Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pseudo blog called "not traditional"

Pseudo blog
called "not traditional"

For the blogosphere, this battle is still being waged: Fictional Character Blogs vs. Appropriate Spokesperson Blogs.

I feel a Fictional Character, complete with false adventures, spurious opinions, and imaginary dedication, is the wrong spokesperson for the vast majority of businesses.

The most powerful representative is the CEO, Founder, or President.

Blog readers wish to contact and interact with real people. Think of the negative reaction to automated voice mail "press 1 for this", "press 2 for that" = customer alienation.

A real user or inventor of a product has high credibility.

The fact that no customers have complained is not sufficient justification for a marketing ploy.

Most disgruntled customers don't bother to benefit the offending company with commentary. They simply abandon them and switch to a deserving competitor.

Proof that a strategy works is not investment in it by concerned parties, nor lack of customer complaint.

The issue, the fuss is about the core values of blogging, real passion and real authenticity of real humans.

Blogs enable two-way conversations with real people, working together for a common goal: user satisfaction and company profit.

To dismiss sincere bloggers who have legitimate and carefully considered opinions about Fictional Character blogs as "traditional bloggers" is ridiculous.

Take a strong, firm stand for a core value of blogging, and you are labeled "vicious", "hateful", "trashing", and worst of all, "traditional".

Friends, beware the anti-blog bloggers who seek to advance dysfunctional blog methodologies in the name of "creativity" or "innovation". Look closely to see if there is self-justification in the name of lucrative consulting deals.

To give a client exactly what they want, then anoint it as blogologically correct is a disservice to the client and to the blogosphere.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



SB said...

I understand where you're coming from, and because I come from a public relations rather than an advertising background, I share your belief in personal blogs from real people.

However, I do not set myself up as the arbiter or judge of others who wish to try something different. If you don't like the blog, don't go to it. That's how it works.

steven edward streight said...

Thanks for your input, SB.

I do set myself up as a judge of blogological manifestations, to guide those who want to blog effectively.

Thus, I provide blog consulting and I articulate principles based on marketing expertise, web usability studies, and customer psychology.

Not going to a blog is one action.

To warn others that a certain practice violates blog best practices and customer loyalty initiatives is another action, the one I choose.

If they can present a strong case of facts, statistics, proving that their Character Blogs do generate trackable results for the client, I will have to re-think my objections on those grouds.

But the fact that a blog author could be fake, not who you think it is, or is fictional, this has a detrimental effect on user expectations of credibility of the blogosphere as a whole.

There may be other ways of viewing this, and let each one be persuaded in his or her own mind, and may the best strategy prevail, so our clients may reap the benefits of blogs.

Kami Huyse, APR said...

I personally don't think that these "fictional" character blogs work. In fact, there is ample evidence that they don't. The blogesphere is litered with these failures.

We have been kicking around the idea of PR serving as ombudsman for customers in business blogs.

steven edward streight said...

Kami: I must say again that a Fictional Character CAN work, IF it's a branded character that is relevant to the product or company.

Barnie, Ronald McDonald, Pillsbury Doughboy (name?), Bart Simpson could MAYBE have a successful blog, but it would in most cases appeal to young people, children, teens. Nothing wrong with that concept.

But for a company to think they can just invent a character, and attribute falsehoods, phoney adventures, pretend passion to it is absurd.

Not all my marketing ideas have been golden. So this opinion of mine is not meant to mock, disparage, or be hateful to anyone involved in consulting clients to have an FC blog.

But I do believe that, in the vast majority of cases, Customers Want To Interact With Real Company Reps.

I will continue to provide this as one major proof: how we all hate those automated telemarketing recorded messages, and even worse, the alleged "customer service" centers of corporations, that are obviously, without being xenophobic, offshore outsourced or automated completely.

Completely automated service can also be appropriate and user friendly, but generally it's a bad idea.

CEOs with bloated compensation packages, then trying to save a few pennies by automating the most important aspect of any organization: customer service. Bah!