Monday, September 17, 2007

PR 2.0: don't ignore bloggers, or they'll end you.

Perhaps it just seems so obvious.

After reading the first chapter of Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message, I couldn't believe that there are still some companies are ignoring bloggers. How can businesses not respond to the influential blogs that revolve around their products? For example:

"Coca-Cola does not engage in conversation with its fans or citizen marketers....it tends to ignore or dismiss the work of everyday people." - page 13, Citizen Marketers
This just seems crazy.
Engaging with bloggers seems a critical part of PR today. Ignoring your bloggers can only hurt you; sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "LA LA LA" is not going to make the criticisms go away. Rather, not addressing a significant issue voiced by bloggers is only going to make it worse. I like the approach that the authors describe on pages 17-19, where HBO and BMW took the bloggers and bulletin-board posters into account (begrudgingly by HBO and pro-actively by BMW) and came out the better for it with increased revenues and customer satisfaction.

On a personal note, my career interests lie in bringing my internet and technology interests into my PR work, so this is right up my alley. Monitoring and interacting with today's social media movers-n-shakers would not only be fun but also rewarding for my clients.

"What does this means for crisis prevention and positive reputation management? It means that companies ignore blogs and other online commentary at their own peril." - Michael Sydner, "Ignoring Blogs: A Recipe For Reputation Disaster"

9/18 - Update: And speaking of Coca-Cola....
Today, PR Squared posted the blog entry "Red Tape Won't Stop Social Media From Changing Your Website (Eventually)," about companies (including Coca-Cola) that are continuing to resist getting social media involved on their websites.
"To ignore an opportunity to create a convenient spot for users to collaborate & discuss the brand is going to be akin to a criminal offense among tomorrow's web strategists." -Todd Defren, PR Squared
That's really all there is to it. Like his blog entry says, there's still time to be pro-active about integrating social media into their PR strategies. Companies here in the 21st century need to engage in a two-way discourse with consumers because the consumers are already talking.

3 comments:

kassie! said...

I guess this goes back to a lot of the Walmart discussion we have in class about them never addressing any of their criticisms. It seems that once corporations get so big and become household names they no longer have to do any of the "little things" such as paying attention to their customers.

blah.
Good thing I don't drink Coca Cola or shop at Walmart. haha

kassie! said...

p.s. - Thank you for the Mog link! I am checking it out as we speak. And, I'm getting twitter. Make this internet stuff stop! haha

Todd Defren said...

Thanks for the link, and for the excellent analysis of the situation.

Make sure you let me know when you graduate. tdefren @ shiftcomm.com.