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7 posts from July 2007

July 25, 2007

BlogHer 07 in 24 hours

No, I'm not ready yet.  Looks like that pedicure idea isn't going to happen.

One thought as I head into Blog Hers ACT and the 4 things we want to ask presidential hopefuls... not only do women buy all the stuff, the companies they buy the stuff from are bigger than countries.

If you stack up the financials of companies and countries, the top 77 are corporations not nations. Walmart's $315 billion is more than the combined GDP of Israel, Ireland and Venezuela. (They shouldn't be sponsoring the Olympics, they should be entering a team.)

Since Capitalism is obviously running the world, maybe we should be asking 4 things of them.

Ok, I'm stepping away from the screen...

July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Moves the Market to Green

Just a quickie today... Ya know we're making progress as a society when a book written in the U.K. can stir hearts in the U.S. and cause a ripple effect for sustainable products.

(thank you to Diane for flagging) According to Grist,  "Nearly two-thirds of the 16,700 tons of paper used to print the 12 million copies of the U.S. version of the book have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from sustainable timber -- the largest-ever purchase of FSC-certified paper to be used in a single book printing."

Read the rest of Diane's post here. It's amazing stuff - the time's they are a-changing! Marketing departments, take heed. You get extra points and P.R. buzz for putting out good products that are also Sustainable. That only happens when you're first to market, so get moving and get sustainable.

FSC is the group behind all sustainable wood and the first step towards making the building and furnishing world a better place. Now they are making the book publishing world a better place, too. Cool.

What's the other big news? Over on CGM, Pete Blawshaw notes that Harry Potter outbuzzed ipod. Here's his entire post and link to the original.

HarrypotterThis is nothing short of extraordinary!  Last month, I co-presented a webinar touting the iPhone launch as far and away the most buzz-worthy marketing event of the year, but it looks as though Harry Potter CGM is nearly three times that level.  Just think about it: over 4% of all new blog posts reference or mention Harry Potter in some way, shape, or form.  Must be magic! 

It's the first time that authentic Word of Mouth has trounced big money promotion. We used to covet the Oprah Effect, now it will be the Potter Effect - A Sustainable Story and a Sustainable Product. PR on top of PR.

July 18, 2007

The Diva Debuts with a "Must Listen" on Business Blogging, Ethics and Personal Style

Boa slinging Toby Bloomberg made her BlogRadio debut last night with her show "Diva Marketing Talks" I missed it. (rats) My blogfeeder didn't flag it until a day later. BUT because it was a recorded Radio blogcast I was able to listen to it while finishing up on other deadline work this morning.

I'll be listening and linking to it again. It was loaded with all the things you wished you knew before you started your first blog.

Toby's guests were Jeneane Sessum and Wayne Hurlbert, both influential bloggers in their own spaces. It was nice to hear all three voices of experience chiming in. The number one thing from Jeneane was "be yourself." That's so much harder than it sounds, but the three of them provide all guidelines needed for any "self" to flourish.

Toby is a perfect fit for this venue. Her soft, even manner will put any guest at ease. Soft spoken doesn't mean soft ideas, however, I expect Toby will be shaking up the blogging business world in talk shows to come. By the way, Toby keeps her face hidden on her blog, but you'll see her on the BlogRadio connection.

Congrats Toby.

July 15, 2007

Just because they feel so good...

Bamboo_sheetsSpreading the good word about sustainable products is what this blog is all about. In that light I have to tell you about Dreamsack's Bamboo sheets. They made me forget about silk as the ultimate in sleeping comfort. (even though silk sheets is Dreamsack's main product line)

One touch, was all it took for me. I can't get that lush texture and drape out of my brain. If rose petals could be fabric, that's what it would feel like.

Bamboo is the poster plant of renewal resources. It grows fast and it can grow in many climates and conditions. Until recently bamboo was banished to tiki huts and porch furniture. Today bamboo is being used for floors, counter tops, furniture, curtains, upholstery, clothes and SHEETS!

A friend once told me, "I put my best money on the things that come in contact with my body every day... good hair cuts, glasses, coffee, sheets, towels... the further things get from my body, the less good money I put towards them." I don't remember his exact words, but I never forgot the wisdom behind them. Bamboo sheets are that kind of product. They are worth the price as I'm pro-rating it across eight hours a night. The fact that they are made from a sustainable raw materials makes it even better.

Anyone else had any experience with this new fabric?


July 09, 2007

Change a Light Bulb. Boycott a Bottle

Did you party for the planet this weekend? Did you take the pledge? What will you do first to help save the planet?

Water_bottlesBy now, everyone knows that they can save a tremendous amount of electricity personally and globally by just changing their light bulbs to the curly ones. That's easy. Now comes the really hard part. Are we willing to put down the bottle of water? Switching out our light source is nothing compared to switching a mindset of convenience.

Nina Burokas, nicely gave me her copy of this month's Fast Company. In it is a wonderfully written article by Charles Fishman who melds marketing with economics with pure indulgence on our part. How did we go from water on tap to being tapped for $15 billion in bottling in fees?

"You can buy a half-liter Evian for $1.35 - 17 ounces of water imported from France... In San Francisco, the municipal water comes from inside Yosemite National Park. It's so good the EPA doesn't require San Francisco to filter it. If you bought and drank a bottle of Evain, you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months."

On top of this, he reported that it takes two gallons of water to wash and prepare some glass bottles. And over $1 billion of plastic bottles are thrown away each year rather than recycled. The Union of Concerned Scientists noted that "1.5 million gallons of oil - enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year - are used to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns thousands more..."

"What a waste" was never a more apt thing to say.

So how about it? You've swapped out your lights. Are you ready to put down the bottle?

July 04, 2007

Get Ready for Voice Activation at BlogHer 07

I am beyond excited for BlogHer 07. At one point I thought about not attending. I had to balance the fun of a hot time in The City with working practically the next day in Vegas at the Sustainable Furniture show. When BlogHers ACT was added to the roster, I confirmed my ticket for Chi Town. I wanted to be at ground zero when BlogHer puts the power of blogs and women's hearts behind ONE topic for ONE year.

It will change the world. 

When explaining bloggers as a "media" to business, I often tell them, "Bloggers are like cats, if you want their attention you have to pet them, feed them or give them something to chase." For this cat, BlogHers ACT is the ultimate chase and that's why I'm going and that's also why it will work.

Women (still) are getting the back seat when it comes to being acknowledged. With the right topic tracked, however, BlogHers ACT will provide the acknowledgment women deserve and that will start a chain reaction like never before. Why? Because business is watching and reading blogs. What is written on the Internet cave wall by their key consumers carries clout. What women care about, business cares about. Notice how fast the Super Bowl went from frat jokes to practically Disney in less than three years. Women ranted, business listened and the Super Bowl, and it's advertising, went mainstream. That's clout.

And now that we have their attention... let's crank it up.

For example: Elisa reminded us of what has become marketing lore, 83% of the consumer dollar is influenced by women. In my industry (furniture) women influence 94% of the decisions. So, let's connect some dots. About 75% of the CO2 emissions are attributed to one industry - buildings and their furnishings. Think about it, what's more prevalent than cars - offices and homes. Then think about the raw materials and transportation needed to build, heat, cool, light and furnish that asset? Think too about all the wood that is required and where that wood comes from... If all we did was band and blog or buy FSC certified wood, we could influence how fast the furniture and the building industries would mend their ways. The standard does the heavy lifting, we just have to demand it.

Some of the good guys are doing it on their own, but that's slow and frankly we are running out of time to stop dangerous and irreversible global warming.

Business will always follow the money and with that leverage, we can change the world.

July 03, 2007

Time to Eliminate "The Common Practice"

Disclaimer: Since Company X finally rebated the charges, I'll be kind enough to keep their name out of it, but the problem is still so pervasive that it needs to be addressed. Let's put ethics back into businesses.

Have you ever given a company your credit card to try a service and then forgotten to cancel that service? You were reminded of your forgetfulness when your credit card bill showed up with unplanned charges. Hey, it's in the fine print that you blasted through to try the service. "The common practice" is legally defensible and besides, "everyone else does it...."

I don't know about you, but I've had it with "The Common Practice."

I find this shoddy customer service at best and flat out unethical otherwise. It's akin to test driving a car and then having them keep your credit card to use at will after you decide not to buy it. Trying something and then deciding not to buy it used to be called "shopping," and you could do it without keeping your hand over your wallet.

Ethical marketing would be to auto/CANCEL at the end of 14 days and letting the customer decide if they want to buy it or not by signing on again. Everyone remains happy under that system. The common practice is in place for one reason, to steal from those who forget in a multitasking world. Once the fine print is gone, you are never warned about it again until it shows up on your credit card. It's not to be helpful to the customer, it's to take $49 from them and then say "Oh well, warned you once, days ago when you weren't paying attention. Then we warned you again that the trial was going to end, NOT that charges would start." That's lying by omission and done to manipulate the masses which Company X did very well.

I was miffed. I called the company and the customer person assured me that it was now canceled. I went back to my life. Next month - more charges. I called again and they explained that I had to cancel it myself. Apparently hitting a button was too hard for them. I went in and canceled and went on with my life. The next month - more charges! I hadn't hit the SECOND "Are you sure you want to cancel button that was on the bottom of the box.

Why is canceling harder than starting up? Did they ask "Are you sure you want to join"? No. They took the money and started the clock. They didn't put in the second button as a service to me, their customer. They did it to have a second chance to raid my charge card. Legally, it's defensible. In any small town, however, they would be tarred and feathered. Common sense tells you this is cheating. Only because "the common practice" is so common and so spread out over millions of duped customers a year, does it persist.

Isn't it a shame that a company is doing so poorly that it has to trick people into paying for their services? That's what this "common practice" now tells me. From now on when I someone asks for my credit card to try something, I'll see the red flag that it is and try something else. I don't need the headaches and they sure don't need my charge card number.