Sunday, April 11, 2010

Condiments in a Web 2.0 world. Please pass the mustard!

Wordle: The National Mustard MuseumIn true extravaganza style, The National Mustard Museum had their Grand Opening on Friday April 9  through April 11, starting with "The longest Mustard Pass in History." Covering approximately 17 miles along country roads from  Iowa Dane county's Mt Horeb to Middleton.

This caught my attention. A quick search found no history of any condiment pass longer than 20 feet while this pass should be roughly 17 miles - supported by the cross country and track teams of Mt. Horeb and Middleton high schools.

The National Mustard Museum partners with bratwurst.

Levenson has taken his passion to great lengths when he created a museum with his vast collection of English and American mustards. He ultimately quit his "real" job to take on the curator role full time with Mrs. Mustard, Patti Levenson.

The history of mustard has a sordid past but can be found in early Roman reference and even by Pope John XXII . In that reference the Pope was "reportedly so enamored of mustard that he established a new Vatican position, Grand Moutardier du Pape, which means “mustard-maker to the pope.”

The only reference I could find to a historic pass was the longest football pass in the NFL. That was a 99-yard pass play which has only occurred 10 times in NFL history.


Mustard Lore and Legend

German lore advises a bride to sew mustard seeds into the hem of her wedding dress to assure her dominance of the household.

In Denmark and India, it's thought that spreading mustard seeds around the exterior of the home will keep out evil spirits. The Danes also had an interesting "cure" for a woman's frigidity which involved a potion made of mustard seeds mixed with ginger and spearmint. It was not indicated what exactly one did with the potion. I wonder.....

Moving to historic digs.

The museum has been very successful up to now in their location in Mt Horeb, but the move to Middleton should be a different but successful environment to grow its business.The building was the original "Friendly Building" and the contractor was able to reuse the original bricks to match the old Opera Building across the street.






How could this business really leverage social media - let me count the ways.

Working in the business to business space for over 25 years doesn't give one many opportunities to have fun like Barry Levenson does with mustard. The closest I came was during my 7 years as a sales engineer calling on Harley Davidson. Talk about an enthusiastic engineering and manufacturing force almost giddy with enthusiasm and pride for their product. This type of evangelism is hard to come by and in the social media space of today is the real social capital that success with this channel will be measured by.


The events planned for the weekend at the National Mustard Museum really play to the fun and quirky nature of curator Barry Levenson and mustard in all its forms. While they have made good use of traditional marketing efforts for print, TV and radio along with their website and e-commerce store, social media presents a great way to help them tell their story, sponsor contests, showcase video and pictures all while having fun. The National Mustard Museum has a lot of content to leverage into the social media spaces and with an e-commerce site as well as a retail store they need to drive all sorts of traffic.


Lets assume that the National Mustard Museum has invested the necessary time and resources to assess the market and their target audience for products they want, issues that could be solved and opportunities that the National Mustard Museum is uniquely qualified to solve.

5 Social Steps 
Here is a look at 5 social media tactics they could consider using to drive the results they are looking for and build a evangelist community.

1. Brand - The National Mustard Museum is a unique entity and a tourist attraction - likely no matter where they reside. They should claim their brand on every social media site they can - today! Check out www.Knowem.com

2. Blog - The Museum should have its own blog identifying new products, new recipes, crazy ideas, contests, etc. Mr. and Mrs. Mustard (Barry and Patti Levenson) are creative genius who could have a lot of fun (as if they need any more excuses) with a blog. Creating valued content for sharing gives back to the audience and community that buys their products.


3. Pictures - there are 407 images referring to "mustard museum" on Flickr.com but none are front and center referring back to the National Mustard Museum website. The National Mustard Museum should start their own Flickr profile and share with images with a creative commons license and requested linkback to their site. This would allow them to share easily information about the site. For example, On google their are 353000 images with the title "mustard museum" and non of the first several pages tie back to "Ol' Poupon University."

4. Video - although there are many videos on Youtube under "mustard museum", none are controlled by the mustard museum through a custom video channel. Various people have posted, media sources, vendors, but the Video channel for the museum is missing.

5. Facebook - Let's face it, if your consumers are on Facebook and you need to go where they are. Create a strong strategy here, share your blog, bring in your Youtube channel, collect your feed from Flickr, identify your special events, upcoming promotions, ask questions and engage the audience. consider taking the leap to incorporate your e-commerce site directly into Facebook as well as your website (check out Best Buy's Fan page as an example). Include the feature that lets your fans evaluate and rate different mustard.

6. Promote - Share your social places on the web, in print, on your cards, and emails



By the way, my favorite mustards are variations of honey mustard. Although the Tomato vodka Mustard got my attention at the store this week. According to Barry Levenson, the Mayor of Middleton made it illegal to eat ketchup within 300 feet of the Mustard Museum!

Here is my capture of the event on my YouTube Channel  - Wendy Soucie Consulting