Are fear and greed the motivations for corporate blogging? Corante’s Many 2 Many group thinks so. The article claims that fearful companies sue, distract or avoid blogs and bloggers. In comparison, enlighted companies turn to blogs and bloggers as a source of competitive advantage. By leveraging innovation, these firms edge out the competition, in a positive spin on greed.

Some companies worry that blogs render them vulnerable. They worry about fallout from bloggers who comment positively or negatively about their products. But opinion leaders have always shaped markets. In fact, the late Everett Rogers, author of Diffusion of Innovations, and Geoffrey Moore of Crossing the Chasm fame have both extensively researched and written about this subject. Blogs are simply another way for opinion leaders to interact with followers. Smart companies recognize that it makes more sense to engage and influence bloggers, rather than to antagonize or ignore them.

Executives also fret about allowing their employees to blog. Fearful that employees may reveal secrets, they ban blogging. But companies already have protection in place: standard non-disclosure agreements. Most employees sign NDAs when they start a job. Rather than banning blogs, remind your employees that all their activities, including blogging, fall under NDA. You already trust them with cash, keys, code and other potential risks. Why should blogs be any different?

Blogs are a great way for companies to build personal connections with faceless corporations. When potential and existing customers read about your executives or front-line staff, a relationship starts. Customers have always been more likely to trust your “real” employees than PR or marketing staff. The key is to channel marketing messages through those who have credibility. But, if your team isn’t already on board with your market orientation, then there’s something wrong.

(c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.