Today we begin a new feature here that we plan to run weekly, although frequency will likely increase as business blog content increases. As you might know, many businesses — and specifically, many of our members — have started blogs. Some have been hugely successful while others are still in the early stages.
Our own Michael Zak is busy checking out these blogs and will do a weekly roundup of what’s going on around the various manufacturers’ blogs out there. His first installment is below.
Blogs have become a serious, integral part of the business world. More than a hundred corporations already have blogs, and many more plan to enter the corporate blogosphere in 2007.
The Securities and Exchange Commission gave its seal of approval a few weeks ago when its chairman, Christopher Cox, posted a comment on the Sun Microsystems blog. Though not yet green-lighting use of the Internet to disseminate material information, Mr. Cox signaled that the SEC is favorably inclined, writing: “The Commission encourages the use of websites as a source of information to the market and investors.”
Corporations are discovering blogs to be a low-cost and effective means of promoting their communications and marketing goals. A Harvard Business School newsletter summarized things nicely: “It’s time to think of the blog as your friend. Skillful blogging can boost your company’s credibility and help it connect with customers.”
As could be expected for the Internet, first to blog in corporate America were technology companies. This greeting — “Welcome to Blogs.sun.com! This space is accessible to any Sun employee to write about anything.” — sets the tone for the hundreds of bloggers at Sun Microsystems. Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO, is a corporate blogging pioneer. In his November 13th post, he touts the advantages of open source software. Some 24, 000 IBM employees blog on the company’s internal platform, in addition to the dozens of bloggers on the corporate website. While most technology blogs impart information about new products, Big Blue Bloggers also show a deft touch for comedy with three videos posted to YouTube. Other blogging technology companies include Microsoft and Intel.
Corporations find a variety of reasons to blog. One of the most important is to influence the company’s public image, unfiltered by the media. Responding to the many blogs commenting about General Motors, the company set up its own blog. GM’s vice chairman, Bob Lutz, is among the leaders of the corporate blogging pack. Recently, he blogged about accepting a State Department award for social responsibility in Colombia, an achievement which NAM also heralded.
A popular blog by Boeing’s vice president of marketing, Randy Baseler, communicates directly with the people who fly in Boeing aircraft. In his November 22 posting, he favorably compares the 777 and 787 with the Airbus A350. Baseler certainly deserves some of the credit for recent decisions by Korean Airlines and Fedex to cancel their orders for the A350 and buy Boeing instead. USA! USA!
The latest post to Xerox’s Big I, Little T Blog describes how the company is in the prototype stage with “transient documents,” copier paper that can be re-used many times. There is also a link to a New York Times article about this important environmentally conscious new technology.
Another reason companies blog is to humanize their corporate image and advertise their products. DuPont’s innovative website, Real Families, Real Fun, is a good example of this. Updated daily by a mother chitchatting about her family, the blog Citizen Mom’s Family Journal draws readers to website links promoting the DuPont corporation and its products. Hallmark uses a similar marketing approach with a blog about food and another about books.
Establishing a dialogue with their customers is the purpose of many corporate blogs. For example, in addition to Verizon’s Poliblog for discussions about telecommunications, the company plans to create another blog for feedback from customers. Responding to posts to this new blog will be a 24-hour response team. According to Jerri DeVard, senior vice president of marketing and brand management, Verizon will spend at least 15 percent of its marketing budget on-line.
The NAM will be blogging every week about what’s what in the blogs of American manufacturers and other corporations. It’s a big blogosphere out there and it’s going to get a lot bigger, so contact Michael Zak, email@example.com, with blog news you’d like covered here at ShopFloor.org.
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