Friday, November 11, 2005

Your brand, their blog

More and more consumers are distrustful of company sponsored marketing and are taking it upon themselves to own the brand. One area where this is most apparent is in the blogosphere. A New York Times article (via CMO blog) discusses the many brand blogs out there. These bloggers discuss their opinions, angst and elation about their favorite brands, which seems to generate a lot of interest from fellow consumers who tend to trust peers over the company line. Companies, in turn, are looking at brand blogs as continuous focus groups to better understand how users perceive their products. The examples are abundant, but here are some from the article for starters: Starbucks, Disney, and Gatorade.

Brand blogs offer a heck of an opportunity for librarians too! Not only can libraries scan blogs for mentions of libraries to better understand patrons' points of view, but why not turn over a blog to your patrons to generate word-of-mouth? Sure, there's some risk involved here. It means giving up some control and turning over a piece of your brand identity to your users, but the payoffs could be worth it. One library I mentioned in my Internet Librarian presentation is doing just that. Take a look at Roselle Library's Blogger Book Club where anyone interested in children's literature can contribute. Ceding control can make anyone a tad uneasy, but the new marketing reality is that patrons are just as much involved in creating our brand as we are and we're missing an opportunity if we ignore this trend.

If this idea gets your creative juices flowing, you may want to drop in a the blog Micro Persuasion where the author discusses how new technologies are shaping marketing.

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