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Published: February 20, 2008 at 04:01 AM GMT
Last Updated: February 20, 2008 at 04:01 AM GMT
In the media business, change has been the reality for so long it is almost passé, Politics moves more slowly, however, and although it might have seemed obvious that candidates for President would focus on change as a core message, few anticipated such volatility in the political landscape and such dramatic embrace of the “change” candidate. Equally, it might seem obvious that a website focused on change would be an instant success, but the unique approach of First30Days.com might offer the presidential candidates insights on how to actually implement and inspire change. And it might also offer you the ability to effectively deal with and implement, in your own life, the changes that are most important and relevant to you. For marketers, First30days is also offering a totally new template for advertising supported content.
First30Days.com was launched last week by a team headed by CEO Ariane de Bonvoisin, who began working on the site in 2006 after she realized “change is the number one constant in life but there is no brand to help people with change.” In an exclusive interview, de Bonvoisin told JackMyers Media Business Report the specific inspiration came when she joined Time Warner as director of the company’s Digital Media Fund, her eighth job (the most recent prior position being VP business development for Sony Music). She had kept a journal during the transitions into all her prior jobs, and realized the patterns of her first 30 days were nearly identical from job change to job change. “It’s an interesting period of time that is challenging and stressful, with constant patterns of actions, emotions, and choices. I realized there was an opportunity to identify these patterns to support others."
“We are clearly touching a trend,” adds de Bonvoisin. Although people talk about change, the reality is people avoid, resist and don't think they will change – and fail as a result. We bring positive support to helping people through changes in their lives, from life events and life crises to going green, making investments in real estate, or even the First30Days of being president of the United States." With change being at the core of their candidacies, de Bonvoisin is inviting the leading candidates to offer insights into their perspectives on change. The questions she has posed to them include
First30Days is resource offering hundreds of programs to support members during their first 30 days of specific changes in their lives, mostly focused around life events and life crises. de Bonvoisin notes that the site offers unique marketing advantages. “Sponsors already have content, and we can develop customized life changes with brands as long as the content is validated and it’s clear it’s coming from our trusted partners.” As an example, she suggests “if Pfizer wanted to develop a program for managing the first 30 days of your child being diagnosed with childhood diabetes, we can turn the content around with custom editorial in six weeks. If Adidas wants to do the first 30 days of staying in school or pursuing a dream, we can develop custom editorial content and a program."
"We can develop the first 30 days of using Vista, the first 30 days of driving your new Lexus, of switching to a MAC, or establishing a new beauty regimen with a new skin care line.” de Bonvoisin explains “certain life changes are linked to certain ad categories. When people are going through change they are requesting resources and open to new products and services. There is a real bond and emotional connection between those going through change and marketers who want them as customers. When people are going through life transitions, they are spending more money and open to new companies and categories.”
After raising her first round of angel capital from investors who included then-Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, de Bonvoisin began tracking patterns of change for more than 400 life events, raised significant capital, and is expanding the First30days brand to include video content, radio, and a series of First30days books -- the first of which is being published in May by Harper Collins.
One week after launch, de Bonvoisin points to an unexpected complication. “People are signing up for five to ten life change programs, which is too much to manage at one time. It’s better to go through no more than three to four changes at one time,” a lesson that the successful Presidential candidate would be well served to recognize. de Bonvoisin adds, “whether it’s losing weight, improving a relationship, living spiritually, or changing jobs, managing multiple changes all at same time is not practical.” When users sign up at First30Days.com, they can select changes they want support for, and they are offered a free 30 day program to hand hold them through changes. “We have the dedicated attention of someone for 30 days,” says de Bonvoisin.
Change is harder in 2007 than 1967, de Bonvoisin advises, quoting the results of a study the company commissioned to compare to an identical study conducted 40 years ago. “Today we are overwhelmed by too much content and too many experts. We don't know where to turn. First30Days provides expertise and sorts through the available information to provide the most relevant and valuable. “The story for us,” says de Bonvoisin, “is that people need to know what to do, where to go; they need a plan.”
In the next 30 days, de Bonvoisin is ramping up operations and "transitioning from a business plan to being a business. People are letting us know what they want. Hundreds of users daily are telling us what changes are important to them and what support they want and need. They are asking for more video, so we will add more videos. The site is expanding to offer more than 500 change programs, giving inspiration to support, inform and assist users with change," which de Bonvoisin says is among the most important skills required in life.
First30Days is planning a Spanish-language version and is launching a Facebook widget that allows users to receive their daily guide at Facebook. Also in the planning stages are sections covering major events such as fires, a terrorist attack, a school shooting, and a hurricane, that will be made available when they happen. “Like CNN,” de Bonvoisin comments, “First30Days is a social utility brand that matters socially and emotionally for people.”
de Bonvoisin has degrees from the London School of Economics in international relations and a MBA from Stanford University in business administration. She spent time as a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group, representing the company in over a dozen countries. COO Joe Pierce was publisher of International Data Group (IDG) in Boston and founded Emazing.com, which he sold to Sony, where he worked as senior vice president before repurchasing the product. Ashley Rutledge, Vice President of Sales, has experience working at CNN, Atlas Solutions and Avenue A|Razorfish.
Ariane de Bonvoisin can be contacted at Ariane@first30days.com
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