Natural Gardening Company Wiggles, Podcasts Its Way To Award

Nov 7th, 2008 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcasting

Wiggly Wigglers, a natural gardening mail-order company (which specializes in vermiculture: composting/gardening with earthworms) has won the 2008 Global Dell Small Business Excellence Award. Wiggly Wigglers were chosen to receive this prize for their innovative use of podcasting, wikis, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Along with the recognition and accolades, the Dell Small Business Excellence award carries with it a $50,000 technology prize.

Headquartered on an actual farm in rural Herefordshire, England, Wiggly Wigglers have grown a worldwide customer base they’ve estimated at 90,000 people. Using new and social media to attract new customers and build a sense of participation and community among their established customers, the company has reduced its advertising budget by 80 percent.

Wiggly Wigglers (@Wiggled on Twitter) advocates an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, and engages its followers and customers with a broad mix of new and social media. In addition to the Facebook presence, the company also blogs, and uses wiki input from the community to determine which products will be featured in their catalogue.

Most relevant to readers at Podcasting News, the company also has an entertaining weekly podcast, hosted from the “Wiggly Sofa,” about gardening, sustainable culture, and life on the farm. Shows are typically about half an hour long and topics range from the serious to the sublime (from biodiversity to hedgehogs🙂

Heather Gorringe, founder of Wiggly Wigglers,says, “Small businesses need to realize there are online conversations happening about their brand every day, and they are more likely to be positive and have impact if you’re part of them.”

She continues, “Social media can be time consuming but it is really valuable, has better longevity than traditional media, and it is a lot of fun. We are thrilled to receive this award and can’t wait to start blogging and podcasting with our customers all over the world to let them know.”

(And, just a note from the Editor, here: I’ve had the opportunity to hear Heather speak, with Anna Farmery of the Engaging Brand at a Podcasting Summit in London. For all her knowledge, and great business success and innovation, she is also just an incredibly nice person. We (Heather, Anna, and I) also spent a very entertaining “hen’s night out” at the Portable Media Expo. She is as engaging in real life as she is on the podcast and on speakers’ panels. You really ought to give her a listen.)

Running for five years in the United States, in partnership with the National Federation of Independent Business, and in its first year as an international program, the Dell award “solicits and recognizes small businesses for their innovative use of technology to improve their customers’ experience.” Chosen from a dozen national winners from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States, Wiggly Wigglers will receive $50,000 in Dell technology and services, a lifetime membership to the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), and engagement with Endeavor’s network of business leaders and high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging countries worldwide.

In conjunction with the Dell / ICSB award, research was released yesterday that underscored Wiggly Wigglers’ strategy for success, that “the No. 1 reason small businesses worldwide invest in technology is to better serve their customers.”  Additionally, two of the top 10 issues driving small business’ IT investments are “enabling online communications and building tools for community and conversations with customers.”

Heather encourages other small businesses to apply to compete for next year’s award.   If you own a business with fewer than 100 employees and are interested, visit 2009 applications open February 2, 2009.

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  1. Anna Farmery says:

    Elisabeth – I am so delighted that Heather has been recognised for her contribution to social media. Often when you go to events the speakers are from large companies and many people cannot identify with them. Heather is living proof that social media can help build a brand, whether large and small. I also think that she is living proof that being passionate about your subject rather than “just the technology” is key to success. She is an inspiration to me and many others – and you are right it was a great night in California, you know we should have got her autograph, will be worth millions soon!

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