Friday, March 24, 2006

Industry-Wide Acceptance Of Blogs?

It looks like even the banking industry is beginning to see the light. And when uber-conservative institutions like that start to "get it", the future looks bright.

This is from an article on written by Edmund Tribue. He is the global practice leader of MasterCard Advisors’ Global Credit Risk Practice. What's interesting to me is that he's a "thought-leader" on credit, financial and operational risk management in the financial-services industry. Hmmm. He's not in marketing, communications or PR. He deals with risk management and the efficacy of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Not your typical blog evangelist.
Technological developments over the last two decades have transformed the consumer into the unquestionable leader in the consumer-company relationship. The tech-savvy consumer increasingly gets and disseminates any information he or she wants about any product or brand, anywhere, anytime. Product and pricing information are being pulled from Internet news groups and chat rooms — realms dominated by consumers but places where companies are increasingly making investments.

In line with the growth in consumer power has been the explosion of blogs. Their capacity to blur the lines between fact and fiction is worrisome for corporations that want to control their own messages. But if companies are entering this space, isn’t that challenge being met?

Too often corporations think about controlling new media as point-challenges that need point-solutions.

Just as companies started rolling out investments in new Internet communications, podcasting caught most companies unawares. Podcasting allows individuals to post their own audio messages online — messages that are then available anywhere in the world at any time for downloading to iPods and other MP3 devices.

It’s anybody’s guess as to other ways consumers will find to convey their opinions about banks and brands, but gone is the day when companies could rely on advertising and public relations to control what is said and written about them. Nor can they consider these threats in a piecemeal fashion.

Saatchi and Saatchi advertising chief Kevin Roberts put it best: "Everything we used to do, everything we used to know, will no longer work." ("Crowned at last," The Economist, March 31, 2005.)
Wow. That doesn't sound to me like blogs and the "new media" are being seen as the information equivalent of an annoying mosquito flying near the corporate ear. I think they're beginning to see this 'phenomenon' as serious. Welcome to the party, kids!

Now, some corporate types will see this as simply another channel they have to get involved in, to control their message. Those efforts will most likely be discredited by their own insincerity. Others will see this as a huge opportunity to drive the conversation about their business (as opposed to controlling it), and will see varying measures of success because as a result.

The train hasn't left the station yet, but the boilers are building up steam. Come on aboard!


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