Huggies understands today's moms. At least the inspired mothers with some business savvy and an idea to make life better for other mothers. Its MomInspired Grant Program offers grant money to mothers with a unique baby or child care product idea that meets an parenting need. Personally, I find it refreshing that Huggies didn't go with the now ubiquitous "submit your photo or video" UGC contests. It shows that Kimberly Clark is looking beyond the low-hanging fruit for the social responsibility possible in social media.
Huggies recently launched the MomInspired Grant Program that will fund entrepreneurial mothers across the United States to help get their child-care business ideas off the ground. Kimberly Clark, Huggies' parent company, is offering a total of $250,000 in grant money, with up to $15,000 for each individual idea. In order to be considered for a grant, mothers must submit an application online by June 9, outlining "a unique baby or child care product idea that addresses an unmet parenting need," according to the company's press release. The program is explained through a dedicated microsite, and community word is being spread through Facebook and Twitter.
Kimberly Clark is on a mission to innovate its product line. "We do a five year business cycle and we've identified innovation that takes us beyond the core—diapers and wipes—into something new that defines us a baby care brand," says Paljieg. Part of the research involved talking to online mommy influencers, one of whom just happened to be Maria Bailey, a former Fortune 100 executive, founder of BlueSuitMom.com and a mother of four. "Maria is at the hub of a social media environment where moms are innovating with their own businesses," says Paljieg. That insight, combined with an interest in the way the Silicon Valley venture-capital market sourced innovation, convinced him that Huggies could both inspire its target market and foster its own innovation by working to enable entrepreneurial moms across the country.
The more research Paljieg and his team did, the more they learned about the challenges that this small but influential sector of moms faced. He cites research conducted by Babson College showing that even though women in the United States are credited with starting businesses at nearly twice the rate of men, only about 3 percent of these female businesses get VC funding. Building on that research, Huggies then commissioned its own study of moms and found that the toughest challenge faced by those who wanted to start their own business was access to capital and financial resources. These moms didn't need VC-level funding. Most said what they really needed was small seed/start-up money, along with mentorship.
Yet even if just a fraction of Huggies' target community actually engages with this initiative, and even if the entrepreneurial chance of success seems improbable, the project probably will be considered a success. That's because (as its name suggests) this campaign has as much to do with demonstrating Huggies' commitment to working moms as it does funding the next cool baby-care product. "I hope [all the moms out there] experience the recognition that they themselves are inventive so that they think 'Maybe I can't participate, but isn't this cool what Huggies is doing," say Paljieg.
For Huggies, it seems, social media, rather than necessity, may prove to be the mother of invention.
This article by Stuart Elliott, New York Times (April 25, 2010) presents Kodak's new campaign: The real Kodak moment happens when you share. It is based on a persona of Katie - a mother whose job is to serve as the Chief Memory Officer for her family. Instead of encouraging Kodak moments as snapshots of life, this campaign encourages consumers to see Kodak as a brand about sharing memories and sharing life. That's because the product has even been designed for sharing with social media!That's right. The Kodak Easyshare digital cameras have a share button that can tag pictures for email, Facebook, Flickr, and the Kodak Gallery, or YouTube. Kodak wants to reposition the camera as emotional technology and photography as imaging.
Facebook released on April 21, which most people are only vaguely aware of:
• Like button: The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click. • Like Box: The Like box enables users to like your Facebook Page and view its stream directly from your website. • Facepile: The Facepile plugin shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site. • Recommendations: The Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site they might like. • Login with Faces: The Login with Faces plugin shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button. • Comments: The Comments plugin lets users comment on any piece of content on your site. • Activity Feed: The Activity Feed plugin shows users what their friends are doing on your site through likes and comments. • Live Stream: The Live Stream plugin lets your users share activity and comments in real-time as they interact during a live event.
“These social plug-ins amount to a fundamental transformation in the way we communicate,” he added. “The Like button is a revolution — it’s a different mindshare. It doesn’t take much to share a Like, but its power is awesome.”
I’m with Chris Pirillo, whose advice on privacy is simple: Stop sharing stuff online that you don’t want people to know about. And, like Robert Scoble did, I share much of my Facebook content with the wider world, since I see Facebook — and Twitter, too — as a sharing network.