stats. Liz tossed off, “Go ahead. You have 100 books on the best seller list you can talk about any damn thing you please.” So she did. Average length on the site about 8.5 minutes - as of April 8th. Not an earth shattering piece of information. If the number of comments = success than out of the virtual box WowOWow is a huge success. Some posts are pulling in 20, 30, 50 comments and some have hundreds.

For me the lesson learned is that women want to express their opinions to women who they admire and might be paying attention even if there is no feedback. What does that mean? Is that part of the culture of the 40+ women .. that an outlet for expression is enough even if there is no conversation or response from the author? Is that what the political blogs have taught us? That it's enough to state your opinion but don't expect a response from the candidate? Or is it just as the SNL character Linda Richmond said, "Talk among yourselves."

Big Questions: Is this is a play toy for the founders or can they sustain the writing into year two and beyond? Will WowOWow turn into a female version of the Huffington Post (no shame in that)? Is it all about the celebrity?

Update: Suzanne de Cornelia and Mugsy Peabody DMed me. Neither they nor Suzanne Conti are part of the paid staff. To be continued ..

Who You Gonna Call For A Summer Internship? YouIntern.com


The lines of MSM (main stream media) and social media continue to blur. Last  week I received a press release pitch that said, "As a member of the Atlanta media ..." Now, Girlfriend I readily admit that I've always coveted a backstage press pass and I love those cute foreign correspondent jackets with zillions of pockets, but I've never considered Diva Marketing to be media.

Sidebar: In an up-coming interview with RichardAtDell, that will post on Monday 3-3, RichardAtDell told me that unlike some companies e.g., Target, Dell doesn't distinguish anymore between a blogger and mainstream media.

Interesting. Richardatdell_brendan_hurley_toby_a Diva a la Murphy Brown .. wonder how those jackets would look with a pink boa ;-) Photo of me - in a pink boa, with RichardAtDell and Brendan Hurley Goodwill of Greater Washington at the AiMA cocktail party, complements of  Geoff Livingston

As with many other bloggers those pitches continue to arrive. Last week I also received a personalized email from Anand Chopra-McGowan, who with a few friends, recently launched a new community. Oh no! Toby you're thinking spare us one more social networking community! This one is a little different. YouIntern.com targets college students who are looking for internships and the organizations that provide those internships. Wonderful idea!

In the true sense of social media networking, not only does the site provide links to opportunities but candid reviews of the companies. Wonderful idea! Just for fun here's Youintern_tbs_2 Atlanta based Turner Broadcasting System. Please click to enlarge the image.

I asked Anand Chopra-McGowan to tell us the the who-how-and-why. Remember as YouIntern.com becomes a social media rock star .. you heard it on Diva!

Toby/Diva Marketing: About YouIntern.com: What's it all about Anand?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: It's simple: we encourage advertising students to review their internship experience on YouIntern.com. We then link these students with employers, who post their open internships so students can apply after reading reviews. We also solicit expert advice from advertising industry professionals and write some sharp blogs so as to provide as much information as possible to students, and to keep them coming back. Our goal is to build a community that allows students to find worthwhile internships, and employers to recruit more qualified, energetic, motivated interns.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Back Story: Are you and Dan the 2 adv execs noted in your release? Who are the students mentioned in the release? Do you come from the same school? Is this a class project?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: Yes, Dan and I work in advertising. I was recently at Arnold in Boston, now Director of Development at The Ad Club of Boston (so that connection's covered! Haha), and Dan is in account management at BBH in NYC. Dan Chaparian, Anand Chopra-McGowan Jason Kahn, Jeff Li - Dan and I graduated from BU in May ;07, Jason and Jeff are current juniors there. After having some frustrating and some very rewarding internship experiences, Dan and I came up with the idea for an internship rating/review site. No, it isn't a class project.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Agency Involvment: How active a role are the agencies taking?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: We realized that in order to truly have an impact on the way internships work, we had to bring the agencies into the equation. Students could then apply for open internships, and employers interacting with the site could see what students were saying about their experience. The ideal situation (and we've reached this already in the case of a few agencies) is to have an open Youintern__woman_2 internship posting from a company, and compare it to a review right there, from a student.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Response from Agencies: What do the agencies think of the concept, especially when they might get a "bad review?"

Anand Chopra-McGowan: Agencies have been incredibly positive to the idea, with HR managers eager to hear what students say about their internships. We've found that YouIntern.com is able to provide a forum for feedback, without the awkward, often scary, prospect of telling your internship manager exactly how you feel, directly to him or her.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Promotion: How are you getting the word out?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: Since we're currently focused on advertising/marketing/pr only, we're getting the word out in a number of targeted ways: For students, letters/emails/calls to Professors at universities across the country, career services offices, posters on campus, Facebook social ads and groups, and we're testing with some Google AdWords.

For agencies, various forums across the internet, painstakingly compiled email lists for agency executives across the country, letters and "intern trading cards" mailed to them, follow-up phone calls, bloggers like you!! We plan to develop working relationships with Ad Clubs, AAAA, AAF, and such.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Monetization: How do you plan to monetize .. what is your revenue model?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: At this point, our only monetization is a few Google ads on the site. Once we reach certain bencmarks, however, we'll be charging for premium postings, more prominent listings, the ability to upload photographs, direct applications from the site. We also are working to develop partnerships with various players, where premium members receive certain discounts, like magazine subscriptions and such.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Sustainability: How will the site be sustained over time?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: This is the wonderful thing about YouIntern.com. Every year we will have a certain percentage of users graduate, and that exact same percentage come in as freshmen. Internships are now an immediate concern for most college students, and these freshmen will have access to our incredible database of content and opinion as soon as they start school. As they experience various internships, this database will grow. Further, most internship reviews, barring any huge changes at the agency, will stay valid for at least 4 or 5 semesters. And finally, we plan on introducing a number of forum and interaction features that will allow users to ask each other questions, update reviews, and help keep content current.

Youintern_guy Toby/Diva Marketing: The Future: Full-time gig?

Anand Chopra-McGowan: Yes, if all goes as planned, this could definitely be a full time venture. Jason and Jeff developed the platform using a programming language called Drupal.

Sidebar: Interesting resource for job hunters to use to understand a company's corporate culture.