Posted by an Honored Guest Sunday, November 5, 2006
Today's topic is: the adoption of corporate blogging and intersection of the enterprise and individual personalities.
Yiiish! That's a 900 lb. sentence. Well, maybe clarifying might lighten that up some. By "today" we mean 2006 not just November 5. Here at Strumpette, we've explored this crossroads variously since our inception. Ethics and hypocrisy aside, it's a core theme. As we've entered this new virtual Web World, we've already found that its very nature is dramatically forcing us in PR to redefine who we are and what we do for a living. The challenge is to do that while being consistent with our roots. That's tough. Some doubt it's even possible.
Today, as in November 5, we are thrilled to have Rohit Bhargava help us explore this topic. Rohit is VP Interactive Marketing at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. He's one of the founding members of the Digital Influence group there. He's an expert, author and sought after speaker on the topic of interactive marketing.
Without further ado, here's Rohit...
FINDING YOUR PERSONALITY IN PERSONAL MEDIA
By Rohit Bhargava
Tom Cruise had a great publicist. And then he fired her and hired his sister. Soon after he was jumping on couches, talking publicly about scientology, confusing fans, and exhibiting a personality that most would rather have never known about. Obviously, what his long time publicist had done for him was shield his real personality from the media. In a sentence, that was her job ... and she had done it well for 14 years. The problem with the PR industry, is that many practitioners have been focused for years on doing a similar job for corporations. For fear of what lawyers might say or customers might think, many corporations have a PR team dedicated to pushing key messages devoid of personality. Yet some would argue that a good brand is all about personality - having one and sharing it.
With the rising influence of blogs and personal media, all of a sudden previously "faceless corporations" are finding an outlet to build trust and show customers what they really stand for. Boeing has a face with Randy. Microsoft had a face with Scoble . Many internet startups would not even consider launching without having a company blog. The power of the individual voice within enterprises is finding it's place. As this role starts to define itself, the filter that a PR team may have applied to enterprise communications is starting to dissolve. As individuals (most outside the PR department) start to develop relationships with customers - it is their voice that has a dialogue. Doing a press release is often not as effective as having a company's most prolific blogger "announce" something on his/her blog - and then point people to it. People trust others more than they trust institutions. As enterprises start to allow their personalities to creep out via personal media and blogging, they are finding another avenue for trust - and a danger zone where they can get flamed for entering inauthentically or without an honest voice.
The rise of personal blogging is another example of the same phenomenon from the opposite end. People are beginning to share their professional personalities as well as their personal ones through blogs. For several years there have been tools to allow people to create a personal blog to share with friends and family about your daily life. Much of MySpace holds this kind of content - personality profiles online. At the same time, services like Typepad are dedicated to individual professional users. Users like me who have a blog for professional reasons, mostly as an extension of their professional personalities. My blog is my bio, resume, idea archive and networking hub all at once. It is my personality online.
This is the intersection personal blogging and enterprise blogging: where authentically sharing personalities online is allowing deeper connections between individuals and others, as well as organizations and their customers. It is this fact that is representing a shift in the entire PR industry. It is not about just conducting media relations, it is about starting a dialogue. You can't have a real dialogue without a personality. Over the next year, I believe we will start to see more organizations (and individuals) struggle with where to fit their personalities into a field of communications that has become over-regulated and overly fearful about revealing too much truth. As smart leaders start to emerge with ways of doing it right, others will follow. In this new media world where individual voices are increasingly influential, a company without this kind of voice is limited. A company without this voice is invisible. And unless your PR goal is to achieve invisibility, I expect we will see much more personality shared through blogs online.
Thank you Rohit.
We invite our readers to comment. We look forward to your thoughts.
Posted by Amanda Chapel Saturday, November 4, 2006
Rebels to be Rounded Up
In an interview yesterday, creator of the Internet, brave knight Sir Tim Berners-Lee, said that he believes that the Web is in danger of being corrupted by fraudsters, liars and cheats. "If left unchecked," he did proclaim, "the virtual Kingdom would lose its fame." That surely trumpets the end of PRland's "Me2Revolution."
If you recall when our fairytale first began:
From lair to lair the news was spread,
And one and all leapt out of bed,
And sallied forth, with loud hurrays,
The Me2 Standard of Revolt to raise.
The Bear looked fierce, the Crocodile
Put on his most bloodthirsty smile;
The Leopard and the Wolf were there,
And cheers resounded in the air.
Then Richard roared a lengthy speech,
And called, in loudest tones, on each
To do his best when came the fray,
Not be afraid, nor run away.
Cried he: "Now, onward to the field,
To make this tyrant Sorrell yield!"
"Charge, Leopard, charge—on, Tiger, on!"
Were the first words of Me2Rebellion.
In the later part of our poem, Sir Tim cuts to the heart of the rebel cause. Rather than in iambic pentameter, here for absolute clarity, we'll summarize:
- The rise of blogging is one of the most difficult areas for the continuing development of the web, because of the risks associated with inaccurate, defamatory and uncheckable information.
- Devotees of blogging sites take too much information on trust: "The blogging world works by people reading blogs and linking to them. You're taking suggestions of what you read from people you trust. The next generation of the internet needs to be able to reassure users that they can establish the original source of the information they digest."
- The intention is to make sure the internet of the future remains free and open for anybody. "We're not going to be trying to make a web that will be better for people who vote in a particular way, or better for people who think like we do," he said.
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