Sunday, July 15, 2012
About MSLO: Martha Stewart is an iconic figure in American homemaking. In 1997, she founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO), a multimedia organization that provides lifestyle content through four segments: publishing, internet, broadcasting, and merchandising. Their mission statement is the following: We are the leading integrated content company devoted to enriching the changing lives of today’s women and their families. Our community of how-to experts is committed to teaching, innovating, designing and inspiring with ideas and products that make every day more meaningful, more functional, and more beautiful. We elevate the familiar elements of daily life, infusing them with the pleasure and confidence that come from the growing sense of mastery and discovery we foster in our customers and ourselves. Our products are stylish and distinctive, with a consistently high level of quality. Though our content is timeless, we deliver it in the most current ways: wherever, whenever, and however our customers need and want it (www.marthastewart.com)
Core content includes:
Cooking and entertaining
Competitors: MSLO’s leading competitors are large multimedia and marketing companies such as, Meredith Corporation, Time Warner, Inc., and Advance Publications. MSLO’s leading competitor, The Meredith Corporation, is a publicly held media and marketing company that focus on topics such as: home, garden, cooking, crafting, holidays, parenting, children, health and fitness, and women. Meredith’s magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, is the largest home and garden magazine with 7.6 million in circulation, while Martha Stewart Living has 1.8 million in circulation (Bonnington, Campbell, Dahlman, Gray, Regan, & Tamayo 1). Meredith’s large fan base is likely due to their longevity as a business (110 years strong!) (Brown, Broderick, and Lee 17).
Martha’s Brand: Unlike her competitors, Martha’s iconic homemaking image has allowed her create a person-as-brand business strategy (Oden & Larsson 3). Users see her content as a reliable source of information, as she covers nearly all topics of homemaking and fine living. Her social media profile updates are personable, and in first-person perspective, giving her a friend element. Users feel like they can relate to her on a human-level. Her content is easily finable, accessible, and sharable, through her website, and profiles on nearly every social media channel. She engages her readers through how-to videos and blogs, community sharing pages, and various online applications (Handley & Chapman 26).
Social Media and Communications Staff: MSLO’s internet business segment continues to grow, especially in the past two years. Recent hires include, Thomas Mueller: Creative Director, Esther Chen: Corporate Communications Director, and Liz Kennedy: Social Media Manager (www.linkedin.com).
Social Media Strategy: MSLO’s internet staff manages Marthastewart.com a comprehensive website that provides readers creative content ranging from entertaining, decorating, gardening, and crafts. Users have access to the MSLO multimedia library that includes: 1,000 recipes, blogs, articles, video clips and project ideas. Along with their website, MSLO also makes itself readily available by providing profiles on the following social media sites:
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/company/martha-stewart-living-omnimedia
Subscriptions for Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food are available for the iPad. Popular utility apps include:
Martha’s Everyday Food
Martha Stewart Makes Cookies
Martha Stewart Cocktails
Whole Living Smoothies
Egg Dyeing 101
Social Media Recommendations: With over 2 million fans and followers, MSLO already has a very successful social media campaign that is easily findable, accessible, and sharable. The following suggestions are key elements for their social media governance model.
Training- MSLO employees should be educated on how to represent their organization on the web. Training should include responding to customer feedback.
Approval Processes- While employees should be encouraged to engage in social media, there should be a process for getting approval for an official account.
Monitoring- tools such as Radian 6, Hootsuite, and Sysomos should be used for acquiring and analyzing web statistics.
Crisis Management Plan- Given all the bad press received from Martha’s conviction, there should be a crisis management plan that handles all unforeseen incidents and bad press.
Frequent Updates- All content should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, preferably on a schedule that viewers can follow (Dand 7).
Conclusion: After Martha Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of agency proceedings, and making false statements to federal investigators, many predicted that MSLO would collapse, as her brand was closely tied to her image reputation. As a result, she voluntarily stepped down as CEO of MSLO. Despite the fact that she was no longer CEO of MSLO, Martha still carefully managed her brand while in prison. Upon her release, the MSLO stock rose to almost $35/share (www.money.cnn.com). Today, MSLO reaches about 66 million consumers with 8,500 products in over 38,000 retail locations (www.marthastewart.com). Her ability to bounce back and use innovative social media techniques is truly an inspiration to aspiring business women such as myself.
Bonnington, Alicia, Campbell, Jessica, Dahlman, Paul, Gray, Ashley, Regan, Sara, Tamayo, Rebecca. (2005). Brand Strategy Report: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. The Art Institute of Portland.
CNN Money. Stewart Convicted on All Charges. March 10, 2004. http://money.cnn.com/2004/03/05/news/companies/martha_verdict/
Dand, Mia. (2010). What is Social Media Governance and 5 Key Elements of a Successful Model. SocialMediaToday.com.
Handley, Ann, Chapman, C.C. (2011). Content Rules. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.#
Safok, Lon. The Social Media Bible. (2012). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.