Parents today trust another parent or friend more than they do ads on TV or in magazines, which makes mommy bloggers powerful partners for marketers to spread awareness about their brands. And what better place for a brand to cultivate partnerships than at the Mom 2.0 Summit, a gathering of the top influencers, held this year April 25-26, in Austin. Wolverine Worldwide, the family of footwear brands that includes Sperry, Keds, Saucony, Merrell and Hush Puppies, activated at the summit for the first time with a multi-pronged strategy designed to highlight the product development and positioning of their kids’ lines.
A multi-room environment served as the anchor point for Wolverine’s sponsorship, a footprint that highlighted the attributes of each Wolverine brand. For instance, to introduce Saucony’s new light-up kids’ sneaker the brand activated a giant Lite-Brite wall for attendees to interact with (inducing some serious nostalgia, we bet). Saucony then took its 100-plus-year legacy to the streets with its Run for Good Foundation, aimed at keeping kids healthy and active, when it sponsored a run for attendees the second morning of the summit. The brand then made a donation to a local Austin running club to benefit the local running community.
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For Sperry, which launched this year the “Look Good, Do Good” sustainability campaign platform for preserving the world’s waterways, the brand encouraged attendees to limit their plastic water bottle use by gifting them a quality Sperry branded reusable water bottle to refill throughout the duration of the summit.
To engage outdoorsy moms, Merrell and the nonprofit, Hike it Baby, which inspires families with young children to connect with nature, offered sign-ups for free memberships on-site as well as an artistic shoe installation for social sharing in a trail-themed zone. The brand also hosted 40 influencers at an indoor climbing gym for a networking activity (in place of a hike, due to rainy weather). The partnership with Hike it Baby deepened during a main-stage general session moment at the summit, where the organization and Merrell shared the mission and the story of a courageous single mom who reclaimed her life through hiking and the Hike it Baby community.
“After that moment, there was this groundswell of parents coming to us and telling their own personal stories of transformation through hiking, which was incredibly powerful,” says Liz Bunnell, vp-marketing at Wolverine Worldwide. “Yes, we were there to drive brand awareness so having the Merrell brand in front of all of these parents helped us hit our goal, but then to develop this emotional connection with so many people at the event, to create longer-term relationships with them to tell this story to other parents out in the world, that to me was one of the major highlights of the whole conference.”
For Bunnell, the experience at the summit offered some other key takeaways on interacting with influencers and building experiences for them on-site. Are they there for Instagrammable content, or are they there for meaningful information about the brands? From Wolverine Worldwide’s standpoint, it was a little of both.
“We went in with great intentions of creating loads of Instagrammable moments for attendees and, absolutely, that is important to them, but that was not primarily what they were focused on, of course, because they’re there for self-care and for bettering their businesses. So a lot of the conversations we had were about their own personal brands because they, too, wanted to make sure partnerships they were developing were authentic to what their brands were all about,” Bunnell says. Agency: Inspira Marketing, Norwalk, CT.
Photo courtesy: Kids Group of Wolverine Worldwide