What lies beneath

July 21st, 2004

PR machine has an interesting observation in an article for Global PR blog week:

Blogs are posing threats to Fortune 1000 brands and in order to meet the new brand threat that blogs pose, corporations are attempting to influence bloggers in their media relations outreach, as well as shifting media budgets to strenghthen their own online corporate brand voices.

The main points are as follows:

  • Micro Media is Changing the PR Practice (i.e. weblogs and RSS news feeds and the Vanishing Mass Market)
  • Fortune 500 Abandoning "the Universal Message" (McDonald's marketing shift based on no single ad can tell the whole story)
  • Use of many stories rather than one message to reach everyone (McDonald's new strategy of brand journalism)

I am not as excited about the threat blogs may or may not pose to brands as by the real potential of blogging to give branding a new meaning. Blogs can be the perfect tool for an 'emergent brand', where brand is a behaviour and an expression of an authentic identity to a degree much greater than current branding and marketing allows. Paradoxically, authenticity is very hard to get right and the entire practice of branding, marketing and PR has been the opposite – constructing an edifice, projecting an image on top of whatever was bubbling, and sometimes festering, beneath the high-gloss surface. Engagement was a no-no, hiding from a customer routine and style over substance has ruled the day.
Fortunately, the edifice is showing cracks and there are things that sprout forth in them. Blogs are just an example of the process. May they long continue ruining the varnish.
Cross-posted from tBBC blog

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