Can corporate blogging be taken seriously?
Can big companies actually do social media right?
Whether tweeting or blogging, its very tough to find large companies publishing credible and genuine content on the web. It’s either a blatant form of self promotion, boring “educational” case studies (translation – more self promotion), or a completely diluted view of the world so as not to offend anyone… In a lot of ways its the political landscape of corporate America projecting itself onto the blogosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand to some degree the hesitancy of saying the wrong thing…
But not saying the wrong thing and trying to be everything to everyone are two entirely different things; a difference which bigco marketers needs to figure out.
This applies in both B2C and B2B environments, although I think a few consumer marketers have figured out that people buy genuine, they buy self expression (i.e. see @comcastcares). What’s funny is that you’d think B2B would have this figured out first.
More than consumer marketing, B2B marketing has a lot to do with relationships. People buy from people. Yes reputation, scalability, needs, quality, etc are factors…but above all in B2B, we buy from people.
So why is it that I have yet to find a corporate blog that has really figured this out? Legal backlashes aside, people seem to be afraid of offending folks… NEWSFLASH – People like controversy! Obviously we don’t want to be insulting, but I also want to buy from companies who know who they are and are prepared to defend that position. Make an argument for crying out loud! Convince me! In reality, I don’t think bigcos will ever figure this out – they’re so tightly controlled by the legal and regulatory environments – which to some degree is why small companies are so much more nimble and why the biggest asset bigcos have is their reputation.
And if that’s the case, then I say why bother blogging at all. Because a diluted, vanilla, self-promoting blog can only serve to harm that greatest asset.