Asked to participate by Kat Gordon, founder creative director of Maternal Instinct, an agency of creative problem solvers for marketing to moms, we were joined by Kathlene Mullens, the founder and CEO of Female Equality Matters, the “No Glass Ceiling” Certification/Brand©. And my good friend Kami Huyse, founder and CEO of Zoetica Media, rounded out the panel.
Our goal at the Mom2.0 Summit was to discuss how mom bloggers can use their voices to affect change—in media and elsewhere. Here are the ten things we discussed:
1. Flexing Your Consumer Muscle. Kathlene talked about the importance of supporting brands with female leadership using Female Equality Matters’ No Glass-Ceiling Certified standard. If you go the extra step of ascertaining which companies support female leadership and not only patronize those companies, but let them know why you’re doing it, it’s a huge first step in the right direction. Showing them how you feel with your wallet always helps. We love this concept and Kathlene’s passion for advancing females in leadership positions in business. If you check it out, we predict you’ll be a fan, too.
2. Consult GoodGuide. If you want to know how sustainable the companies you buy from are it’s really pretty simple, according to Kami — just consult the Goodguide.com. GoodGuide was founded by Professor Dara O’Rourke of UC Berkeley. GoodGuide’s science team, comprised of chemists, toxicologists, nutritionists, sociologists and lifecycle analysis experts, rates products and companies on their health, environmental and social performance. GoodGuide’s 0 to 10 rating system helps consumers quickly evaluate and compare products. Their mission is to help you shop your values – wherever you shop. And for all you Amazon lovers out there, it’s available at the click of a button on Amazon.
3. Be An Activist. Use your voice. Support women and women’s rights. Call out brands or media running content that is offensive or diminishing to women. Use the #notbuyingit hashtag conceived by Miss Representation. Use it on Twitter and on the brand/company’s Facebook page, as well as posting it on the Miss Representation Facebook page. But when you’re doing this, remember that nobody likes a troll and that there’s no need to be hateful. You’ll get a lot more accomplished by stating your case and sharing your thoughts in a courteous, professional and respectful way than by being nasty or hateful. Brands tend to ignore this kind of behavior anyway, so remember this.
4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Fund companies that you believe in, and invite your “tribe” to do it, too. Kickstarter is a great way to do this, as is Kiva, which is devoted to microloans that change lives. JoeyBra is one of our favorite examples of entrepreneurs using Kickstarter. Two women devised a bra designed to hold a phone, money, lipstick or whatever and went to Kickstarter to get it funded, establishing a goal for the funding of $4,000. Funding just closed and they raised over twice that due to a little over 200 funders. Put your money where your mouth is. When you see great ideas, be a part of making them a reality and/or a success.
5. Organize a Cash Mob. A cash mob is like a flash mob except that it’s all about supporting local businesses. It’s a pretty awesome concept and easy to execute. You have to get your friends together and make a plan, then go together, either all at one time or on a specific day. The rules are generally that you spend $20 and pay full price. Be sure that you spend your money with companies whose policies you’ve explored and whose values you support. But supporting local businesses via cash mobs is a great way to help small businesses be successful and have fun in the process. Help ensure their success by being a part of it. And to find out what cash mobs are happening in your city, or to start one of your own, check out this site for a list of cash mobs happening across the U.S.
6. Vet Your Sources. Be responsible when you see or hear something inflammatory. This is especially applicable to the social media space – because surely we’re all smart enough to realize that you can’t believe something just because you saw it on Facebook or on some other social media site. Exercise caution when you see something on Facebook or Twitter, and know that you owe it to your community to vet what you see and not believe it as truth and share. Take two seconds and slide over to Snopes and check out whatever it is you’re seeing and make sure it’s not an urban legend. We see all too many times where passionate but uninformed consumers dis a brand and/or unknowingly spread false information because they are taking at face value what they see on social media sites. If you’re going to share something that could be detrimental – to a brand, a person, a product, etc., check the facts first before jumping on any bandwagons. And do the homework yourself – don’t rely on others. It really only takes a minute or two to make sure you’ve got your facts straight. And the damage you could potentially do by not vetting your sources is huge.
7. Dedicate a Day. Dedicate a day to one issue or cause. Invite dozens/hundreds of to all write about it on that day. A great example of this is the blogging campaign organized by Tara Sophia Moore and her WiseLivingBlog community to support The Girl Effect. Some 130+ bloggers who usually write about subjects ranging from business to creativity all took a day to write about The Girl Effect and used their platforms to spread the message. That resulted in not only raising money for The Girl Effect, but also a tremendous amount of brand awareness. Another example that showcases this kind of tactic is the Green Moms Carnival.
8. Don’t be a Brand Terrorist. When you have a problem with a product or service, act like a grown-up. It really is as simple as that. When you yell – online or off – people tend to stop listening. If you have an issue, don’t be obnoxious and histrionic. State your concerns in a logical, clear and concise manner. Suggest ways to improve and/or fix the situation. As a group of people who regularly work with brands on not only customer service issues but also advising on crisis communications in general, we can promise you that a logical overview of what the problem is and how you suggest it can be remedied will get exponentially more attention than a public attack.
9. Start a Petition. Small movements effect change. Change.org is an example of this. You can look no further than the recent uproars about the Bank of America wanting to charge customers for debit card purchases and Verizon’s proposed “convenience fee” for making one-time credit or debit card payments. Petitions can actually affect change in a matter of days. Another example of this kind of initiative from recent days is the Million Hoodie March, held in NYC in memory of Trayvon Martin and in an attempt to force an arrest in the slaying of the unarmed teen.
10. Lead the Charge. Make no mistake about it – brands are looking for ways to be impactful. And they want to hear from you. Bring them your ideas about ways that influential women can help them accomplish that goal. Corporate social good is important—and becoming increasingly more so. This is about more than swag and free stuff – this is about making a difference. What to do: make a bucket list of brands you admire and would like to work with. Invite them to work with you, tell them why you’re the one, show them how you can help them reach their goals. Be professional, organized and pitch your concept and your platform. You’ll be amazed at how this works.
That’s it. A review of the How Moms Can Change Media at Mom2.0. What did we miss? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Oh, and if you’d like to know more about and/or connect with Kat, Kami and Kathleen (and why wouldn’t you?) their bios are below:
Kathlene Mullens, MLHR, SPHR is the founder and CEO of Female Equality Matters™, The “No Glass Ceiling” Certification/Brand©. With over a decade of HR experience in four Fortune 100 companies, as well as a Master’s and senior certification in the discipline, Kathlene is using that expertise in diversity, recruiting, line HR, employee development, and technology to help leverage the power of consumer spending to yield more women, with more equitable pay, in the C-suite and boardrooms of companies, non-profits, and colleges/universities around the world.
Kami Huyse is the CEO and founder of Zoetica and specializes in connecting brands with their communities and social good programs. She has also blogged about the intersection between public relations at Communication Overtones since 2005. She has worked with a number of brands, including PayPal, Google, SeaWorld, Network Solutions and many others. She is also the architect of brand influencer programs with parenting lifestyle bloggers and many others. She is active on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Kat Gordon is the founder creative director of Maternal Instinct, an agency of creative problem solvers for marketing to moms. Brands like Hawaiian Airlines, Cord Blood Registry, Mamapedia, and eBay hire Kat and her crew to create online and offline ad campaigns, brainstorm new business ideas, advise them on future initiatives, and engage moms through social media.
Kat is also the creator of The 3% Conference. This first-ever event gathers female Creative Directors — who make up only 3% of their field — together to discuss ways to get more women in advertising since female consumers wield 85% of consuming spending power . You can follow Kat on Twitter @katgordon and @3percentconf, hear her speak at many marketing conferences, and subscribe to Maternal Journal, her agency’s blog.
Image by Nanagyei via Creative Commons