Digital and direct marketing powerhouse, Digitas, recently conducted a study of online behavior. Marianne Oglo posted some of the findings on Digital Hive, the blog from the agency’s brand planning department.
One of the more polarizing observations gleaned from our mini-ethnographies involves consumers perceptions of blogs. We witnessed a pervasive “blogs are for liberals” attitude among consumers residing in so-called ‘red states’. Some are so off put by their perception that they are simply uninterested in finding out more about them at this time.
Regardless of the perceived majority voice, blogs could represent one of the most effective platforms for vocal minorities to express their views. They are in a sense, virtual town hall meetings. But how persuasive are they with visitors of a different POV? Do they only serve to reinforce their believers (e.g. by preaching to the choir)? Ultimately, blogs probably function more as ‘cyber-tribes’ of ideas and like-minded souls.
When it comes to branding, implications abound. Obviously, transparency is a very good thing. And brands who know who they are and avoid making the mistake of trying to be everything for everyone will probably meet with more success than their less confident and/or schizophrenic counterparts. Moreover, given the tribal nature of blogs, pull marketing seems to be at the essence of it all.
I think it’s pretty clear that blogs can change perceptions in the marketplace. Case in point: Sun Microsystems. Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO of Sun Microsystems said that blogging had played a major role in the revitalization of Sun’s reputation. Sun has gone from the 99th to the 6th most popular server company, largely because it has embraced authenticity and transparency in its communication initiatives. That’s not preaching to the choir. That’s getting the choir to sing.