Friday, June 10, 2005

The Corporate Blog Heats Up!

I've mentioned in this blog on several occassions that I'm an admirer of GM and its Fastlane Blog. CNN reports that GM is just one of about 100 companies that now have their own blogs. Watch out, though, hundreds more are on the way. Why would a corporation decide to blog?

The Internet journal format, they find, lets businesses expand their reach, generate product buzz and encourage consumer loyalty while bypassing traditional media.

"When we feel that we need to get a direct response out there, we've certainly got this bully pulpit to some extent," said Michael Wiley, GM's director of new media. "It's a place where we can talk directly to people unfiltered." ...

... Done well, corporate blogs can create good word-of-mouth among consumers who aren't reading business pages or thumbing through trade magazines.

There are dangers, though.

But bad blogging can easily backfire. Readers will pick up insincerity instantly.

"Don't go toward fake blogs. Don't launch character blogs. Use a blog for what it's for, transparency," said Steve Rubel, vice president of client services at CooperKatz & Co., a New York PR firm.

Rubel follows blog news on his blog, Micro Persuasion, and runs his company's unit of the same name, advising clients on blogging and on podcasting, the suddenly fashionable creation of downloadable person-to-person broadcasts.

He and other PR professionals can rattle off blogs gone wrong -- usually "fake blogs" that stir up the ire of bloggers by hiding the fact that they are really ad campaigns, such as one McDonald's posted in advance of a Super Bowl campaign about a Lincoln-shaped french fry.

Blogs that smack of press releases won't do the job, Rubel said. He tells clients to see what's out there about their company or industry, then decide whether they want to engage bloggers or even start their own blogs.

The explosive growth of corporate blogs is just another example of competition in action in our economy. When one firm finds success at doing something new, others follow. Customers benefit from the competition. The next time, you're in the market for a new car, check out the GM Fastlane blog and ask yourself if GM is a company you'd like to do business with. Remember, if you do become a customer of GM and you're not satisfied, you can always create your own anti-GM blog. The GM Breakdown Blog, anyone?



At 2:15 PM, Blogger Jerald Meadows said...

Yes, blogging is becoming a new tool for the corpreations. But is it being us to market the company or just give the readers a false consumption of the company.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger eva said...

New to blogging, love it.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Lena Nevel said...

Interesting, Mr. Ayers. Reading your posting reminded me of the book by Hedrick Smith called The Russians. That book intrigued me mostly on the basis that it was so accurate and so well written. The reason I know it was accurate is because I am myself Russian. However, back to the point. You talking about the "Fake" blogs reminded me of the author talking about people recognizing the propaganda in the Russian news papers during the Soviet rule. I guess no matter in what situation, people will always have the instincts to figure out when someone is trying to pass on the wrong information.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Brian Turner (Coolwhip) said...

I think it is a great way for the corporate world to express their views without so many retrants. This is a new oppertunity for them to reach their consumers at a much lower cost and in the consumers own enviorment. Maybe giving the consumer a false hope of security reading from their own home or cafe, but they can make it a positive effect without any negative surroundings while the consumer is at their site.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Tom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Tom said...

As I read your blog I see that GM has taken a new approach to sales. I am all for corporate america using blogging to sale goods. It can get rid of that annouying salesman and pass on the savings to us.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Raquel.S said...

I think it's great for corporate America to start using blogging as a new means to communicate with their customers.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Vince said...

I would feel blogging would help corporate America due to it's necessity to be up to date with issues involving corporations and allowing people within a corporation to comment on those issues to give a concensus of everyones ideas.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger CivilTreeHugger said...

I'm still a fan of good 'ole customer service. Being treated right to my face. Sometimes I feel like the internet is one big con artist... like when you write an email to someone and it comes out totally wrong because they didn't understand your true message since you weren't there to utilize expressions etc.

Blogging removes a vital part of behavioral traits when discussing a topic and you therefore can't see the entire picture that the blogger is trying to paint.

At 3:07 AM, Blogger Ronald M. Ayers said...

The main thing with the GM blog is the company's leadership is coming through loud and clear. They are committed to improving themselves and their vehicles. In a few years, every university president will be blogging too.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

I think corporations are on the right track when it comes to blogging. The many who are blogging have just found another easy way to get honest direct responses on the "side lines" you could say.


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