During this session, Laughing Cow community leaders will talk about how the relationship with The Laughing Cow brand works within their own brand/persona and how they work together. They will also share their experiences working with brands to teach audience members how to support and engage in a community, whether Laughing Cow or other consumer brands.
Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D., The Laughing Cow®’s Nutrition Community Leader
Sarah Dussault, The Laughing Cow®’s Fitness Community Leader
Roni Noone, The Laughing Cow®’s Food Community Leader
Nicole D’Alonzo, The Laughing Cow® Community Manager
This session opened with an overview of the community manager roles at Laughing Cow and how the company selected them. The company looked for people who are important to their target demographic: those into healthy food, a healthy lifestyle and fitness. These growing digital influencers would interact with Laughing Cow contests and special projects, such as its Life Well Laughed program, which helps families.
After the introductory remarks, panel members responded to questions from the moderator, Nicole D’Alonzo.
Question: Describe your role with Laughing Cow
Dussault: Laughing Cow’s Fitness Community Leader — I bring the fitness component to our target demographic. I write and produce videos for the site, as well as my You Tube channel and sarahfit.com.
Bannan: Laughing Cow’s Nutrition Community Leader and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight
Noone: Laughing Cow’s Food Community Leader and creator of Fit Bloggin — Her role is as a food creative using their products in her own recipes.
Question about brand partnerships
Bannan: Has a nutrition/communication background. She says you work with a brand, I want to work with them. She said it’s best to present yourself to them via email in person or twitter. Tell them what you can uniquely bring to the table. If you like the brand, connect with them on FB and twitter.
Noone: Things you do can result in working with a brand. She is very transparent. She talks about the brands she uses at home in her own recipes. She reaches out and lets companies know she’s a fan of their products. She says take a leap of faith and be brand loyal before reachingout to a brand.
D’Alonzo: Saw Roni talk at another conference, got a feel for her personality before Roni even approached her.
Dussault: Find brands that work with your brand but only work with companies that you use and love, otherwise you will lose the support of your readers. If Your readers don’t feel your true passion they’ll see right through you.
Bannan: The Laughing Cow brand fits in with her personal brand. Her book fits in with Laughing Cow’s target demographic, which includes busy working women and moms.
Noone: She is proof as she is one of those working moms who enjoys Laughing Cow products.
Question: Structure and flow of assignments
Dussault: Laughing Cow is one of the most structured programs she’s been a part of. She gets her topics for the month and was part of the Life Well Laughed project. They filmed and she was able to volunteer with a local Girls on the Run team.
Noone: Every month she gets an email about her food assignments. Her favorite post is one that hasn’t been published yet, but will be very soon. It involves a burger. Be on the lookout!
Bannan: Laughing Cow has enough structure, which helps keep her assignments focused, but lets her use her own voice and experience. She enjoyed the Reshape Your Health contest because she was able to help someone learn how to live a healthier life by teaching them how to change their behavior.
Q: How is the Laughing Cow community leader approach different than others?
Didn’t start out trying to do this as a career. Was working with brands for about 3 yrs. Laughing Cow was one of the first brands to show respect. Laughing Cow is a year-long contract, which is a huge step for bloggers. The Laughing Cow experience is unlike any other, she feels like an equal with them and not just a workhorse.
Dussault: The biggest difference working with Laughing Cow is that it’s a long-term contract. Readers accept genuine feelings toward the product. They can feel how much you like something.
Noone: Brands would send stuff for her to try. If she liked it she’d write a good review but then she noticed a trend. The loyalty wasn’t there and she doesn’t buy stuff from the store. She recommends targeting products and companies you use day in and day out.
Q: When partnered with a brand that is held to certain regulations, what’s the strategy for brand immersion?
Bannan: There are things you CAN say and can’t say. Check with the company about what you can say and about guidelines such as FDA compliance.
Q: Disclosure and Transparency
Noone: Roni is a transparent blogger. Blogs are an extension of her life. She lets readers know she’s working with a certain company because she doesn’t want to alienate them or for them to think she’s selling out. She announces it in a blog post and links back to the post where she first announced that she is working with a brand.
D’Alonzo: She says everyone handles it in a different way, whatever way feels most comfortable.
Dussault: She copied from one of Roni’s post. When new flavors come out she will post about them even though it’s not part of her job.
Bannan: She came in as a nutrition communications expert. She re-posts it on Facebook and Twitter every month. Work with a company for 6 months or longer so your readers can feel that you are passionate about certain brands. If a company approaches you for a one-time gig, say you would like to build a relationship.
Question about competition and networking
Dussault: Work with brands that you already use. Blog consistently. Always stay positive. Don’t be negative. It’s important to have a personality but not good to say negative things about other people or brands. There’s plenty of room at the top. Don’t look at each other as being competition.
Bannan: Network with and help each other.
Noone: Stay upbeat but stay true to your voice. Don’t fake it. Don’t try to be something you’re not – there’s a match out there for most brands.
Dussault: Be true to your voice. You get opportunities with everyone you meet. Get more contacts through Twitter.
D’Alonzo: Stay true to your voice and be realistic. Look at the voice of the brand that you’re interested in. Look for the relationships that make the most sense.
Q. How to maintain the brand relationship
Noone: With Laughing Cow she has a minimum number of posts she has to do. each month. She reaches out to brands on Twitter. When she mentions a specific product in a blog post she will tweet them. It’s a way in and a start to the relationship. Let them know you’re talking about them. It happens organically.
D’Alonzo: Laughing Cow searched for people who were proactively engaged in the program and who were already talking to the brand online instead of cultivating a new brand advocate.
Q. What to do if you already work with a brand but you see others doing the same thing or having the same giveaway
Noone: Pitch them. Reach out to companies if they’re having a campaign you want to be part of. Say this is what I have to offer. Respond to pitches that directly address you. Explain what you can do for them and offer ideas.
D’Alonzo: Qualify the value of your assets – how many followers you have, let your stats speak for you.
Bannan: Create a list of your dream partnership and ways to work with great companies that you like, for 6 months or longer. Ex. Here’s 5 ways I want to work with you. What do you think?
How many calories in a light wedge? 35
What year was Mini Baby Bell first introduced in the US? 1979
Program running now to promote wellness: Life Well Laughed
3 new wedge flavors introduced last year: blue cheese, queso fresco, sundried tomato
Name of woman who won reshape your health contest: Robin
Laughing Cow’s favorite hash tag? #snackjoy
Name your favorite Mini Bell flavor
Share your favorite recipe made with Laughing Cow wedge: poached egg sandwich with the cheese on toast or bagel, egg whites with cheese
Name one of the blog posts by one of the community leaders sitting here
Reminder: *** Everyone has coupons in their swag bags***
How do you enter the life well laughed contest: UPC code
One of the new mini bell flavors coming out: white cheddar, sharp cheddar
Your favorite tip given out from the community leaders today: don’t see other people as competitors
This session was captured by Vicki of GetHealthyFromtheInside,Out!