B5 (Blogging Bug Bites Big Blue) – seems that Big Blue is taking a page from Microsoft and encouraging IBM'ers to blog. Despite the fact that we're very much in the early adoption period for corporate bloggers, it's another good sign that the shift from a read-only to a read-write platform is spreading it's roots.
I spoke at AdTech last year about the importance of empowering customers to blog about their brands by making available brand assets such as logo's, advertising footage, soundtracks, etc. I got this idea from Tim Smith who is really smart about how to create brand loyalty. I was amazed at how divided the audience was about this idea. Some thought it to be proactive, understanding there is no turning back to a crafted world in which customers yield limited ability to influence the opinions of a community of users, potential users. Others thought it marketing blasphemous.
The truth is that customers now own brands and the companies that created them are lucky they get to navigate the image making. It reminds me of the late 90's when the smart, marketing driven companies started to slowly embrace the web despite their fear of losing control. Those companies were careful not to jump in too deep. They tested new ideas, figured out what worked best and then committed. Very smart. It's an approach that the best companies in this decade will adopt, especially as it concerns user generated content. While the particulars might be different, I have no doubt that being open, gaining real time input from customers no matter how positive or critical, is the best way to develop a community and steward a brand.
Posted by Tony