Monday, August 07, 2006

Getting Beyond “Should I”

While many companies are thinking about whether they should enter the blogosphere, there are a minority of companies who are already light years ahead of them – and benefiting because of it. The "Should I" phase has long passed.

How do I know? Not only does our research reveal this, but also through the growing number of meetings we're having with clients and prospects who want to work with us to deepen their involvement in blogging. Moreover, a few leading-edge companies are already able to track benefits, including links and relationships that have been made that specifically came through their blogs, deals that have initiated and closed, and influential third-party endorsements that have been generated.

These companies realize that it is not just about audience targets, but about audience engagement.

In a speech at the New Communications Forum, Forrester analyst Charlene Li attributed $1 million of new revenue to her blog.

"A blog's ROI," she writes, "is built around building a closer relationship with your blog's readers, be it your most ardent customers or your employees. It's that investment in the relationship that turns intangible, unquantifiable blogs into hard metrics."

Software leader SAP is another firm that really gets it. They invited a number of the most influential bloggers to their SAPPHIRE Conference. Not only did the "blognoscenti" come, but they were flattered by the invitation and several praised SAP in their blogs. This represents an expansion of a community. And it is, as we all know, the way businesses are built.

Do you still need convincing?

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Amanda Chapel said...

Ken,

First off, your research wasn’t positive until you spun it that way (see http://www.strumpette.com/archives/107-Corporate-Execs-Thumbs-Down-on-Blogging.html). As I said then, it was nothing more than a proposal begging for real facts to support it. It was a shameful new business pitch.

With regard Charlene Li's quote, to "A blog's ROI is built around building a closer relationship with your blog's readers, be it your most ardent customers or your employees. It's that investment in the relationship that turns intangible, unquantifiable blogs into hard metrics."… what does that even mean?

But that said, the single most annoying aspect of all this corporate blog hooey is the glossing over and absolute denial of the risks (see http://www.strumpette.com/archives/156-When-a-Girl-Says-Yes,-But-Means-No.html).

Does corporate America still need convincing?! Silly question. Actually, your huckster stuff is having the opposite effect.

Sincerely,

- Amanda Chapel

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to use the trite..."at the end of the day," but, let's look at blogging.

1) From a corporate point of view:blogging by corporate employees can be devastating to the overall branding/marketing message, not to mention the possibilities of releasing secure corporate information.

Plus...we "agency people" have always preached that the brand/USP should always be well, formed and well thought out. Let's face it...the last thing bloggers are thinking about is their company's USP when they are blogging.

Let's just say that..."yes...blogging is good business." If company, which we know they don't, have proper blogging guidelines in place that will protect the overall interest of the company, then can we really call it blogging? All of a sudden, it turns into a screener-reviewed, corporate message....something I don't think the original fathers of blogging would appreciate.

So...say what you must, but if you are endorsing "corporate blogging," it's more corporate propaganda...not true blogging.

;(

Kevin Nichols
kn@starkpr.com

Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Amanda,

Considering how forthright you are in your own blog, I'm surprised at your reaction to my post. You ask (in your blog), "Why on earth would one risk stockholder value by playing in a minefield for some amorphous purpose?"

Well, I'm not talking about "amorphous purposes." I'm talking about connecting. Connecting with clients, employees, vendor, prospective employees, shareholders, colleagues, opinion leaders, etc., etc. That's the essence of our job in public relations.

Sure, there's a risk. There's a risk every time a PR person arranges an interview for an executive. But it's our job to vet those risks, minimize them and — when our constituencies have something negative to say — to learn from their comments.

Monday, August 14, 2006 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Thanks for your comments, Kevin. It's always great to hear from you!

You're right. Blogging is not without risk. And it's true that too few companies have policies in place. (Our firm's recent State of Corporate Blogging Survey revealed that nearly half of Fortune 1000 executives polled say their companies don't have corporate policies pertaining to blogging, although 77% believe that their organizations should have such policies in place.)

Blogging — and indeed the whole realm of consumer-generated media — has become a force to be reckoned with. In the long run, ignoring it just isn't an effective strategy for corporations. You have to have the policies in place that protect the company and guide its employees.

However, corporations don't blog; people blog. Our survey found that only 5% of senior execs at Fortune 1000 companies believe that corporate blogging is growing in credibility as a communications medium. This is a pretty substantial reality gap. It's important for us to help them understand that the best blogs that come out of corporations (i.e., the ones that are read and trusted) don't sound like corporate brochures. They sound like real people: authentic, open, honest, direct and sometimes shocking. If you don't have something to say, forget about blogging!

Monday, August 14, 2006 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Amanda Chapel said...

"Corporations don't blog; people blog." You need to repeat that ‘til it sinks in some. The logical extension of what you and others are advocating is corporate tourettes. I recommend you ask a good securities attorney about the implications of that are in light of Reg FD.

Ken,

You’re really out on a limb with this stuff. This is gonna go the same way Citizen Journalism went, i.e. nowhere.

Bottom line: the answer to a proliferation of piranha in the lake is NOT to advocate that your client jump in.

Think about it. I know you smell green there but it's just not real. And you know what? When it goes sour, people are going to Google your firm's recent “State of Corporate Blogging Survey” and you’re going to look silly. So much for the value of this blog. Now multiply that risk exposure by all your employees giving their various interpretations publicly of what even the head of the agency doesn’t understand. You know what? I wouldn’t hire ya.

Regards,

- Amanda

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Thanks for your comments.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 2:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has turned into a much heated debate. We all have opinions on this subject.

;)

I don't have the answer, but I admit that I am not pushing my clients to blog.

It's just not safe for us to design a common marketing message for our clients and hammer that message home...then have a client go off on his/her own rant about their industry...which could destroy all that we've built.

It's just like that new Wal-Mart employee they just hired to "smooth over" their racial-image. I just saw that he had a terrible quote in the Los Angeles Sentinal paper and Wal-Mart had to issue a statement to distance themselves from this wierd quote about the "small town Asians and Jews stealing from small town America."

Oh yeah...by the way, that Wal-Mart employee was fired.

The whole idea....don't let your clients put their feet in their mouths. ;)

Bad press or controversial opinion tends to travel farther and faster for my clients.

Kevin

Saturday, August 19, 2006 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

The Wal-Mart representative, Andrew Young, was a civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta. His stellar post is what gave him the credentials to represent Wal-Mart. That made his remarks all the more shameful.

Monday, August 21, 2006 2:39:00 PM  

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