The twentieth-century corporate world might be ﬁnally getting that we have gone beyond 2000. As linked from Antony Mayﬁeld’s Open blog, The Economist looks at ﬁrms which have either been forced to, or chosen to, deal with customers who blog.
It shows that everyone, in the west, potentially has a voice, which means principles such as the ones we go on about in Beyond Branding, or Living the Brand, or Stefan Engeseth’s One are more important. These books have a similar theme: work with your customers and help them achieve their goals.
Companies that do that are rewarded with stronger brand equity, more reasons to buy (if they know you are helping them with aiding their social conscience, as well as supplying goods and products), and even faster innovation processes.
Companies that don’t are in for a hard time—namely criticism from their audiences. A new program used by Evolve24 claims to be able to analyse blogs to see how a company’s reputation rates, according to The Economist.
The newspaper (as it is registered) details the issue with Diebold, but even better known, to me, is the damage that blogs caused to 60 Minutes and Dan Rather’s career. Sadly for Mr Rather, people will remember Memogate before they remember his long career.
‘Increasingly, companies are learning that the best defence against these attacks is to take blogs seriously and ﬁx rapidly whatever problems they turn up,’ writes The Economist’s correspondent.
The article puts corporate social responsibility into quote marks, though, as if it were a hackneyed term. It is a danger I mentioned with sustainability: the term has been abused in some cases, for the sake of excusing or hiding corporate misconduct. I fear CSR going down the same route, but it may well have begun.
We just have to keep hammering away at the real meanings of words like branding and social responsibility, in the hope that their tools are properly used. Humankind has an odd way of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, when branding remains one of the most powerful tools that can be exploited for the best, most noble reasons.
Del.icio.us tags: blogging | corporations | corporate social responsibility | consumer movement Posted by Jack Yan, 05:47
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