Monday, June 27, 2005

business world: brain dead about blogs

less than clueless: corporations, PR firms, ad agencies

Why is business brain dead about blogs?

Teenagers and avid hobbyists comprehend what corporations are still in the dark about.

This is crazy.

I don't mean to pick on any company in particular here.

It's a universal quagmire of misunderstanding and misapplication, with very few exceptions.

I'm starting to become more cynical than ever about businesses in general, and the PR and advertising firms that supposedly help them "communicate".

I think they resist blogging because they cannot sign off on the 9 Core Values of Blogging.

They, most or many corporations, not all, but the majority, cannot be candid, honest, friendly, attentive, sincere, kind, altruistic, humble, passionate, or helpful.

And they dread "negative comments". Cowardly attitude, huh? They only want to hear praise, not critique. Yet the executives are quick to harshly criticize the front line workers and staff. This ought not be.

One of the largest PR firms in the world is Burson-Marsteller. They are a good example of what I'm talking about, but again, I'm not singling them out due to them being the worst. They are not the worst, they are merely typical of the widespread problem.

Here's what Lisa Poulson of Burson-Marsteller had to say recently in "What Do Corporations Want?" of May 2005 in Guide Wire:


....During the panel, we talked a bit about why corporations are reticent to move into the blogosphere. In the interest of fostering mutual understanding, here are three things companies worry about:

--Liability – in our litigious business environment, any public utterance by any corporate representative is fair game for a combative lawyer. This is no small concern. Open-minded in-house lawyers and persistent corporate PR people are working it out one conference call at a time, but this struggle will take place at every corporation.

--Love – companies are filled with people, and no person likes to see the product they make, the policy they create or the opinions they share lambasted in public by a sharp-tongued blogger. If it’s the blogosphere vs. THE MAN, people at corporations know they’re battling a stereotype, and that’s daunting.

--Scaling – the blogosphere is about conversations. No corporation has the staff to conduct quality 1:1 conversations with everyone in the blogosphere who may want to communicate with them. They don’t know how much energy and commitment quality participation in the blogosphere will take; jumping in half-way may be worse than not jumping in at all . . .

Having said all of this, the corporate PR people I’ve spoken with understand there is much to gain from participating.

The hurdles are significant however, and corporations need help crossing them. They need clear, thorough analysis of what’s going on in the blogopshere that impacts them.

They need sound guidance on policies. They need to study examples of corporations that successfully blog. They need to study examples of corporations who have made big fat mistakes. And they need to have this information presented to them by people who understand what life is like inside their organizations. Then they’ll get there.

--Lisa Poulson
Managing Director, Technology Practice
Burson-Marsteller San Francisco

Posted by Lisa Poulson at May 25, 2005 08:49 AM


If you know anything at all about business blogs, you already know these excuses are pathetic and not entirely true.

I looked at the Burson-Marsteller blog, e-fluentials.

It averages about 5 posts per month, roughly.

That's about one post per week. This big PR firm can't think of anything to post about more frequently than once a week? What's going on here?

The latest post in e-fluentials is recommending BLOGthenticity as a good business blog to emulate.

But BLOGthenticity's last post was June 13, a solid two weeks ago.

You can't have an effective blog with such sporadic and infrequent posting, especially when the blog is a Group/Academic blog. Multiple contributors can't contribute more often than this? Pathetic.

Friends, the sad and shocking truth is that blogs are exposing the deficiencies of American corporations, and the PR firms and ad agencies cannot seem to figure out how to effectively help them.

The corporations just cannot get used to the ideas of:

* speaking in a genuine compassionate voice to consumers

* hearing harsh criticism or difficult questions from consumers.

After all, many companies outsource the Customer Service functions. The companies are so out of touch with customers, it's ridiculous.

But by operating a blog, they can remedy the situation. It may be painful and humbling at first, but I think they can learn new skills. Why not?

There are so many good business and marketing blogs that are explaining how to use a business blog, why aren't businesses paying attention?

The Red Couch aka Naked Conversations is just one among many blogs that explain EVERYTHING...yet the corporations sit there with a dumbfounded look on their faces.


Very very strange.

What's your analysis, opinion, or reply to this?

your feedback makes the blogosphere go round Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



carrie said...

oh, have you seen the movie In Good Company? it is about the old world meeting the new world and how is that gonna work? how will it change everything?

well, it's sort of about that, and also about a guy and a girl falling for eachother and a father/daughter relationsip and more...

steven edward streight said...

If anyone is really In [a] Good Company, I'd like to hear about it. My wife works for a good company, and I once worked for some good companies with CEOs I still respect.

I also once worked for the company that later became known as ChoicePoint, the idiot company that stupidly allowed fraudulent activity to occur, which jeopardized the sensitive financial information of millions of consumers.

And I know of CEOs and top management who have exploited employee savings plans, pensions, etc.

These fools will meet their Maker, both here and hereafter.