Marketing|Demand Creation Blog: Thoughts on strategy, lead optimization, social media and the digital space

Monday, February 06, 2006

Corporate Blogging is an Imperative…But Get It Right

I tend to blog about marketing topics that are more quantitative. That’s my nature: I’m a fusion of creative-oriented graphic design & marketing with a business-driven return-on-investment imperative — what I like to call a “visual strategist.” Once in a while, though, it’s important to remember that not all marketing ROI is so numbers-oriented, at least not the kind of numbers finance people prefer think about. I’m talking about the value of a good company reputation.

Corporate Blogging is one of the newest-but-ever-growing-in-importance tools in the marketer’s arsenal for building a good company reputation (read: strong corporate brand). The ranks of company-supported blogs and company executives who blog officially continues to grow, whether you’re talking about the well-known Bob Lutz GM FastLane or Jonathan Schwartz Sun Microsystems blogs or the increasing number of relatively new CIO bloggers like Will Weider. In fact, according the Washington Post there are now well over 100 official corporate blogs.1 From top-executives to rank-and-file employee bloggers, the idea is beginning to take hold at progressive companies that being blogophilic has great opportunity to build loyalty (and thereby long-term revenue) through honest give-and-take with customers.

There is also the very real potential to wreck your company/product reputation royally if you do a bad job of corporate blogging. A good reputation and strong corporate brand are the direct result of a maniacal focus on customer satisfaction. Blogs by nature are designed to enable the kind of 1-to-1 customer communication that builds that satisfaction. But if care is not taken to manage the blogging process through guidelines/policies as well as a commitment to honesty and transparency, a corporate blogging effort will not only be seen as disingenuous marketing blather disguised as “communication” but can be used by competitors or others with an axe to grind as a means to destroy a brand’s credibility.

Only one of the latest examples is the Cialis blog fiasco recently discussed on John Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog post “Cialis Blog - Shame on Lilly ICOS”. Regardless of whether the Cialis blog was officially sanctioned or just another example of “brand hijaking” by a blogger unconnected with Lily ICOS, it’s a good example of what you don’t want a blog to do to your company reputation, particularly at a time when Number 2 Cialis is working hard to chip away at Viagra’s dominant 54% share of the ED market in new prescriptions and the pharmaceutical industry in general is suffering from poor reputation with consumers and physicians.2

To sum up, corporate blogging can be a great tool to add to the marketing arsenal for reaching, speaking frankly with and retaining customers…but you better make sure you get it right the first time.

1 The Washington Post 6/5/2005
2 Cialis 30% share of NRx written by Urologists to Viagra 54%. Source: IMS NPA Plus™, April 2004. IMS data represent aggregated pharmacy sales, reflecting what is filled at the pharmacy including new prescriptions for continuing users and prescriptions called in by phone
Joseph Mann Monday, February 06, 2006


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