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Power of communication

A corporate blog is an interesting tool to connect with the customer and yet be able to control the conversation, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 19:58 IST

CorporateBlogs

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." ~ George Bernard Shaw

In this age and time much has changed in the modes of communication. More information then ever before in the history of mankind is now available at the click of a button. Communication in this age and time acquires an altogether new definition.


The Reality of New Media

3,85,00,000 is the size of online audience in India. In other words it translates into 5.2 times the readership of the leading English daily. Or 2.8 times the combined readership of leading 3 newspapers in India. Or 3 times the combined readership of India's leading 5 English magazines.

Consider the case of a leading institute based in New Delhi suing two bloggers for over Rs 250 crores. The bloggers getting together and doing a full investigation on the antecedents of its founder. More accusations and retaliations followed. The case seems to be on a ceasefire right now. But consider the power of the new media, a small blog and so much reaction. That's the power of blogs, finally at a keyboard near you.

The changing corporate communication scene in India

The case highlights the truth about the subtle changes taking place in India at the moment. And more than that the case highlights the power of corporate communication in the new media. Whether one believes it or not the new media has arrived. The blog is a reality and sooner or later corporate communication will have to use this medium. 3,85,00,000 is too big an audience to be ignored.

Corporate communications and the corporate blogs

Sun has them, so doesmicrosoft.com.Ibm.com does them too, so does GM. Red Hat, Edelman, Stonyfield Farm, and Yahoo.com also have them. Corporate blogs are now invariably a part of corporate communications strategy. Harvard Business School says "corporate blogging can boost your company's credibility".Fortune does a whole feature on "There's No Escaping the Blog".INC.com the popular business magazine recently said " Blogging has been popular with teens, geeks, and flamboyant extroverts for years, but today, it's garnering more attention from businesses as a way to connect with customers and prospects." MSNBCsays "Corporate blogs are a new source of useful information, as IBM and others are discovering".Fortunedoes a whole story on "Future of Media in the Blog?

Harvard Business School, Fortune, MSNBC, Fast Company, INC, CNN are perhaps some of the most reputed business publications. All of them going gaga over corporate blogging. Surely there must be something to corporate blogging.

The advantages of corporate blogging

· Achieve customer intimacy:
Initiate a communication with the customer. Speak directly to consumers and have them come right back with suggestions or complaints-or kudos.

· Influence the public conversation and control it:
Make it easy for journalists to find the latest, most accurate information about new products or ventures. In the case of a crisis, a corporate blog allows you to shape the conversation about it. The control part is a huge advantage.

· Enhance brand visibility and credibility:
Appear higher in search engine rankings, establish expertise in industry or subject area, and personalize one's company by giving it a human voice.

· Leadership
According to CNN"A blog is the perfect platform for a thought leader."

Is Corporate Blogging a Hype?

Let me put it his way. Ten years ago the Internet was called a hype. Mid and late nineties even the world wide web was first called a huge hype, then huge investments followed and it seemed as if everything in the world end with a dot com.

Followed by so called dot com crash in 2000 (the giants crashed so they called it "the crash". Online revenues never did fall). Its 2006 now, the world wide web is still there with a soaring audience, revenues then ever before.

Moral of the story, what matters are fundamentals. The fundamentals of the world wide web were strong and remain strong. The world wide web is a media of the new generation and a media that definitely cannot be ignored, even if you refuse to open your eyes to it.

Corporate blogging is similar. If not today, then tomorrow corporates will have to adopt it. The fundamentals of corporate blogging are very strong. The broadcasting and syndication facilities are absolutely too powerful and strong. The kind of communication a corporate can have with a consumer or even within a company is too strong to be ignored.

How to start a corporate blog?

Companies can start a corporate blog themselves like Google.com using its own blogging tool blogger.com or hire services of corporate blog service providers like brandtalk.in. The idea of a corporate blog could be to have a conversation with your consumers, or simply get information on a new product, maybe have an internal conversation. The key to the success of the corporate blog is the honesty with its implemented. A corporate blog isn't an achievement board or a kudos list.The customers or visitors aren't looking for a sales pitch. Product information maybe.

Customers view a company's message through the lens of corporate blog differently than a corporate website because here they are involved in a conversation with a company. A customer's perception of the source is different and their willingness to listen is greater.

In this age of information, a corporate blog is an interesting tool to connect with the customer and yet be able to control the conversation.

Puneet
Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.Cyberzest.comand editswww.MidnightEdition.comyou can email him on puneet@cyberzest.com