Via Booksquare comes the news that Penguin has a blog.
Okay. Far be it from me to suggest this is an original thought, although it’s only now I’ve articulated it to myself — I know there’s a whole sub-blogosphere obsessing 24/7 about how to leverage blogs for corporate marcom programs, and no doubt this has already been proposed by someone, somewhere — but here it is, fwiw: it’s kind of embarrassing when a corporation launches a blog.
It’s like watching a person of a certain age ape teenage dress and behavior. You can smell what may be a whiff of fear; you sense you’re being asked to play along, almost as if for pity’s sake, in what is at best an act of uncomfortable self-deception; you know the apparent spontaneity is a sham and that the real motive is a desperate grab for whatever bennies (attention, sex) can be wrung from anyone naive or dull enough to be fooled.
Blogs are too much about personality, and with rare exceptions corporations have to suppress personality in the service of brand. Dave Thomas could have done a blog for Wendy’s, for example. But how many corporations really want their executives to be that closely associated with their public personae?
Not very many.
But oh, what a tempting place the blogosphere is. All that conversation. All those prospective customers . . .
So finally, after chewing its nails for a couple of years, a corporation figures maybe it can have the blog without the personality–it can launch a blog, but just won’t let it be naughty.
Sorry. That’s just co-opting the word “blog” as a cover for launching a different kind of corporate website. A pseudo-informal website.
I do think corporations have to pay attention to blogs. It’s like listening to visitors in your tradeshow booth, or reading letters to the editor in your industry’s trade pubs, or tracking stats in your customer call center.
And maybe someday corporate execs — the generation that is growing up, now, blogging — will be able to blog and have it come across as genuine.
But if some established Fortune 500 corporation were paying me the long dollar to advise them on blogging, I’d say save your money. Use it on other things. There are lots of ways for corporations to reach their customers over the net — chats, podcasts — that convey openness and informality without risking you’ll just look strained & foolish.
(Now, if Penguin’s blog turns out to be readable, it’ll be me that looks the fool. Won’t that be something? LOL)
[tags] blogs [/tags]