Has blogging and social networking changed the marketing game?

Panel at AlwaysOn with Charlene Li of Forrester, Jeff Nolan of SAP, Steve Rubel of Edelman, Brad Silver of brandimensions, and Jay Stockwell from Intelliseek/Buzzmetrics.

The big question – are brands scared of losing control and how can they react?

There’s a continuum between control and transparency believes Steve Rubel.

Some companies adopt blogging because they are forced by events which plunge them into it, others see their customers discussing their brand and want to engage. An example of these issues which flare up being the Comcast technician who fell asleep and was filmed by a customer, the video of which received 2m hits on YouTube in three days. Companies need to have a defensive alert system to be able to react to this quickly, but more importantly to listen to what their customers are saying and take action in product development, strategy and approach.

Companies should find bloggers who are interested in their brand and align with what those bloggers are looking for. Organizations need to understand them rather than see bloggers as merely a channel to transmit marketing messages. That will fail since it will not be authentic.

‘Blogs are a microphone approach – you don’t get much communication back’ – Charlene Li as she states that building a community for a consumer brand may encourage greater interaction. That said, will consumers migrate towards brands or should those brands take small slices of their content and inject them into the places where their communities already are. If this latter, then it needs to be done delicately. If the former, then the community may be small initially but may contain the most ardent fans.

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