Saturday, April 18, 2009

Presenting the "Webby Award Nominated"!

Dear Readers,

On September 12, 2007, I had a kick-off meeting with the Syrup team. Syrup is the agency I chose to develop and the branding, including the logo. It was a stunningly beautiful day in New York City, just on the cusp of fall, and I remember clearly the walk from the Canal Street exit on the 1 train to 12 Vestry Street in Tribeca that afternoon...

The decision to work with Syrup was an easy decision in some ways, difficult in others. It took exactly 2 months from the day I decided to be an auntrepreneur to this day, the kick-off meeting with the creative team. Looking back, perhaps two months is not a long time considering I had only thought of the idea weeks before. But those two months were full of decisions and indecisions. Working with an agency like Syrup meant a big investment. Were there more economical ways of achieving what I envisioned?

I looked...I spoke with a few smaller agencies. And I spoke with some freelancers who do great work. But none had all the skills I needed to develop It took me about a month to realize if I was going to do this, it had to be done right. There's much more to the development of a website than design. Or programming. There's the user-interface. There's architecture. There's functionality. There's usability. And it all has to embody a brand experience that is meaningful, unique and unforgettable.

When I finally came to the right decision to engage a full-on creative agency, there was only one agency I wanted to work with: Syrup.

I had a wonderful history with Syrup. When I worked at L'Oreal USA corporate, responsible for the company's internal and interactive communications, I agreed to meet with Syrup after a cold-call to my office. They showed me their work and I was immediately impressed. I hired them to redesign L' back in 2005. The new site was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Beauty Site. Because it was a corporate website, not a consumer website, it was especially exciting to be nominated in that category.

Syrup also works with GE, Hearst, Nike, Coty, and many fashion brands. I knew that if I wanted a destination for PANKs (Professional Aunts No Kids), that talked to them without talking down to them, I need to work with an agency that understood women.

I needed to work with Syrup.

So I called Rob Holzer, the CEO - and a friend - to ask him to work with me. Of course this was in the summer of 2007 when digital agencies were so busy, they could hardly keep up with the work they had. And that's exactly what Rob told me when he turned me down.

So I called again. Rob and Jakob, his business partner and Chief Creative Officer, were on their way to a summer retreat for the weekend. I was on the deck of a friend's house in San Francisco, pleading my case. I needed to work with Syrup.

And they finally agreed. They love me and they loved my idea. They would make it work. And boy did they make it work.

So on September 12th, 2007, as I walked across Canal Street, ready to kick-off the work for, champagne bottle in hand, I was confident I was making the right decision. The incredibly talented team at Syrup would help make Savvy Auntie the premier destination for aunts.

And it is.

In that meeting, I told Jakob and his team that I wanted to win a Webby Award for best Family site for It had to be that good.

And it is.

I found out earlier this week that and Syrup are nominated for a Webby Award for Best Family/Parenting Website. The other nominees include Disney's, and Just to be nominated among them is no small feat.

The nomination means that is among the best of the best. And there were tens of thousands of entries for the Webby Awards this year.

I'd like to say thank you to Rob, Jakob, Omino, Dana, Paul, Joerg and everyone on the team that made this happen. And since the nomination is also based on content, I'd like to thank all the Savvy Experts and guest Experts who have contributed. And thanks to all the Savvy Auntie members who have posted their own content to the site. And to Dave Finkelstein of Quarksoft which built the site.

And I'd like to thank you, Dear Readers, who have supported me all this time.

While the Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 650-person judging academy whose members include Internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf, R/GA's Chief Bob Greenberg, "Simpson's" creator Matt Groening, Arianna Huffington, and Harvey Weinstein, there's also a way that you can show your support, if you like.

The Webby Awards People's Voice awards let's fans vote for their favorite in each category. To vote, you must register and go to the Living section and choose Family/Parenting here: It's Auntie vs Goliath as I am up against major-league companies for votes. But that's never stopped us, has it?

It IS an honor to be nominated. Truly. And on May 5th, when the winners are announced, hopefully I'll find myself crossing Canal Street, with a bottle of champagne in my hands....

Auntie Melanie

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