Join The Conversation Or It Will Go On Without You

Rebecca MacKinnon, a “recovering TV reporter-turned-blogger” is rightfully concerned about the fifth Iranian blogger to be arrested in the past two months. Honestly, I’m surprised the number is not higher. And what about China? How many emerging web voices are they prepared to extinguish?
Since this is not a political blog, I’ll bring the conversation back to business. A number of bloggers, myself included, are prepared to help businesses understand blogs and readily adopt them for good purposes. My personal quest involves helping brands incorporate a blog, or other conversational media tools, into their marketing strategy. But I force myself to conduct a daily reality check and ask, “Are brands ready to let go of the message–the very message they’ve spent years, in some cases decades, and untold buckets of money shaping? The short answer is no, they are not ready.
The sad fact is corporate communications types and MBA-toting brand managers fear what they don’t know. They are also concerned about protecting their place in this new structure (as our mainstream journalists). If brands truly do belong to the market, and not to the company in question, where does that leave professional brand caretakers? And what does it all mean?
I could pontificate for several more paragraphs, but it may be more instructive to look at a recent example from this very blog. I said last week that it was nonsense for Kobold watches, a luxury goods brand, to claim they are anti-establishment. Michael Kobold, the firm’s founder and CEO didn’t whine about it. He made a comment on this blog defending his position. It matters not if I agree with his retort. It matters that he’s engaged in the conversation.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.