The evolution of social media and blogs has created the curious phenomenon known as the mommy blogger, my wife, Drugstore Mom, has joined the ranks of these smart and savy women. Over the last few years, retailers and national brands have engaged this influential group for everything from product testing to simply engaging in the brand experience.
Progressive retailers who truly want to know their customers and grow both their retail Private Brands should learn from these moms and find innovative ways to engage them and their families. This is about building authentic relationships not consumer research. It has the potential to engage activist customers in a true relationship with their brands and could reinvent the nature of retail.
After a difficult start in the blogging community Walmart established the Eleven Moms, and has engaged these moms in an authentic way that should be an example for other retailers. In this two part series we will take a look at mommy bloggers:
They can and should help us create the next chapter of Private Brand!
Here are some of the eleven moms and the story:
GeekMommy, Lucretia Pruitt
The Domestic Diva, Heather Batts
Mom Advice, Amy Clark
Frugal Upstate, Jenn Fowler
Keeping the Kingdom First, Alyssa Francis
Deal Seeking Mom, Tara Kuczykowski
Being Frugal, Lynnae McCoy
Classy Mommy, Colleen Padilla
The “Cents”ible Sawyer, Denise Sawyer
Coupon Cravings, Erin Gifford
According to the Walmart Website:
Like many brands, we’re always seeking to explore the possibilities of social media. We established a dedicated internal team to focus on emerging media. Interestingly, this is an extension of our ongoing efforts to make our stores faster, friendlier, cleaner and to generally improve the overall shopping experience.
We’ve spent lots of time interacting with and seeking to understand how people use these tools and in what ways the Walmart brand can be relevant and provide value. It quickly became obvious to us that many communities exist that focus on saving money, which is core to our brand promise. We felt we could best participate in the conversation by helping to foster the growth of people and forums in this space.
For many months, we’ve been engaged in social media platforms that generate discussion about money saving products and services. Sites and services such as Walmart’s Checkout blog, Customer Ratings and Reviews, and MakeYourDollarStretch.com have given our customers a forum to learn about products and share ideas for saving money. The question was, how do we support and build upon existing money saving communities? Soon it became clear that we should reach out to the many great writers who are already blogging about great money saving ideas.
We began slowly, making contacts in Twitter, leveraging Facebook profiles, viewing related YouTube videos, and trying to understand how we could participate. And not just by adding more messaging. We made friends. We heard from our critics. And we began to interact as both Walmart associates and as people.
We began to reach out to some of the bloggers we had been following to find out if they would be interested in building a connected money saving community.
In all we invited eleven Mom Bloggers to participate and began to refer to the group as “elevenmoms.” Several Moms strongly suggested that we add another Mom Blogger that they regarded highly so we did. Hence, we have 12 “elevenmoms”, a great value as well!
We are honored to be able to work with this great group of Moms.
We have continued to grow the community by launching a YouTube brand channel with the sole focus of saving money. We felt this genre would be most helpful to our customers especially given all the economic challenges that many of us are facing. To help build and test this idea, we worked with our partner Pure Digital to get Flip video cameras into the Moms’ hands to give them a great tool to create content.
And create content they did.
Videos began to arrive with great ideas about saving money. The group actually became quite competitive and in the spirit of true social media, an idea sharing and tip resource for each other.
The YouTube program launched in early September, and our customers have begun to see many new tools on a new community area on walmart.com/community that connects this money saving resource with expanded new platforms to engage more of our customers in areas where we have seen they are very passionate, from saving money to learning about new products.
Elevenmoms update – December 2008
Today the elevenmoms group is more vibrant that ever. The original group of eleven has now expanded to twenty-one including a green focused mom and the first elevenmom in Canada. We continue to learn more about communicating with moms on a one to one basis every day. The elevenmoms group and hundreds of other Moms, Dads and people of all types are now actively helping us shape our business through sharing their stories and videos on Walmart.com’s connect & share platform. Thousands of customers are getting their questions answered by other customers, Walmart Associates and even suppliers through a single tool.