New Look For Diva Marketing

08/16/2005

Welcome to a virtual launch party for Diva Marketing (blog)! Champange_1

After trying on many different styles Diva Marketing finally is ready to unveil the new look! There are still a few backend threads to be snipped but I was so excited that I wanted to wear it right away. Thank you, thank you  Peter Flaschner of the Blog Studio.

To bring you up to date, several weeks ago I met Peter Flaschner, one of the blogosphere's most creative designers, when we were both guest blogging at Pro Blogger. Another example that blog networking works.

Peter liked my approach to strategy but he questioned if the graphic elements of Diva Marketing Blog were doing more to harm rather than support my branding efforts.  He kindly offered to re skin (ouch!) the blog. Thus began the start of a beautiful friendship.... (and I fear far more than Peter bargained for).

We agreed to blog the process in pure blogger form - with honesty and transparency - which meant allowing y'all to see all comps, the rationale of our strategy and with comments opened. Very brave of Peter! Take a look at the evolution of the comps on Peter's post at the Blog Studio.

We listened and learned. In doing so I learned lessons about branding and customer perceptions that went far beyond the redesign. I learned that I had created a Blog Brand. I learned that people cared about the image of Diva Marketing ... some very passionately. I learned that although a brand might be controlled by the customer ... shame on you if you don't provide cues to help guide that perception. (Gulp)

So now Diva Marketing has a new do. Peter and I feel it meets the objects we set: elegant, sassy, sophisticated keeping the fun but with an eye to capturing more business opportunities. And like any Diva with a new do I'm excited to show it off to you!

Your feedback was invaluable. Peter and I both thank you for your generosity in sharing your insights and expressing your creative ideas. This is as much your blog design as it is Peter's and mine.

More New Designs

07/16/2005

Continuing the design process for Diva Marketing's new look...Peter has two more comps. In true blogopshere fashion, we've listened to your feedback, done more "brand" analysis and well...take a look.

Gourmet Summer Fun Contest

07/13/2005

Fourth of July BBQs have come and gone. Summer's about midway through. How many hamburgers, hot dogs and, if you're lucky, s'mores, have you eaten? Let's get creative ya ya ya! Gonna have a party!

What's your idea of a cool summer dinner party? Is it a Hawaiian luau complete with hunky surfers? Or a clam bake on the ocean? Or perhaps a romantic picnic in the park?Summerlady Delicious Destinations, has a pretty neat contest running. Seems TA is looking for the most outrageously fun summer dinner idea.

Dahling, the prize is scrumptious - a 3-course dinner for two for three months in a row! Delivery is only within the continental US ... too bad Tris!

So how creative can a diva or divo be when it comes to winning gourmet dinners for a quarter? If you win be sure to let me know ;-)

  Contest deadline is July 17th. Sorry I forgot to mention it last week.

Emotional Impact of Blogs

07/12/2005

As the blog design turns... If you've been following this story you know that Peter Flaschner, The Blog Studio, is creating a new look & feel for Diva Marketing. He is also going bravely into that good night of transparency of the blogopshere and posting the comps - 3 thus far.

We asked for feedback and you didn't hold back. The depth of thought behind your suggestions has been awesome (and very helpful). Several comments on Peter's blog went into great detail about design elements while the marketers talked brand concept. If you haven't checked the comments, here are some snippets for your reading pleasure -

I picture you in a cool outfit, sipping a cosmopolitan or martini, very Carrie Bradshaw. Smoking a Cuban cigar. Tris

I like the second one better with its "palette of sophisticated colors." Jill

To me Diva Marketing is ALL bloggers, and ALL women bloggers ... while being very urban chic, almost Manhattan (accptable so even for those fans who are decidedly NOT those things - like me). Rick

I miss seeing the blogroll which gives a sense of community. And personal opinion, I think the quotes have too much real estate. Susan

The design does not say "Diva" to me . Too much corporate in a fashion designer sort of way..and the shoe element feels thrown in, not part of it. Bruce

From Peter: I've conducted my share of private and public design critiques over the years. This one is a real stand  out. Why? Because of your various investments in the Diva Marketing brand. Which led Peter to ask an interesting question - Who Owns A Brand?

From Toby: It's heat warming and at the same time fascinating to see the passion behind many of the comments and off list emails that Peter and I both received. You really care about this new design. WoW!

A few marketing questions to ponder: I wonder if Diva Marketing were a "website" instead of a "blog" would the emotion still be there? If we were to conduct a "real" Martiniwebfocus group would the "investment" carry over? Big questions (Tughnee def worth 3 olives!) - How much does the blogosphere and the relationships we built play into responses? Are readers of blogs more committed to a brand than those off-blog?

A chocolate martini toast to all who have left comments and sent emails!

 

 

Diva Marketing New Look - Design Creation Continues

07/08/2005

More fun for the Diva! Peter, The Blog Studio, is designing a more sophisticated look for Diva Marketing Blog but with some sass! He's posted the visual process thus far. Keep in mind it's still a work in progress but would love to get your take. Does it fit with your image of Diva Marketing Blog?

An added benefit to blogging the process is the strategy and visual history of the process is caputured and held in archives. One more reason to consider blogs for development purposes - either internal or external.

Diva Marketing's New Look: Understanding The Past

07/03/2005

What a strange but fun experience it is to be the "client."  Peter Faschner, Blog Studio, is creating a new look and feelDiva for Diva Marketing. As promised we both are blogging the experience.

Last week we discussed strategy, vision and what makes Diva Marketing Blog unique. We also talked about the past. You can't create a new strategy without a look in the mirror. So much has changed since I first launched Diva Marketing Blog. I must admit I found myself going off on tangents. However, Peter, being the good consultant, kept me focused and on-track.

If you're following along with this process, it seems appropriate that you should know the backstory since those experiences will influence the creation of the Peter's design.

Dana VanDen Heuvel of Pheedo (congrats! on the new gig) and Blog Savant, challenged me to launch a blog. I had been encouraging companies to consider blogs as a cost effective, easy to use website. Girlfriend, I was about to find out that was only the olives (one must have more than one!) in the martini.

Diva Marketing Blog was to be an experiment. A way to find out what blogs were all about. The focus - to provide tips and ideas on how to move a brand forward. That was about it. Nothing much more. No goals. No expectations.

Within days of hitting the publish button something interesting happened. I received emails from "real bloggers" like John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing and Yvonne DiVite of Lip-Sticking welcoming me to the blogosphere and saying nice things about the new blog on the block.
Sidebar: Dana had added Diva Marketing to his blogroll

People were reading my work and making an effort to contact me. Hmmm....perhaps there was more to this blog thing. Soon I was receiving comments and trackbacks from amazing people like Michele Miller and Nevile Hobson.

I noticed hits coming from Google. The spiders were finding Diva Marketing Blog! It took weeks before Google indexed my website. What was going on here?

I quickly learned 2 blog lessons: the blogosphere is a community of people interacting with each other and search engines love blogs. Both elements that could be leveraged in marketing strategies. This blog thing was really getting interesting now. 

I read more blogs and more about blogging. I emailed bloggers and had off list conversations about blogging. I searched for articles about blogs (few if any) and dropped comments on blogs. I began a collection of blogs: blogs from Fortune 1000s (very few), non profit blogs, healthcare (hardly any), blogging basics, RSS, etc. Websites seemed dull and lack luster. The blogosphere became my teacher about blogs. Bloggers were learning together through blogs about blogs. Fascinating. 

According to Henry Copeland, Blogads, I had become (drum roll please) a blog evangelist. AiMA asked me to chair an event on blogs. Paul Chaney attended that one. Paul was the first blogger I met in-person. At a funky bar in Atlanta, we talked for hours about blogs.

The American Marketing Association asked if I would chair a Hot Topic Workshop on blogs. With a team of talented marketers, who were A class bloggers, we developed the first program, dedicated to teaching marketers how to strategically leverage blogs, that was rolled out across the United States. 5 cities (soon to be 6) in 7 months. TDavid made us earn our stripes when he challenged the program's value. Blog Lessons 3,4 & 5 - We learned first hand the influence of blogs, the importance of monitoring the blogopshere and the need to join in on the conversation. Kudos to AMA for allowing me to respond without edits. Read the comments. Thanks to TDavid for helping us produce a better event.
Sidebar: TDavid is a blog buddy now.

Meanwhile, I began working with GourmetStation to launch Delicious Destinations, a fairly new blog genre, a character blog, that created some buzz  of its own in the blogosphere. Had the opportunity to work with GS's president and CEO, Donna Lynes-Miller, who was willing to take a risk with blogs and ads on blogs. And who bravely and generously allowed me to blog the process.

Along the way, I met many, many wonderful, smart, talented people from all over the world. I was elected to the board of the Pro Bloggers Association, was invited to speak at conferences like BlogHer and organizations such as 3M, working with Herrate Marketing to develop the first workshop about blogs offered in San Salvador, been podcasted, secured a few more blog clients, had articles published, been quoted in some pubs and will be highlighted in a book about blogs - Naked Conversations written by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Interestingly, the Chapter is title Consultants Who Get It.

Which leads me back to the beginning of this story. The goal and vision of Diva Marketing Blog. Needless to say, Diva Marketing Blog is no longer an experiment.
-Without intending to Diva Marketing has become a brand
-Without intending to blog consulting is playing a greater role in Bloomberg Marketing's offerings
Sidebar: Marketers appreciate that my approach to blog strategy begins with goals and the development integrates blogs into the master marketing frame work.
-Without intending to my interest in developing workshops, writing and speaking about blogs is increasing

It seems right that the design of Diva Marketing Blog should work a little harder in these directions. But always keeping the sass and savvy! Now it's in Peter's hands. Since we've made this process transparent your thoughts are warmly welcomed.

 

Gourmet Station Blog - Real-live Guest Blogger (5)

06/14/2005

Delicious Destinations, the GourmetStation character blog that rattled the blogosphere by daring to use the company's icon, T Alexander, as the voice of the blog, has introduced a guest blogger.

Susan Anderson, a wine consultant,Vino_bottle is a real-live person. Honest I know. Vino Diva Susan has often helped me find wonderful wines on a limited budget. Her first post is wine pairings for a Tuscon meal.

It's exciting to work with innovative, creative people who are not afraid to take risks. Donna Lynes-Milller, president and CEO of GourmetStation, may have made blog history once again.

Sidebar: If you're interested in the Delicious Destinations backstory, the strategy was chronicled and posted on Diva Marketing Blog back in Nov. 2004.

Hmm...wonder what the blog pundits will have to say about integrating a character with a real-live person.

GourmetStation Blog - Ad Blog Campaign (4)

12/14/2004

Gourmet_station_ad2_12_04 GourmetStation's blog ad campaign is a week into the 2-week campaign. Although we had a few challenges with the administrative end of Blogads (up loading graphics and payment system; since each ad had a different promotional, tracking code we couldn't purchase in quantity) it was not a complex process.

So in the sentiment of my new direct marketing pal, Bob Bly, have we seen ROI? No, not yet. In fact, the click throughs have been disappointing.

TowleRoad is pulling in the most hits. Could be that the ad for this blogGourmet_station_ad_12_04_2 (graphic below) is targeted to the audience.  At $85 it was our most expensive buy. 

A Small Victory is coming in with the second highest hits. Perhaps winning the 2004 Best Weblog - Best Culture Blog category will drive more traffic and someone will click and buy. By the way, the very creative I Blogger "song" is worth a visit. And much better than the "My Top Posts of 2004" lists that seem to be making the blogosphere rounds.

Betsy's Page and The Food Section are pulling some and then it's a bobsled ride on an icy hill from there. GourmetStation Holiday Campaign is also running on: Socialite Life, The Hedgehog Report, Cathy's World, Home School and Other Education Stuff, A Full Belly, Professor Bainbridge; the evangelical out post and Lip-Sticking

As Donna, GourmetStation's prez says, let's see what the next week brings . In the meantime, we'll tweak the text. Could be as another new blogging friend, Robert  Scoble, keeps reminding me we're 6 months to a year too soon. But gosh, darn we really want this to work...now!

Gourmet Station Blog - Ad Blog Campaign (3)

12/01/2004

GourmetStation is about to test advertising on blogs with a  2-week holiday campaign. We've been working with Blogads to develop a targeted media plan. With Henry's help we've identified 12 properties that fit our budget and the demographic profile of our holiday gift patrons.

Creative is in developement and we anticipate running during the weeks of Dec 6 and Dec 12. Since Blogads doesn't track conversions each ad will include an offer that will then allow us to measure effectiveness.

In the process we've learned that a blog ad buy is a little different than other online media purchases. We found that:

- Most blogs have limited information regarding visitor demographics. A Socialite's Life was one of the few. Nice touch!

- Most blogs that want to get into the ad blog game haven't thought through what a buyer might need to make a decision.

GourmetStation has worked very hard to develop a specific brand image and we wanted to ensure that the blogs we chose could support that, as well as, of course bring us quality prospects. For those that are considering an ad blog strategy here's our first attempt at -

Ad Blog Purchase Guidelines

1. Review blog for content appropriateness. The About Me page will often provide a sense of what the blog is about ... or not. Some blogs don't even have one. If you want my ad bucks I want to know who and what you're blog is about.

2. Review the number of comments and trackbacks. If a blog had a high comment ratio our thoughts were that visitors were more engaged and perhaps would click on the site sponsored ads...and convert to a purchase!

3. Reviewed current ads. Our thoughts were that like people play together. We dropped a blog from out list when we saw that our ad would run next to a buy gun ad. Just not our target audience.

3. Reviewed the relative traffic (impressions) that Blogads provided.

4. Ran blogs though Technorati to get a sense of number of in-bound links and properties that were linking to the blog.  A couple of blogs provided direct links to their Technorati page - very helpful. More clicks for our bucks.

5. Reviewed Site Meters where available.

We anticipate this will be a learning process for us and we're happy to share our experiences along the way. A big thank you to Donna, prez of GourmetStation for her generosity in allowing me to blog this adventure.

Gourmet Station Blog - Strategy & Content (2)

11/23/2004

Carra, Ben and I had our first strategy meeting for the GourmetStation blog. Lots of energy and enthusiasm in the meeting room at Blue Marble Media. It will be fun to work with people who are excited about seeing how far we can push the vision.

Being the good marketers we are, we first developed goals and objectives. Goal: To develop an adverblog using the “voice” of GourmetStation’s brand icon, T. Alexander.

Objectives

*To build brand awareness among new audiences

*To build brand loyalty with current patrons

*To increase new patron sales

*To increase repeat sales from current customer base

*To encourage informal customer communication and interaction with the brand in a fun, informal environment

Next step: To develop success metrics

Since the voice of the blog will be from T. Alexander, GourmetStation’s icon, there was a lot of talk about the concept of a faux/branding/adver blog (not quite sure what to call this) and the importance of playing it straight with visitors. (Visions of Ranging Cows floated in my mind.) We agreed that one of our first challenges would be to create a back story about T. Alexander – age, personality, background. The more dimensions we could create the richer and more realistic the posts.

Next we began development of a Post/Content Strategy. Post/Content Goal: to reinforce the GourmetStation brand through T. Alexander’s (GourmetStation’s icon) experiences, insights, observations of food, travel and life. Creating a post/content strategy and goal will:

*Focus content/posts

*Provide direction for the look and feel development

*Incorporate GourmetStation's offerings in a non intrusive manner

With a strategic foundation established our conversation turned to post ideas. We agreed T.A’s posts would be as realistic as possible. Frequency: 3-4 times a week. Vary in length: from a couple of sentences to a few short paragraphs.

We quickly found ourselves with a wealth of ideas from local culture and festivals to TA’s personal memories to TA travels and blogging at airports. (Side bar: must research airports with wifi).

Focused back on one of our objective - How could we subtly blend posts with GourmetStation’s special and seasonal offerings? If GourmetStation offers a spring lamb special perhaps T.A. will be traveling in New Zealand blogging about a fine lamb dinner at a quaint restaurant in Kaikoura. Or perhaps TA blogs about dinner with Kiwi friends Jilly and Paul in their new home on the outskirts of Auckland.

We also wanted to explore multi media aspects including: Vblogging (video blogging), audio blogging, photo blogging. A T. Alexander photo album would be pretty cool.

It didn’t take us long to realize that if we were going to make this work, there could be quite a bit of research involved even for posts with only a few sentences. We needed a media/content plan.

*Month-by-month content/media plan will be developed

*Monthly story idea conference call/meetings

Next Meeting – Blog Format