As with most pieces on the rise of blogging and participatory media, Clive can’t help but take a swing at PR folks and their craft. This marrs the story with causal assumptions. While I agree with the central tenet of the story – transparency is great and should be used to your advantage, the notion that you need to “fire your publicist” and “abandon the message” to be transparent is nonsense.
In fact, nothing in the story seems to support this or point to the fact that complete transparency is the luxury of the unlisted, closely-held start-up. Nearly every corporation other than RedFin cited in the story have an army of PR people encouraging and driving transparency. Not does it point to another real-estate brand – Zillow – that has achieved superior mindshare (albeit in a different segment of the real-state market) on the back of a great PR effort.
Transparency and engagement are the hallmarks of all great communications – that doesn’t mean they don’t require publicists or messages.
I also find it hard to see Google as a “reputation management system”. It does no managing. Customers, bloggers, pundits and the like all have a new found power to shape reputations. Google mirrors the popular vote, effective optimizer of search, and ranks sentiment that isn’t necessarily a reflection of what your customers think but is a reflection of where the heard is running. Does that make it a “reputation management system” – I don’t think so.
What I do agree with is that Secrecy is dead. And Google is a terrific truth machine. And that customers have become “working partners”.
Thanks to Noel for the pointer… btw Noel, get a blog man!
Great story in AdAge this morning on P&G moving to dialogue-driven communications. They get that it’s no longer about “telling and selling”.
Procter & Gamble’s Jim Stengel described a major cultural shift that is turning the world’s largest marketer into a starter of conversations and a solver of consumers’ problems rather than a one-way communicator. “It’s not about telling and selling,” said the chief marketing officer of the company that once lived by that simple mantra. “It’s about bringing a relationship mindset to everything we do.”
Too often the focus is on a “digital or nothing” strategy – with an emphasis on moving into the interactive realms. Stengel is right that the imperative needs to be different: “the need for brands to be authentic, trustworthy and generous”.
And I like this view: “Market share is trust materialized.”
Seems that “ten things” is a sure way to attract eyeballs and this one is no exception. A terrific post on “Ten Things You Should Be Monitoring“.
Sun CEO Schwartz points to a terrific move they are making:
“Which is why you’ll see something very interesting next week start to appear on Sun’s web pages and throughout our our on-line store. You’ll start to see product reviews written by users. You’ll see user defined ratings, right on our products. Just like book or product reviews as Amazon.com…”
They are starting with a few products and going from there. Brilliant!
This got me thinking about the need for a system for recommenders to be authenticated. Some kind of opt-in registry so those of us reading the reviews get even more transparency into who is recommending. As much as I would like it though, I’m not sure it is needed.
The very act of participating and the inherent transparency of the act turns blogs and the web into one big “transparency engine”. Sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant.