High-Tech Thought Leadership

On Stuart Mease's Connecting People in the RNR video show on Handshake 2.0, I wrote that I considered Stuart Mease a thought leader.

One of the reasons people read blogs is to find out what leading thinkers are thinking.  Aggregrator business blogs that focus on high-tech–like Inside VT KnowledgeWorks and Handshake 2.0–give high-tech business leaders a chance to share their expertise, even to shape the directions of their industries.

Excerpts from A Guide to Corporate Blogging:

In order to maintain a competitive edge, corporations are increasingly looking for opportunities to make them stand out. Although traditional media serves as a solid medium that disperses company messaging to the world, the trends of information consumption are evolving. After some initial hesitancy, corporations are slowly starting to realize that it is important to jump on the virtual bandwagon of blogging. This medium represents the missing ingredient that traditional media lacks: the ability to directly connect a company to its customers.

As of February 2008, 54 companies listed on the Fortune 500 have corporate blogs (source). I had the great honor of interviewing the social media gurus behind three of the top companies with blogs: Michael Brito, Social Media Strategist at Intel, LaSandra Brill, Manager, Web & Social Media Marketing at Cisco, and Tac Anderson, Web 2.0 Strategic Lead at Hewlett Packard (HP)…

Why is Blogging Crucial to Corporations? 

What is the first image your mind conjures up when a brand is mentioned? Is it the logo, the jingle on the advertisement or the experience you previously had with the brand? Blogging allows current and potential consumers to associate the brand with a face and a personality. It bridges the distant gap that has existed between the 'inaccessible' company and the 'average' consumer. Brito said, 'It’s a way for us to appear less corporate and put a human face when we interact online. We believe people relate more effectively to other people instead of a logo or corporate brand.'

Additionally, the blog is a representation of the company’s values, beliefs, philosophy and direction. If they are involved in a medium that encourages a two-way conversation, it shows their consumers that they care about their opinions. Brill noted, 'Blogging lets us communicate with our customers in a more personal and direct way. But more importantly, blogging gives us a much needed way for customers to communicate with us. Customers are able to interact with comments and potentially provide valuable feedback or insight that can be brought back into the business.'

Although direct interaction with customers is an incredible incentive, there are many other benefits to blogging. It has the power to position employees as thought-leaders in their industry, to assist in reputation management during crises; to build brand awareness and loyalty; and to increase brand visibility, traffic and links."

A Guide to Corporate Blogging concludes with "Steps Fortune 500 Companies Take to Create a Blog."

And then consider this from George F. Colony, CEO of Forrester, sharing his impressions of blogging in Confessions of a Two-Month CEO Blogger:

"[Other CEOs ask,] 'Where…is the money in this thing? Why are we giving this away for free?' I get it — that if you blow pizza smoke out into the street, people will come in and buy pizza.'"

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