Kimberly-Clark launched a grant program targeted at mom entrepreneurs (see article in Brandweek here). The website, HuggiesMomInspired.com, provides business resources for women who want to start a business, a way to submit your idea, and a few case studies. They are leveraging social media to get the word out.
It probably will be a somewhat successful program, but the minute they stop granting money, all will disappear – there is clearly not a movement of mom entrepreneurs going to emerge from this program. I also wonder if K-C will be able to achieve its goals – which is “to further strengthen its relationship with its core consumers, many of whom are business-minded, social media-savvy moms.”
What’s missing from this program is the social. There is no social component in this effort at all (although I am sure that for some people leveraging social media as a channel of communications for the launch will qualify as social – it’s NOT!).
Here are some of the things that K-C could have done to make this more of a social program.
- Socialize the Business Plan Development Process
Turn the web site into a community for mom entrepreneurs, where business teams can form, where people can find help to refine their plans, and where they can rate plans as they proceed through some sort of gated process, the way the Cisco iPrize works.
- Socialize the funding process
It would be much more powerful if the program were built in a way that other companies and VC’s, who might be interested in that same tribe of mom entrepreneurs, could participate in the funding process – possibly creating multiple categories of funding and making the whole effort more valuable for all parties involved.
- Forget the company and its product – be member-centric
Make the community totally member-centric, with mom entrepreneurs at the center and not diapers. Sure, K-C and Huggies can be sponsors of the site, but that does not need to be front and center if your goal is to create a relationship with mom entrepreneurs.
- Don’t use social media as a channel to get the word out – engage where the tribes hang out.
Chances are that mom entrepreneurs are already grouping together in some online or offline communities. If so, then engage them where they already hang out. If not, then you may have found a rare opportunity to host a vendor sponsored community that could turn into a movement – one that could not be shut down even if you were to stop the grant program.
Too many social media based programs lack the social that could turn those programs into huge successes.
What do you think? Let me know.