Blogger Spotlight Series: Cindy, Akron Ohio Moms

Akron Ohio Moms

“Do your best, and give yourself a break!”

Good advice can be hard to come by, but Cindy never disappoints, and that’s just one of the reasons we love her.

Read more about Cindy of Akron Ohio Moms, the blogger we’ve put in the spotlight this month – including what she considers the #1 blogging trend in 2015, her dream dinner party guest, favorite topic to blog about and more.

Give Cindy a shout at @akronohiomoms!

Akron Ohio Moms


Want to see more? Check out some of the most recent blogger spotlights, and be sure to stop back in November and December to see who will be featured as we round out the spotlight series for 2015.

To learn more about how the spotlight series was created and the selection process, visit our first post of the series for background.

Join Us in Sharing the UN’s New Global Goals!


On Friday, world leaders committed to tackling 17 Global Goals to achieve three extraordinary things over the next 15 years – end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change.  Imagine how different our world will be – and our kids’ world will be – after 15 years of global effort on these goals.

We’ve been on the communications team for this initiative and are very excited that the Goals have launched!

This week our goal is to let everyone know about the new Global Goals – please help if you can.

For a quick overview, check out this video with Jennifer Lopez, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Daniel Craig, Chris Martin, Stephen Hawking, Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon, Pharrell Williams and many, many others telling the world about the Global Goals:

To get involved and get the word out, please take some simple actions:

– Share a goal you are passionate about to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels. Include the hashtags #GlobalGoals #TellEveryone.

– Post a photo on your social channels with the hashtags #GlobalGoals #TellEveryone.

– Take this fun quiz to see which Global Goals resonate for you; share the results with your family and friends online and offline.

– Use this beautiful parent toolkit to take easy, actionable steps with your kids.

– Post to your blog about the Global Goals using the resources we’ve shared.

Here’s some text you can use:

Help our kids become the generation that changed the world: ending poverty, reversing climate change, and promising girls get educated. Talk to your kids about the #GlobalGoals with this fun guide: #TellEveryone

Let’s #TellEveryone about the #GlobalGoals! Thanks!

The Motherhood team

p.s. If you post to your blog about the #GlobalGoals, please send a tweet to @theMotherhood, and we’ll spread the word about your post!

p.s.s. We love this Global Goals video too:

The Motherhood is one of Pittsburgh’s Coolest Offices

Pittsburgh's coolest offices

We’re excited to share that our headquarters has been named one of Pittsburgh’s Coolest Offices! Throughout the month of September, the Pittsburgh Business Times is showcasing the most interesting and inspiring office spaces in the Pittsburgh region.

Our new headquarters is located in Sharpsburg’s old Fort Pitt Brewing Co. building. In the early 1900s, this brewery was the leader in the local beer market. The motto, “Fort Pitt, That’s It!” is still displayed on the building’s exterior, as well as in the original terrazzo floor in the front lobby.

The freshly painted red, blue and grey walls of the renovated space match our company’s fun, bright and creative personality. Each team member’s office showcases a unique piece of art that was painted freehand by Stretch Carter, art director.

We love working in a space with such a rich history and fun quirks in the nooks and crannies of this very unique building.

Pittsburgh's coolest officesPittsburgh's coolest officesPittsburgh's coolest officesPittsburgh's coolest officesPittsburgh's coolest officesPittsburgh's coolest offices









2015 is an incredible year for The Motherhood! In addition to the designation of one of Pittsburgh’s Coolest Offices, The Pittsburgh Business Times also recently named one of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing companies! The Motherhood is the second-fastest-growing marketing company, ranked #41 overall and one of just two companies in the top 50 with 10 or fewer employees.

Pittsbugh's coolest offices


Social Media Updates: Social Buying, Business Pages and Dislike Button

Social Media Updates

With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, there have been several social media updates focused on social buying and businesses. Coincidence? We think not!

Recently, Twitter opened up buyable tweets to everyone, thanks to a partnership with Stripe. Now anyone can sell products via tweets powered by Stripe’s new API, Relay, which enables instant purchases and a streamlined payment process in third-party mobile apps (like Twitter). Here’s how in-tweet purchases work. If you want to tweet buy buttons, you’ll need to follow these steps!

Social Media Updates

Image Source: Mashable

Twitter is not the only one following in the footsteps of Pinterest; other social media giants are also getting in on the social shopping action.

Facebook is giving businesses a simple digital storefront, optimized for mobile devices, through a partnership with Shopify. Merchants will be able to integrate a shop section on their Facebook page where users can browse and purchase directly within the mobile app, and can even get notified when their favorite stores add new products. The Buy Button can show up in Facebook page posts and promoted post ads run by Shopify merchants, as well.

Social Media Updates

Image Source: Tech Crunch

This move is in line with Facebook’s push for the platform to become the go-to mobile solution for businesses. A variety of updates will make business pages more like websites. Social media updates include customizable sections, prominent call-to-action buttons and improved messaging features for better customer service. We’ve noticed company Facebook pages rank in Google search almost as high as company websites, which begs the question: will Facebook pages become the go-to destination for company searches?

Social Media Updates

Image Source: Marketing Land

There has also been a ton of buzz around Facebook’s plans to launch a “dislike button.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized the complication of integrating this option and his hopes that it will become a feature to show empathy, rather than creating negativity voting up or down on a post. So, where do you stand: do you like the “dislike” button?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Consumers want experiences, not things

consumers want experiences

I (Nicole) recently painted a ceramic bowl at a paint-your-own-pottery studio. I’m no artist, but I enjoy challenging my creativity, and it was a fun experience with my two sisters. The floral design is definitely not perfect, but I still love it. The ceramic bowl sits in the middle of my kitchen table filled with fruit for both a cute and practical centerpiece. I have other bowls that I could use and was even gifted with a “banana hanger,” but continue to use my own hand-painted bowl.

I have fallen for what is known as the “IKEA Effect.” This phenomenon – rooted in the idea that consumers want experiences, not things – is when people place higher value on items that they’ve created or partially helped create. Perhaps you’ve felt this way after building a piece of furniture, finishing a blog post you spent hours writing or painting a room in your home. You appreciate that end product more because you contributed to its creation.

Michael Norton at Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely at Duke University have discovered that consumers will appreciate a product that they’ve built (or partially built) more than the very same product that was built by someone else. By building their own products, consumers feel proud and competent.

Research shows that all age groups (not just millennials) are happier when they buy experiences rather than items. This might seem a little counterintuitive at first, but the reality is that material things we purchase easily become part of the new normal of our lives. Suddenly there’s a bigger flat-screen TV, a faster version of the iPhone, a trendier wardrobe available – and we want it. Experiences, on the other hand, become a part of our memories, identities and connections to other people.

So what can brands do with this the idea that consumers want experiences? Ask yourself how you can make your product or service more of an experience for your consumers. As Dan Ariely says, “Labor is not just a meaningful experience – it’s also a marketable one.”

Here a few examples of brands we’ve noticed are on top of this trend:

consumers want experiences

Photo credit: HelloFresh

  • We recently had the privilege of working with HelloFresh, a meal subscription service which provides subscribers the ingredients to make dinners that they can make on their own at home. Each meal box contains a recipe card and all of the necessary ingredients to make a dinner, eliminating the need for a trip (or several) to the store. Consumers still feel like they are cooking – and delicious, quality meals at that – but without the work of meal planning and grocery shopping. HelloFresh is not just selling a service, but an experience. Customers can enjoy cooking and trying new meals with ingredients they may not have otherwise tried.
  • Last year, Coca-Cola saw a rise in sales thanks to their personalized bottle campaign. The “Share a Coke” campaign featured names on cans and bottles, which gave Coke drinkers an opportunity to interact with friends. People took pictures with their personalized bottles, gave them as gifts, or even made them into baby announcements. A campaign brand executive shared, “We gave consumers an opportunity to express themselves through a bottle of Coke, and to share the experience with someone else.”
  • Chipotle is another great example of a company that creates experiences for their customers. The personalized experience is unlike any other fast food chain: customers can customize their meals with more than 65,000 combinations from the Chipotle menu!

Fraser Larock said it best with, “Products are 25% of what you sell. The rest is an intangible feeling.”

Do you think this trend will continue to rise? Tell us in the comments!

Digital Reputation and Leadership with Erik Qualman

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Yesterday morning, The Motherhood attended an event on Digital Reputation, held by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, featuring Erik Qualman, who is often called the “Digital Dale Carnegie,” and is the author of Socialnomics, Digital Leader, and the recent Pulitzer Prize nominated What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube. The event was well attended by a variety of Pittsburgh business leaders and professionals eager to absorb new social media knowledge to help grow and maintain their company’s digital footprint! 

Erik Qualman Speaking at digital reputation event

Qualman stressed how social media can positively transform the way you do business – its not just a fad. If someone Googled your name, product or business what would you want to come up? Whether you do social or not, people will post about your company and industry, and you should be listening and interacting.

Here are a few of our key takeaways from the event:

  • Over invest in trends, people and relationships – not tools.
  • Word of mouth is extremely scalable thanks to social media, but be patient.
  • Fail fast, fail forward, fail better. Be FLAWsome – show you make mistakes but care enough to fix them.We all will make digital mistakes but it is how we handle them that defines us.
  • Always ask: What and why are customers buying from you? A trend will appear which can be capitalized on and can take your business to the next level.

Tips for better digital leadership:

  1. Keep it simple. Stop multitasking and hyper focus. Life in the digital age is complex, but those who can simplify it come out ahead.
  2. Stay true to what you stand for, what differentiates you, and why it would be a loss if you disappeared from society. Its important to have one digital identity.
  3. Focus on output not throughput. You can spend hours in the back and forth of emails, texts, etc. and accomplish nothing.
  4. Write a digital compass. Be flexible in your path, but firm in your destination.
  5. Surround yourself with the right people both online and off.

Are you creating a digital footprint to be proud of?

This post first appeared on the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence blog.

Tips for a Successful Brand Event: The Laughing Cow

tips for a successful brand event

The Motherhood recently attended a beautifully executed local influencer event in Seattle, hosted by The Laughing Cow. (Their spreadable wedges of cheese have been a staple in our Pittsburgh HQ’s communal snack stockpile for years.)

Based on what we saw, we’ve compiled a few tips for a successful brand event:

Provide added value. During the event, attendees had the opportunity to partake in several brief workshops appealing to a variety of interests. While they all related to the “Reinvent Snacking” event theme, each provided an engaging twist to offer participants useful and interesting takeaways going beyond snacktime.

For example, the expert host of one workshop provided food photography tips and gave participants a chance to get hands-on, providing colorful patterned napkins, plates, The Laughing Cow cheese wedges and other accessories to mix and match as they took photos (and, incidentally, shared them on Instagram).

tips for a successful brand event

In another workshop, to share a taste and convenience message, one local chef demonstrated unique ways of combining sweet and savory flavors with cheese and crackers using leftovers you might find in your refrigerator. Then he gave participants the opportunity to create and enjoy their own pairings.

Give social cues. At a brand event, strategic reminders about the event hashtag and company social handles are key to interacting with influencers and bringing your messaging to the virtual masses. The Laughing Cow had its bases covered with a live feed of #ReinventSnacking social posts projected on the event wall and table signs reminding attendees to tag @TheLaughingCow on Twitter or @TheLaughingCowUSA on Instagram.

tips for a successful brand event

Find an appropriate event space. For events, as with real estate, location is key. Before deciding on a location, you should think about your goals – for example, is your event open to the public, or do you have a select group of invitation-only guests? What kind of atmosphere do you hope to cultivate to help highlight the brand’s “personality” – festive, high-end, playful? The Laughing Cow hosted its event at the Fremont Foundry, a multi-level, industrial chic space in a hip neighborhood that reinforced the brand as a sophisticated snack choice.

tips for a successful brand event

Give guests a way to take your brand with them. Before leaving, event-goers received The Laughing Cow-branded tote bags filled with materials to help them keep the event experience and tasty snacks top of mind even after returning home.

The Motherhood received an invitation to The Laughing Cow event, but these tips for a successful brand event are not sponsored. All opinions are our own. 

Blogust 2015 Results in 60,000 Vaccine Donations!

Monday marked the end of the fourth annual Blogust, a month-long blog relay that brought together more than 50 of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions to share inspirational quotes for their children on their blogs and social platforms. Each like, comment or share of their posts resulted in the donation of a vaccine to children around the world.

For the fourth year in a row, The Motherhood partnered with the UN Foundation and Shot@Life to lead the initiative. After surpassing our original goal of 50,000 vaccine donations three weeks into the program, sponsor Project Perpetual agreed to increase the goal to 60,000.

Today we can share that the final tally of likes, comments and shares brought us to 61,862! Thanks to all the amazing hard work of this year’s Blogust team, Project Perpetual will be donating 60,000 vaccines to children globally.

In case you missed it, the theme for this year was inspiring quotes. Each day, two or three bloggers posted a quote that inspired them and asked their readers to like, comment and share. The Motherhood has gathered a few of our favorites here:







Looking for more inspirational quotes from Blogust? You can find them all on our Pinterest board! Thank you to each and every member of the incredible Blogust 2015 team. You gave your heart, mind and brilliant voices to Blogust, and made it the huge success it was:

Shannon Carroll, Whiskey in my Sippy Cup
Erika Nicole Kendall, Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss
Diane Glasgow
Jeannette Kaplun, Hispana Global
Jyl Johnson Pattee, Mom It Forward
Polly Palumbo, Momma Data
Tracey Clark
Asha Dornfest, Parent Hacks
Guy Kawasaki
Allison Czarnecki, Petit Elefant
Tiany Davis, Social Savvy Mom
Sili Recio, My Mamihood
Gina L Carroll
Liz Gumbinner, Cook Mom Picks
Fred Goodall, Mocha Dad
Anne Geddes
Elena Sonnino
Meagan Francis
Jessica Shyba, Momma’s Gone City
Heather Spohr, The Spohrs are Multiplying
Kathy Cano-Murillo, Crafty Chica
Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Squidalicious
Stacey Ferguson, Justice Fergie
Dresden Shumaker, Creating Motherhood
Leticia Barr, Tech Savvy Mama
Lorraine Robertson
Denene Millner, My Brown Baby
Holly Pavlika, Momentum Nation
Amy Lupold Bair, Resourceful Mommy
Maggie Mason, Mighty Girl
Lorraine Ladish, Viva Fifty
Sheila Dowd
Jim Higley, Bobblehead Dad
Caryn Payzant, The Midlife Guru
Felisa Hilbert, No Parents Left Behind
Jo Frost
C.C. Chapman
Rachel Matthews, A Southern Fairytale
Cecily Kellogg
Nicole Melancon, Third Eye Mom
Tiffany Merritt, Stuff Parents Need
Pam Margolis
Elizabeth Atalay, Documama
Julie Marsh
Kristen Howerton, Rage Against the Minivan
Ana Flores, Spanglish Baby
Paula Kiger, Big Green Pen
Lucrecer Braxton, Lucrecer
Nicole Morgan, Sisters From Another Mister
Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress
Amy Graff
Darryle Pollack

Thank you again to the amazing team! Until next year!

Blogger Spotlight Series: Monica, Marino Bambinos

Akron Ohio Moms

How do you keep the kids organized as you head back to school? What are your favorite activities during the fall Season?

Monica of Marino Bambinos shared some of her best back-to-school tips for getting back into a routine, her favorite things about the autumn season and more in this month’s Blogger Spotlight.

Read on to see what Monica had to say, and give her a shout at @MarinoBambinos!

Monica, Marino Bambinos


Check out some of the most recent blogger spotlights here, and stop back in October to see who is featured next!

Ten Years Ago, Amid Tragedy, the Power of Moms Online

Ten years ago this weekend, we all held our breath as a gargantuan hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina was 400 miles across and carried winds of 140 mph.


On August 29, we woke up to horrifying scenes of disaster – 80% of New Orleans under water, people stranded on their roofs, 20,000 people packed into the Superdome that itself flooded and was without sanitation, food or clean water.


Photo by AFP

The day after the hurricane struck, this famous photo of President George W. Bush flying over the wreckage became emblematic of the aloof non-response of his administration and many government agencies.












We were all screaming at our televisions that more wasn’t being done.

But this was 2005, the year we all realized the Internet had the power to connect us one to one, no matter how far away we lived from each other. Cooper and I posted this to our blog:

Families who have lost everything are going to need so very much to get their lives going again.

Here at Been There, we want to establish a direct connection between those with things to donate and the people who need them. To do that, we are setting up a clearinghouse for anyone who has toys, clothes or other supplies to send directly to families.

Here’s how it works. If you have something to offer, respond to this post with what you have (and please be specific, for example if you have toys, say for what age group, how many, what sort of condition they’re in). Families in need are invited to respond to your post directly.

And if you’re here because you have a specific need, and you don’t see what you’re looking for, please use the comment section to tell us a little about your story and your needs.

And with that the Been There Clearinghouse was born. People flooded to our website to give. Within days, our blog couldn’t handle the traffic and programmers in Mexico, London and San Francisco jumped in to rebuild our site on WordPress.

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You stunned us with your imaginative generosity. You gave used cars, airline miles, retooled Mac computers (nearly 800 of them!), homemade quilts, baby clothes, school supplies, even beauty parlor chairs to help rebuild a lost salon. Schoolchildren, church groups, neighborhood associations and alumnae groups came together to help people and families.

And you came to tell your stories.

Toni, who was 21 years old with three boys, said she knew she’d get through the dark days because she saw her grandmother rebuild after Camille.  Toni wrote:

Many believe the government should be doing more for them. Me, I am just thankful to have the air mattress I sleep on and my family driving me crazy. I say I have seen the best and worst of humanity. I have seen riots over food and money, and I have seen complete strangers open their homes to give those who have no place to go a roof over their head. I have faith in my city and state, and I am with my government in saying that we will rebuild, not just buildings, but lives as well. It will of course take time and plenty of patience. For those of us that call south Mississippi home, it is worth it. Like a the phoenix from the fire my town will return as beautiful as was before Katrina, and I pray that the hardship of the last month, will be a lesson for the future.

Maddie wrote about how hard it was to get FEMA aid:

Try lugging an infant 2 miles to the nearest place that’s giving out goods. At that point all you have energy and room for is what food you can carry or fit in a stroller. What would be hugely helpful are shopping carts, wagons, wheel barrels, etc. Things that folks can fit things in if they don’t have transport. We have one bridge open in the whole Coast area, theres one way in and one way out. That’s it. The Red Cross and FEMA seems to love to put their help centers on the other side of the Biloxi Bay in Ocean Springs … the only way to get there is the highway or boat since that bridge is out. We aren’t allowed in the water and most of us don’t have cars to drive over there and we aren’t allowed to walk on the highways…how do you get help? You can imagine the frustration. 

We heard that many of you had been through tough times of your own and people had come through for you then, and you wanted to do the same for others.

My house burnt down when I was a jr. in high school and people helped us, so I want to help someone else.

Last year, I delivered my youngest son prematurely in the middle of Hurricane Frances here in South Florida. I want to help.

We are a small town family in Six Lakes Michigan, and would love to help in any way that we can. We have 7 children and know first hand how hard life can be. Thank you for your time. Hope to help someone in need.

All of you who came to the Been There Clearinghouse ten years ago helped to bring to life a new form of giving – connected giving – where you found each other, one-to-one, so that whatever was there to be given went to a person or family who needed exactly that, often in a wrapped package with their names on it, and a thoughtful, heartfelt note inside.

The response by all of you, across the country and around the globe, woke us up to the power of the web, in particular the power of moms online. You inspired us to create The Motherhood in 2006. It was your heart, story telling, and generosity of spirit that catalyzed us. We created The Motherhood because we wanted to build on your power of connection, conversation, caring and resourcefulness.

Nearly 2,000 people died and more than a million people were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and many people along the Gulf Coast are still recovering.  This weekend we are thinking of all of you who lost loved ones, who lost your homes, your neighborhoods, your businesses, and your communities ten years ago.  We hope with all our heart that you’re doing okay today, and the last ten years have been good to you.

And we’re thinking about the tremendous outpouring of love, concern and giving that happened across the country in response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Thank you for giving of yourselves, for caring so much, and for inspiring us to create The Motherhood.

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