“The Conversation” Will Change You

Hugh MacLeod on the reality of corporate blog adoption, or non-adoption, as the case may be:

For all the “Blaze New Trails” rheotoric the corporate PR machine likes to feed the media, most corporate types don’t like rocking the boat. And good blogs rock boats- they can’t help it.

Only the brave, and those who seek thrills want their boats rocked. I’ve had the opportunity to pitch marketing blogs to some big time consumer marketers and there was an inkling of interest, quickly followed by the question, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get any copy past our legal department?” I did have an idea, and at the moment of that particular challenge, I realized I was not merely asking my client to blog, but to rewrite all their rules.
Johnnie Moore on how blogs change not only the market, but the marketer:

There’s a great principle in improv, that of letting yourself be changed. This encourages the actors to invest less energy in formulating a witity riposte, and more on joining their fellow actors and allowing their “feed line” to impact on them.
There’s a parallel at work for bloggers – the value may not be the immediate impact of their words on the market, but how the conversation changes the blogger. As Hugh says, it may be a mistake to focus on using blogs to sell things; it’s more about creating real engagement – where you are changed too.
And the thing about good conversations is that more goes on than just an exchange of information. Something more energising takes place. I think that’s the deeper insight of the whole “markets are conversations” meme.
Likewise, Hugh highlights the impact on conversations inside blogging companies, whether a giant like Microsoft or a relative minnow like Stormhoek. It seems to be that when you start down the road of open conversations, the impact can be highly generative.

Generative energizing sounds wonderful to me. But I’m not a client. I have no MBA, nor the BMW and exorbitant mortgage that usually attends it. Thus, it’s easy for me to see the benefits, while barely acknowledging the risks.

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 now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.