This is a follow on from yesterday’s post What is a blog these days? I thought these examples of great corporate blogs would be interesting.
In every case the company in question is using a blog to be more effective in their every day business of communicating with customers. For me the notion of an enhanced communication tool (or maybe networking tool) captures the essence of what blogging is about these days. That is distinct from news2.0 sites which use comments to enhance their reporting.
First off is Dell’s Direct2Dell blog which the company launched to great effect last year as a response to the DellHell wave which swept the blogosphere. As part of a company wide effort to improve customer service and communication the Direct2Dell blog has been successful in significantly improving Dell’s reputation. (I even bought one earlier this year.)
Second is the General Motors FYI blog which they used to refute an attack against the company in the New York Times. They were struggling to get the traditional media to publish the response they wanted so they used their blog. To generate trust in their position they published the entire email thread of their conversation.
In both cases the medium was important – the company can write what it wants, but everyone can get to it and leave comments – the famous conversation. Compare this with the cost and futility of trying to reach everyone who might be interested previously via TV or print ads. Also critical was the way they used it – making the blog personal and balanced so it was evident to the world that the content was not just a repeat of hackneyed old company messages.
It was these same traits that made Scoble’s blog so successful when he was at Microsoft.
This contrasts with Walmart’s venture into the blogosphere. They covertly sponsored a blog written by a couple who were camping in store car parks, and when their involvement became public (and there are no secrets anymore…) they had a public relations mess to clean up.
These stories capture what I love about blogging – the immediacy, the way you can write what you want, the conversation via the comments and the critical importance of honesty/authenticity. Taken together these characteristics are driving a revolution in the style and frequency of communication. They also apply to micro-blogging, be it on Twitter or Facebook status updates or elsewhere. Powerful stuff.
The inspiration for this post came from the Digital Business supplement in the FT this morning. The amount of interesting stuff they publish these days is testament to how mainstream social media is becoming.