August 15, 2011

Women are Working to Change Our Plastic Ways

Screen shot 2011-08-15 at 7.25.27 AM Bettina Wassener summed up the brutal facts about plastic in the NY Times this week. (thank you Bettina)

"About 300 million tons of plastic is produced globally each year. Only about 10 percent of that is recycled. Of the plastic that is simply trashed, an estimated seven million tons ends up in the sea each year."   full article here.

As daunting and disappointing as that number is, she also flagged that starting in September there will be a Plastic Disclosure Project. 

Naming the problem is always the first step to a solution, then when many companies measure and disclose their plastic ways we can begin taking steps to reduce it. We'll be watching and reporting on its success. 

It's a big deal as eventually everything ends up at the bottom of the "hill" and that would be the ocean which no one nation takes responsibility for cleaning up. 

Beth Terry first brought it to my attention when she started blogging on MyPlasticFreeLife (formerly Fake Plastic Fish). 

Screen shot 2011-08-15 at 8.08.01 AM And that's how all these changes are happening, one person blogs, others comment, more gather data, additional groups report on it. And now business is doing something about it. In September we'll have a formal system for Plastic disclosure in in the way that water is tracked or greenhouse gases. This is what corporate social responsibility looks like. 

Note that governments are side liners in this movement. A quick check of the Plastic Coalition team tells the tale of which gender is pushing for this change. The majority of the worker bees are women.



It appears that the Plastic Disclosure Project has two guys (Doug and Erik) at the helm and that seems to be the pattern for social change these days -- women activate and men formulate. Women flag the problems and and give it exposure and men find ways to make it work with business. It's a true co-creation partnership of synergies.

You can't finish what you don't start, so thank you to all the "Beths" who are in activation mode. Let me know what you're doing and we'll feature it on In Women We Trust.

August 10, 2011

Ray Anderson's Choice - Hurt it or Help it

I must deviate from the usual female-centric posting today to honor a legacy creator -- Ray Anderson passed this week leaving a pile of eco-inspiration behind. He chose to "help it" (the planet) and the economy and world is better because of him. 

While Wall Street points fingers and doesn't know who to trust, they should take a lesson from Ray who pushed his company, Interface, into become sustainable. At the time this video was made, Interface had taken the company's green house gas levels down by 90% while their profits doubled -- his customers knew who and what they could trust.  

August 08, 2011

Meeting Up at BlogHerd

Screen shot 2011-08-07 at 4.43.57 PMThe first BlogHer conference had about 300 women, this year over 3,000 stampeded through the San Diego's convention center and flash-mob danced together before eating lunch. What fun and yet the reason I attended wasn't for the celebration, it was to meet up with 8 members of the Green Moms Carnival who I knew only by their postings.

Screen shot 2011-08-07 at 5.01.27 PM 
BlogHer gave me the face time missing from my communication diet. Pictures are those who made it to the Birds-of-a-feather Eco table ... Left to right Seated:  Katy Farber, Beth TerryHarriet Shugarman,Standing: Amber StrocelMicaela Preston, (me)Mary Hunt, and Lori Alper. MIA from this shot Maryanne Conlin who was with a client at another table and the rest of the Green Moms Carnival members. [photo credits go to Micaela for posting the original on her facebook, my phone camera dumped.]

I guess I didn't need to say "Eco-Table" as the coffee mugs and water jugs give our passion away. Unfortunately, that's where the green part of BlogHer stopped. The exhibitor's hall wasn't exactly dark green, more of a scattered green. 

The best of the green crowd -- Moms Clean Air Force a group trying to convince Congress to vote with our lungs in mind. Isn't it a shame that we have to lobby for something that should be a slam dunk common sense vote? PEW Health Group was represented, asking to get anti-biotics out of your food chain. Cotton Incorporated demo'd how they turn old jeans into safe house insulation. talked to me about how expensive it is to become sustainably certified, yet his card line up was as organic as he could make it on his own. took it a step further and are NSF certifed, but that they weren't listed on yet. And that was about it for sustainable actions.

Other companies were there with green advertising, but their products were far from green in execution and packaging. For that reason, I'm not mentioning them here. That's where I draw the line, if a company isn't working at becoming truly sustainable, not just painting old products a "green", then they don't get any airplay from me.

The scene on the exhibit floor was that of bloggers-gone-wild picking up tons of freebie stuff. The after parties provided even more plunder. Who needs Oprah when you can go to BlogHer and fill your holiday gift list. I'm not sure how to change that now that the expectation is set, and a part of me wouldn't want to if the products were made sustainably; as for now, it's just more stuff that will end up in an overcrowded landfill.

Sighhhh. I had such high hopes after my first BlogHer conference, maybe some day it will get back to its purposeful roots.

July 28, 2011

Trust Marketing Secrets Revealed

Screen shot 2011-07-28 at 9.50.34 AM The following is what Strategic Marketing expert, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing is telling businesses to do to earn consumers (women's) trust. We trust each other for certain reasons, how accurate do you think he is? 

The stories told in small groups matter – We love stories, and we particularly love stories we can rally around...  How much are you influenced by a product's background story?  

The ratings found on countless sites matter – Decisions are made every day about hotels, diners and plumbers based on the reviews of patrons found on sites like Google Places or Yelp! Do you give reviews? What motivated you to write?

The page one results matter – It’s not enough that a search for your business turns up your Website – let’s hope so. What’s equally important is that it turns up an entire digital presence. Is that true? Do you need to see a product on many different venues before you *Like*, buy or write?

The blog comments matter – Direct conversations with clients, about clients, about your products, about your people, about the things your company stands for are going to show up in comments on blogs. Have you ever had a conversation with a company?

The shares, +1s, and likes matter – Sentiment is one of the hottest measurements online these days and it’s a marker of true loyalty.  It's amazing, but some things as bland as ketchup has thousands of fans. 

Now that you know how much you are valued digitally, will you be changing the way you interact with companies? More/Less? Leave more comments?  

Business trying to earn our trust, what else do they need to do besides the above? 


July 25, 2011

Consumers Use Phones Like a Weapon

Screen shot 2011-07-25 at 8.33.58 AM A great snapshot of consumers in control came in this morning's mail from Sarah Mahoney and MediaPost's Marketing Daily.

Shockingly, according to a report by Deloitte, food buying consumers are becoming aggressive as food and gas prices go up. Who knew.

"I was surprised to see that consumers are treating grocery shopping as a sport now," Pat Conroy, Deloitte's vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, tells Marketing Daily in an email. "They are no longer feeling like victims and instead have a mindset that [says] 'I can beat you at your own game when it comes to shopping in spite of you raising prices and decreasing package size'."  

The report says, (duhhh) that 88% of consumers know that prices are going up over the past two years.  Because of that and gas prices, they are going to the store less and buying less expensive food such as generic brands. 

The one NEW fun fact is that 34% of those surveyed are using their smart phones to research food prices.  That's great news for which also tells shoppers which products are better for the planet at a click. (hint: the green square products are better than the brown square)

That number -- 34% -- surprised even me. I still don't have a smart phone because of cost of the service plan is going to kill the budget, and yet this group of shoppers is taking that investment to the store and offsetting their service plan expense by using it to buy cheaper, better, greener in the store.

In the hands of super smart women with armies of kids to feed, smart phones become weapons of mass consumption. 


July 22, 2011

Consumers, Finances, Transparency and Trusting the Fine Print

Keep your eye on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it's taking on the biggest consumer trust issue around - Financial Services. [A nod of thanks to  Lois Beckett  who wrote the insightful summary on the Business Insider. ]

According to Edleman's 2011 Trust Barometer, Financial Services are at the BOTTOM of the trust deck with banks and Insurance companies holding down the bottom with it. 

Screen shot 2011-07-22 at 9.25.30 AM

Who can we thank for bringing this much needed service to protect average citizens from misleading fine print, clauses, mind-numbing legalease -- Elizabeth Warren. She spent 10 months putting her heart and soul into creating this consumer protection agency only to have the job to head this organization handed over to guy I will not name. He didn't earn the kudos, it was Elizabeth Warren who conceived, planted, toiled and launched the agency.

What a shame and a sham -- in business, good ideas are rewarded. In politics they are burned. But I digress...

So how is the agency identifying the where consumers become confused? They turned to technology and letting the crowd of thousands tell them show them what's bugging them.  Thank you!

Screen shot 2011-07-22 at 9.45.52 AM 

My thanks to Elizabeth Warren, a respected researcher of economic trends and impacts who turned her ideas into action items; and to Lois Beckett for reporting on this baby agency and what it is doing to help protect us against those who we clearly don't trust. Through their efforts to create and inform, and with new transparency, maybe some day we'll trust the money lenders again. 


July 18, 2011

Monday Morning Trust Walk

Hand picked this morning...

Google vs. Facebook: Which Can You Trust?
Am I wrong for continuing to think that there's humor in the fact that so many people are flocking to Google+ because they just don't trust Facebook with all their private information? These are the same people who've had gmail accounts for six or ...

[Personally, I'm for Google as well, I believe their slogan "do no evil" was sincere in it's intent and keeps them working for the good of humankind. Who do you trust more? MH]

If only Murdoch had seen the Edelman Trust Barometer… | Firstpost

If Rupert Murdoch had studied the Edelman Trust Barometer report, he could have seen how little consumers in his two largest markets trust NewsCorp – even if they consume the products and generate advertising dollars.

In the Edelman report, when respondents (globally) were asked, “How much do you trust the institution to do what is right?”, media scored 49% in 2011, up from 45% in 2010.

On the role of trust in climate communication | Climate Etc.
By Judith Curry
Much has been written on the need for better communication of climate science and for rebuilding trust in the wake of Climategate. Such efforts are generally dismissed by climate skeptics as manipulative and further increase distrust. ...
Climate Etc.

[This is an interesting debate that pits science against "beliefs". The discussion applies to anyone trying to motivate others, i.e. which do you use facts or emotion when creating a case? MH]

July 13, 2011

Can Yourself -- Grow Money, Grow Friends

This post is part of the Green Mom Carnival on Food Preservation hosted by Abbie at The Farmer's Daughter beginning July 17th. 

Screen shot 2011-07-13 at 8.06.51 AM TM
If you could get $2000 for every $20 you invest, would you do it? That's what food preservation does; it takes time and energy, but not much money to get tons to eat that you KNOW is free of pesticides.

It also provides a summer of "entertainment" depending on what kind of gardener you are and hours of bonding time with your family and friends as you plant, harvest, can, eat and share the bounty.
Screen shot 2011-07-13 at 8.37.46 AM The dollar estimate came from my 90-year-old neighbor's city lot garden where they harvest, tomatoes, corn, raspberries, onions, grapes, apples, beans, beets, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, zuchinni, squash, and fan dance sized rhubarb. 
I asked them to tabulate their pantry at the end of the season. A trip to the store then gave me the value if I had purchased the same volumn of food. (The original $20 was seed money.) 
Some people think it's a lot of work. I think it's a lot of play and encourage everyone to start by growing an Italian garden of zukes, tomatoes, onions, parsley, oregano, rosemary and put in a strawberry rhubarb plant for me... That will be enough to get you canning and cooking. 

July 12, 2011

Beware of What You Write Online

You're being tracked. Use it to your advantage.

Whatever you write onlne generates products and service ads to fit your interests:

Went camping this weekend? Here are a couple coupons for trail mix.

Got a case of poison ivy? Here's some cream.

Want non-BPA lined canned food? How about an ad for Eden's food

Companies are reading the tea leaves of your writings and providing the items that best fit your needs. That's scary, cool, and something you can leverage as the consumer coin effectively flips both ways. 


If you're feeling like a "marketing target" lately there is a good reason for that, everything you do on line is being tracked and captured to bring someone/thing to you to buy -- in you the market is trusting. Recently from Media Post:

ChoiceStream has just launched its Crunch targeting platform. Its design is not just to target segments but to anticipate how people will respond or engage with ads. The idea is to understand -- mainly through personalization, in combination with third-party data -- what audiences are most likely to deliver the desired marketer results. 

Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 3.44.22 PM

ALL your patterns and practices are being measured and piled in with other people just-like-you, then that information is being sold to a retail company.

It sounds pretty creepy with Big Brother is listening to everything until you think about, BUT what if you peppered your conversations with what you want. If Big Brother is taking notes, start telling him what to do.


As the top of the consumer foodchain, we women need to become smarter about what we're saying online. Companies want our money and our mindshares and therefore, so does the media. What we write is reverberated in articles and opinion pieces and the faster the market changes to meet OUR needs

Companies like Choice Stream are just helping business find their best customers, faster. In a strange way, this kind of targeted advertising could eliminate the need for the thousands of overkill ads we are exposed to on multiple platforms. Wouldn't that be great.

At the same time it makes women the smartest people in the consumer room - it bears repeating - whatever we want, we'll get. 

LEVERAGE -- The pen is mightier than the pocketbook. 

Stock markets rise and fall on the gut reaction to what everyone "thinks" is going to happen. If more and more women begin writing about what they want in their consumer lives, i.e. green and socially responsible products, it will happen. Business will read the trends and work behind the scenes to develop products to meet your needs first before someone else does.

So... write about the good you want to see in the world. Name drop the companies that are doing that good work like I did with Eden Foods at the top of this blog. (full disclosure, I buy their products.)  

Laws and regulations kick in after something has gone wrong, let's try a more positive approach and help companies make the right stuff the first time. The more we expect better products, greener products and more socially responsible companies - the faster we'll get them served up to us.

In women we trust. 


July 05, 2011

Girl Scouts Pick up Top Brand Trust Ratings in OC

Screen shot 2011-07-04 at 8.10.04 PM In June the OC Metro ran a cover story on the Power of Trust in conjunction with the Values Institute at DGWB. After interviewing 2000 adults over five months (63% women, 47% married with children) the following attributes came forward: Ability, Concern, Connection, Consistency, and Sincerity

The Girl Scouts of Orange County "brand" came out on top  for Concern and Connection with multiple mentions across all attributes. 

Let that be a lesson to business-at-large -- embed your brand in your people (employees/customers) and the kudos will follow. Don't keep reinventing yourself decade after decade, stay true to your core.  The OC Girl Scouts have 25,000 girls and their leaders to word-of-mouth the organization; next year thousands more will join the legacy.  How many employees still buy your "cookies" decades later - at any cost?

Men value Price and Cost. (Why surveys are important.)

The survey uncovered on big difference between how the women and the men answered the survey -- the middled-aged, surveyed men put Price and Cost on top of their value chain, the women had valued customer service. 

This isn't new news, most of the survey's findings are also in the  In Women We Trust workbook published five years ago. But it does point out why marketing is still out of synch with world of women. Most agencies, DBWG included, are run by men, have men on their board and therefore filter their decisions based on their own value base first. (I saw one women in a leadership position with DBWG and the Values Institute.)  Without surveys like this to flag the differences, those in the decision-making seat would continue their path based on what they know from their own personal experience. Kudos to DBWG and OC Metro for setting up the survey. 

Surveys are also important because business is just a machine and machines run on numbers. When numbers add up, the machines change to match their direction. If you want to change the world, put numbers on your findings. (Plus, the reports make great handouts at awards dinners...)

Other awardees were: American Red Cross (another female dominated structure), Apple, Chapman University, Chick-fil-A, CHOC Children's Hospital, Costco, Disneyland, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, In-N-Out Burger, Nordstrom, Planned Parenthood/OC and San Bernardino Counties, St. Joseph Hospital, Target, Toshiba America, and Wells Fargo. 

Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 7.36.08 AM Seeing the Girl Scouts of OC on top didn't surprise me, GS programs have always been in tune with what modern girls need ever since I was a Girl Scout Professional Advisor early in my career. The GS program has stayed true to it's course of preparing girls for the future, and it has evolved, i.e. from taking care of the outdoors and leaving only footprints while camping, to including saving the planet.

If you wanted a new branding ideology for your company that will resonate with growing consumers, just follow the Girl Scout program. Oh, and maybe rework your own mission statement to include the values that the Girl Scouts abide by: 

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

What's not to Know, Like and Trust?