It’s Alive – Welcome the BBIC!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The thing with ideas is many die on the vine. The post strategy session visual is that of an old-school janitor sweeping up little pieces of my brain from a client’s conference room floor, into the dustpan and then my glorious ideas meet their untimely death in the trash. Good ideas get thrown away all the time…

And that is what makes today even more special. Today my client Bravado  is launching an initiative that was hatched in one of those amazingly exciting and prolific strategy sessions many moons ago in their Toronto headquarters. (As a side, but important note, Bravado’s conference room is an amazing Mecca for breastfeeding power and love – the walls are covered my the most stunning images of breasts – someday, I really, really want to get Fox News in there– I am sure the sight of all of those nipples and babies alone would make Glen Beck well up in tears, but I digress).

Today the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council launches. It is the first of its kind, and I could not be more proud. We have advanced the conversation and grown a manufacturer into an information source. We have harnessed the voices of 80,000 women, the experience of 17+ years and acted on our deeply seeded motivation and desire to help elevate the qulaity breastfeeding coverage by making it easy to get the story right!  

Our Mission:

The BBICserves as a resource to the media and influencers that both authoritatively communicate to and influence women, to provide accurate and non-judgmental information, statistics, trends  and analysis on a regular basis. This information will serve to educate the public at large and support a positive breastfeeding experience for women in North America.

The BBIC is:  Connected, Credible and Committed.

What is next? The BBIC will launch with an exclusive event on November 10. Kathryn From and Shery Ledder will share our new (and very surprising) research findings complete with analysis from our board including:

Lindsay Lebresco, Chris Pegula, Lisa Spiegel, Kimberly Seals Allers and Heather Kelley

You can join us! Actually, do join us – there is great swag for all (even virtual attendees), an opportunity to tweet in your questions and of course you can be a part of history! Register here and see you on November 10 at 12:30!

On Missing the Mark

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

This post is not about breastfeeding or formula. And while I am absolutely qualified to talk about Nestle I will not. I have been in the breastfeeding space for more than a decade. And the long, dirty history of Nestle’s marketing practices, WHO violations and human-rights abuses are simply a factual prologue to the recent stir that the Nestle family blogger event has caused in the social media world.

There is enough Nestle talk out there. I choose not to recount the history or educate anyone. The facts are in the public domain and easy enough for anyone to access.  Since yesterday’s powerful and well-written post by Annie @PHDinParenting  the lines have been drawn and it is getting nasty. I have watched from the sidelines (OK I have not been totally silent) – we are all witnessing mommy bloggers out for blood and people are getting hurt.

To me this is a case study for poor planning, short-sighted thinking and other classic marketing errors. What is clear to me is that there was no strategic or top-level thinking applied to this horrific play for Moms on the part of Nestle. In fact, it smacks of lack of experience, lack of understanding and certainly lack of expertise.  Nestle has undervalued women in the worst way. Can’t you just imagine the “big idea” meeting:  so the idea is they will love us, ask no questions and go forth and re-build our image all for the low, low price of a hotel room, some meals and some swag.

So Nestle, as a woman who is always curious and is passionate about marketing to new mothers – I am dying to know — who the hell was in that room? Who sat around the big old Nestle table when you failed to consider the terms of engagement with these women you wanted to woo? Or when you decided to withhold key information from women on the off chance that they would not find out? The plan was what — these moms should be your advocate and not know of your true, controversial history? How about when they were left in a position to defend you against the endless attacks on twitter and on blogs – how were they to manage that Nestle, what was the plan?

In fact, what Nestle has done is continued their tradition interpreting/massaging facts to suit their objectives. Never mind who gets hurt in the way, right? There is no statute of limitations on the many blemishes on your corporate resume and now you have added a new abuse, abuse of women (and some men too from what I understand)– congratulations on that.

This is a stunning example of why those who are involved with marketing to/with women and in specific, social media need to have well grounded leader managing their strategy. Someone with experience needs to be in charge and minding the big picture. Without going into a high level of detail here (boring, for some) strategy is built from a clear and well – thought out assessment  and analysis of a brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Simple – marketing 101 stuff.  Gunning to fast tactics cannot, will not advance a brand. In fact, ill-conceived programs such as Nestle Family have the makings of a perfect storm. And today has been just that…

Nestle has lost control of the conversation – in fact the conversation that is being had is not only off-message (one would assume ) but the defense of Nestle has been left in the hands of those least qualified to handle it — the bloggers who answered their call and came for a few days of fun. This is damaging  to the brand  on a profound level (obviously) and leaves these bloggers in an untenable position. Feeling loyal, under attack, not knowing facts, frankly over their heads and outside of any normal scope of engagement for an event like this.

So Nestle – one more question(as one known for asking so many probing, hard questions of my clients) – Now you have a war with your name on it – now what’s the plan?

What Have We Done?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

For those of you who know me, who follow along and who “get” the Forty Weeks philosophy you know our credo is pretty straight forward. We focus on women and the Forty Week journey that leads to motherhood. We work with like-minded companies who offer products and services that are both needed and necessary. We focus on keeping products and services in the market-place that support and even enliven the journey. We care for all women – by providing care, adoration, respect, non-judgement and true consideration. We like to laugh too - it feels essential to the journey. And mainly we seek to protect women from those who would hurt us. We take this all quite seriously – that is who we are!

 But what happens when women hurt women- when we hurt ourselves? When the pressure and the standards we set fail us and lead us to war with each other and ourselves. You know these wars  of course because the media loves them so and covers them tirelesly and repeatedly. And so in all possible forums and with great frequency the Mommy Wars are front and center. They show up around almost every corner and they seem to be without end. But what is this really?  In short, it is women hurting each other — and going to battle over very personal choices. Nothing new…nothing good.

But today I saw this on Momlogic and it was something new – a new level of wrong, of shame and of tragedy. I felt cold and sick reading the original article in the Mail describing how a new mother jumped to her death over her inability to breastfeed her baby. Yes – A woman killed herself because she could not breastfeed her baby well enough  and considered herself a failure. The pressure was so great and overwhelming  – her sense of personal failure so high and of course, of course her post-natal depression so extreme that it all slipped away. I am not taking away from any of these facts -  all of these very real factors were at play. Yet somewhere she got the message (that then went through the lens of her post-natal depression) that her failure to breastfeed was a big enough failure to  end her life over. She left behind a mother-less infant and a widower and a great void where she one stood. She died over breastfeeding. How did we get here and what have we done?

 There is little to say and really all we can do is take a good hard look at ourselves. Who are we helping (and who are we hurting) with our positions. Is it worth a life? Is the Mommy War worth dying for.

I think not.