The CEO of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz, says in an article he wrote in the Harvard Business Review titled, “If you want to lead, blog” that people will have a conversation about your brand whether or not you are involved and therefore it is better for you to lead the conversation.
“In 10 years, most of us will communicate directly with customers, employees and the broader business community through blogs. For executives, having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice any more than using email is today. If you’re not part of the conversation, others will speak on your behalf and I’m not talking about your employees,” Schwartz says.
He says blogging lets businesses participate in communities they want to cultivate, whether it is employees, potential employees, customers, or anyone else, and leverage the business’ corporate culture competitively.
Schwartz says many senior Sun Microsystems executives have blogs that can be read by anyone anywhere in the world. “We discuss everything from business strategy to product development to company values. We host open letters from the outside, and we openly respond to them. We talk about our successes and our mistakes,” he says. “That may seem risky. But it’s riskier not to have a blog”. So how do you get started on a blog? Schwartz suggests clearly defining a blogging strategy and guidelines. He says the next step is to find your voice. Be honest and open. Be respectful of your audiences. Don’t treat blogging like advertising. Use humor. Link to those who interest and influence you. “Once you get going, don’t micromanage the process. Your legal and corporate communications teams do not have to be involved in every post-after all, they’re not involved in every email you send or telephone call you make”, Schwartz says.
In Kenya, a team of young entrepreneurs is now promoting corporate blogging. Al Kags, one of the founders of http://peupe.net/ says clients and partners such as suppliers and distributors, staff, investors and the international community will be more intimately aware of a company’s brand of business and they will better understand what the business values, its vision and mission are as well as what issues affect delivery of their product to them.
Kags says many times, the people that work with a company, staff, suppliers and distributors, do not understand enough about a brand to confidently talk about it. This is a loss for a business in terms of the power of word of mouth. “By blogging on Peupe, you immediately provide talking points for them to sell your brand to their friends,” Kags says. “Your Peupe blog will provide an easy channel for you to communicate the ventures that your business will be going into, give insight into new products, talk about your Corporate Social Responsibility in a believable and easy way and keep the public on your side”.
He adds that corporate blogging leverages companies lobbying power by marshalling support from a wider audience. “Your Peupe blog gives you an opportunity for you to explain your position in detail as well as to counter all arguments against your position, all very cost effectively and quickly,” he says. Kags says that in case of crisis in a business, swift and accurate dissemination of information is key to managing reactions and actions of the public and other stakeholders as well the market and the value of the business; through a blog that would also elicit the participation of the public.
“Peupe is a specially designed blog application for business leaders and experts. The blog is designed to enable business leaders and experts to have and maintain conversation with their key audiences in order to bolster their brands. The blogs features allow the blogger to share information, photos and documents among others,” Kags says.
Features on Peupe include a WYSIWG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that allows pasting content straight from your favorite text editor into the post management tool, comment moderation, built in spam protection, RSS-a republishing tool that enables users to republish the information you post onto their web sites and to receive your posts over email as well, a feature that allows readers to email the articles on your blog to their contacts and an application that allows you to build a network of people who want to know you and who, more importantly, want you to know them, among others
Peupe gives corporates a choice of two blog products. Enterprise Peupe is for the business leader who truly wants to lead both his team as well as build a network of people who feel like part of the business leader’s brand. It comes with full branding options (design exactly what it looks like) and it comes with a network builder.
Corporate Peupe is the more basic of the two. It contains all of the Peupe standard features but it comes with minimal branding mast head only and it is not bundled with the Network Builder.
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