I have spent a fair bit of time in recent months talking with companies about how to embrace blogging as part of their marketing strategy. I've certainly spent time with my own portfolio companies on the question, but have also spent time with folks in Fortune 500 companies. Marketing executives are trying hard to figure out how to step into the blogsphere without getting burned. And rightfully so. I firmly believe that any company that has not embraced blogging in some form or other is missing an important channel.
Over a year ago, Chris Shipley put on the inaugural BlogOn conference which included some of the first organized discussions about business blogging. There were panels on Business Transparency and The Dark Side of Social Media. I suspect at that time no one predicted the degree to which corporations would embrace blogging. But embrace them they have. So I'm excited to be leading a panel at this year's BlogOn conference on Understanding Social Media's ROI. I imagine that one of the most significant issues I'll be discussing with the panel is not about the positive ROI from a well-executed blogging strategy but rather the negative ROI from a poorly thought out approach. There have been numerous horror stories about companies creating fake blogs and managing to undermine their credibility in the process. I read about a fantastically moronic example of so-called blogging on TechCrunch the other day -- the Juicy Fruit Blog.
Wrigley's gum has started the Juicy Fruit Blog. The advertising geniuses at Juicy Fruit devised an add campaign the essence of which is 2 people simultaneously grab hold of the last pack of Juicy Fruit and both refuse to let go of said pack of gum; as a result, the two people must do everything together including shaving, singing in the choir, wrestling, etc. In keeping with this campaign, the Juicy Fruit blog chronicles the comings and goings of the two attached Juicy Fruit fanatics. Here's a typical post:
I didn't really think the prom would be all that great, those things never are. But man, it stank! Right up there with getting all 4 wisdom teeth pulled. Because, of course, I've got HER by my side all night hanging on to the Juicy Fruit (which should be mine, by the way.) Have you ever tried slow dancing with 3 people? Take my advice. Don't try it. But I'm not backing down. If [sic] lived through this night, I can live through anything.
This bad advertising copy is labeled "BLOG" on the Juicy Fruit website and is, in theory, posted in chronological order (although the posts aren't dated). But beyond that, there is nothing bloglike about it. I'm sure it was devised by some advertising executive who wanted to capture the buzz around blogs. But it does just the opposite. Such is the danger of bad blogging.
I look forward to getting into the perils of blogging at the BlogOn conference in New York in October. If anyone is interested in attending the event, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll send you a discount code for your registration. It should be a good conversation.