Branding is important. It gets a lot of attention, and companies that believe in good branding put a lot of energy into crafting a good brand.
Blogging is important. Searching for “blog” on Google yields more hits than searching for “sex”, which should tell you something. I’m finding a lot of folks here at Gnomedex who understand the value a blog can have in the business world, for reaching customers and extending the marketing conversation. With Microsoft’s new efforts in IE7 and Longhorn, blogs and RSS feeds will be easier than ever for users to grok, which will inevitably increase blog readership and further increase the value to business.
Here’s the problem: How do blogs and brands co-exist? Brands are frequently corporate-voice. They represent the best image the company can have, the best concepts the company represents, everything that is attractive about the company. A brand is built on the desire to build an engineered image in the consumers head. One that (hopefully) carries a very carefully developed story.
A blog isn’t corporate voice. At least, an effective blog isn’t going to be corporate voice. An effective blog is a human voice attached to a human being with a name and a face and a personality. You can’t have all that without the warts, moles and other natural defects that make people people. Blogs represent truth and reality, not the corporate voice.
So how do you get the traditional marketing folks to accept the idea that there is a major element out there, as part of the company’s marketing mix, that is outside the brand? Not only is that element out there, but its effectiveness draws upon its defiance of the brand. This is a bit of paradox – you need the brand to have effective marketing, but you need to ignore the brand to have more effective marketing.
The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced that a company needs to have communication throughout the spectrum.