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QotD: Thoughts on a Big Company Blog

Question: What do you want to see from a big company blog?

My Answer: I may be doing some consulting work for a company soon, and while I've brainstormed quite a few ideas, I'm looking for some more.

The company for whom I may be consulting is, in a lot of ways, like Apple Computer. They're large, multinational, and have kept a tight lid on upcoming products. Not much is known about their internal operations, and there's a bit of mystique. They're an artistic company that has been able to blend mass production to become quite successful. In fact, unlike Apple, they're the market leader in a few categories and a strong competitor in others. Also unlike Apple, their prototypes are used in fairly plain sight every week, yet there are very few "rumor sites" about this company (or its peers). Celebrities use this company's products and are available for comment, human interest type stuff, and more.

What would you, as a consumer of this company's products or perhaps even just an interested industry watcher like to see from an "official" company blog? As I said, I've got my own ideas, and I don't want to steer any responses by listing them here.

Any and all attempts to guess at the company will be removed. Don't bother - just try to answer the question.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

7 Responses to "QotD: Thoughts on a Big Company Blog"

  1. If it's going to be a blog, I'd carry it out like some of the microsoft and sun blogs that are available. You, as an employee, are bound by an NDA, so talking about company products is clearly beyond the rules. However talking about markets maybe allowed. Talking about the _kind_ of work you're doing, may be allowed. It really depends on the company. Big companies such as Microsoft, have managed to allow this, but then Microsoft doesn't depend on product secrecy so much.

    But I have to agree with Derek, in that with a larger company, it's difficult to judge how statements will be taken by management (even if it's clearly stated that opinions are of the blog writer and not the company, or any part thereof). It's more of a political issue than anything else.

  2. I've deleted the asinine posts. One person accused me of being lazy, telling me "brainstorm for yourself." Another thought I hadn't provided enough information. Yet another said this was a "self-pride" post. Finally, someone once said "large company blogs are a bad idea" despite the fact that, gee, that's what I'll be doing, and the company obviously doesn't think it's a bad idea.

    And Vinay, I'd be a consultant, not an employee.

  3. Personally, I'd like to see some of the celeb reactions posted, perhaps a discussion of the reaction compared to what the company aimed for. Any pics they'll show could be interesting. It'd be interesting if after a product is released to have a discussion about its design and why certain parts came about.

  4. They could learn a thing or two from Dave Hyatt. Talk about what you can, gather feedback on ideas and implementations, create a report with your users/consumers. Even if closed, appear to be open, if just a little.

    Giving customers a crack to shout suggestions into and actually, sometimes, get a public response is great for customer opinion. "They hear me! They hear me!" etc.

    Sad, pathetic, but human.

    The Google blogs are something to avoid. Nothing more than PR releases that distance yourself from the company.

    Actually, use one of the first "logs" as an example as well: John Carmack.

  5. I think it would *have* to be the blog of a person within the company, and not of the company itself (even if somebody else is doing the writing). I think the tendency is that people associate blogs with people, and would view a "company" blog as a PF gimmick.

  6. The first thing that came to mind is the sort of Blog that Adrienna Huffington runs... she doesnt' write it, she invites her celebrity friends to write it, popping forth an essay on whatever they choose. The same could be done with the celebrity clients of said company.

    However, it being more or less constrained as company PR spiel, it might as well be a web page of testimonials. The flip side is a truly interactive blog, where the company will more than likely have some serious issues to censor.. uh address, from disgruntled customers. A blog is a bit more handsome to read than a message board, and is always emceed by the poster. But can anything useful be discussed without giving away trade marketing plans to competition?

    It is going to be naturally constrained by the PR departments of the company, or turned into a hype engine of its own... there will always be that element of distrust amongst the reading public.

    By the way, anyone complaining about Erik waving his own flag... gee, haven't you been reading his stuff for awhile anyway, enough to know what to expect? He practically proposed to his wife on the web. He has no inhibitions about 'sharing'!

  7. Bud, I never said the celebrities were clients. More like paid endorsers, but ones that use the products as the main tools of their trade. Furthermore, I never said it was "more or less contrained as a company PR spiel." In fact, it's anything but that.

    I didn't propose to Carey on the Web, Bud, and I don't think that "bragging" or "self-promotion" is the same thing as "sharing."