Empower Conversation: What new media types say that blogs and social networking do to companies and consumers, not mentioning the fact that sometimes conversation is a bad thing because there really isn’t any control over it and most companies (and pundits) don’t enjoy the freedom of other people to say bad things about them because it is the exact opposite of the company’s goal when they chose to empower said conversation.
But these conversations are happening whether companies want them to or not. It’s what Tangerine Toad calls The Real Digital Revolution.
Some companies get it.
Take Fallon, which consistently reaches out to bloggers to show off their latest work, tout their newest hires and generally make sure that they are being talked about. No, it’s not always pretty. But it keeps the agency relevant. And it targets that message of relevance and momentum at the advertising professionals who read the blogs…a great way to convince potential new hires that Fallon is a top drawer place to work.
Or take Ad Week. This morning I posted on the aggravating fact that I have been reading the same “the agency model is broken” article in the trades for years now…and Brian Morrissey, the author of the article I posted about, wrote me an email. A very polite email that explained why he wrote the article (a Forrester report is news, though I may think that its contents aren’t particularly newsworthy) and asked if I was ripping Forrester or AdWeek (I am ripping Forrester, sorry that wasn’t very clear) and finished by saying that his goal was general reporting and starting a conversation (he did both).
Unlike Bob Garfield, who threw a fit when challenged on a blog, Morrissey was willing to engage in conversation.
So, for that matter, was the author of the Forrester report, Peter Kim.
Will their engagement in conversation change my opinion? Probably not, though Kim brings up a good point in his comment to my post that may deflect part of my criticism of the report.
My opinion may not change, but they have balanced the conversation by politely backing up their position and being willing to publicly defend it. A conversation is a two-way street and companies that ignore the conversation end up with irate bloggers talking about how they just don’t get it. It being this new media thing. Companies (and guys like Morrissey and Kim) who do get it may not always get laurels thrown in their direction – people do disagree – but they get a balanced conversation and they build goodwill.
I may disagree with their opinion on this matter, but it is clear the Morrissey and Kim understand what the democratization of media means. And it is clear that they are using new media to empower conversation. Which only helps to bolster their credentials on the subject…a subject that marketers and agencies continue to try to come to grips with.