Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blogging hits corporate world

Blogging hits corporate world

The Times of India via NewsEdge Corporation :

NEW DELHI: Expressing anguish over Manu Sharma's acquittal or taking up cudgels on behalf of Chaman Lal Mattoo, blogs have become an important medium for middle class India to express its ire against the state's inability to punish the rich and well-heeled.

But now, marketers are looking at blogs as a powerful social media. Corporate blogging activity is either internal (where they are used as a collaborative tool among employees to share inputs) or external (as a medium of interaction with customers). Most importantly, communication with stakeholders is direct and two-way.

For example, HLL's SunSilkGangofGirls is a community-driven portal whose blogging feature is a hit with users. Infosys also has a corporate blog, 'Think Flat', launched last year after CEO Nandan Nilekani had discussions with Stephen Pratt, head of its consulting unit.

Contributors include Infosys board members, unit heads and executives. A company spokesperson says, "In this forum, we share our perspectives with our clients and other business professionals. The blog enables us to have a dialogue, instead of simply publishing our perspectives to clients."

Says Rajesh Lalwani, founder, Blogworks,"Increasingly, corporations too are keeping track of blogs as they want to know what is being said about their company online." That's because online search and word of mouth (for product reviews) is becoming the norm every day. "Users wanting to know more about a company need not rely on the company website alone. There are other online sources as well," explains Lalwani. His company provides strategic solutions to brands and corporations wanting to use this medium effectively.

Reliance Communications too launched Mblog, its mobile blogging service, sometime back. Reliance users can transmit images, videos and thoughts by posting the content from their mobiles. Over 50,000 people have used this service so far. "Right now, only a niche segment (geeks and nerds) use our service.

But blogs are directly linked with the growth of multi-media messaging. Blogs will drive MMS usage,"predicts Krishna Durbha, head, business and marketing, value added services, Reliance Communications.

There is also a celebrity cult attached with blogging. In countries like the US, many CEOs and leaders have started writing their own blogs. Says Rajeev Karwal, founder, Milagrow Business and Knowledge Solutions, "Blogs are an effective medium of transferring knowledge to junior and middle-level executives." This former president of Reliance Retail started his blog last August.

Karwal says he wants to reach out to middle and junior management executives this way. "Many middle-level executives pass through professional mid-life crisis. Through my blog, I want to redefine the meaning of success. It's not just fame, power and fortune that connote success. Personal success (with family and friends) is equally important," he states.

But corporate blogging has its perils too. Says Pavan Duggal, advocate,"Many blogs are invariably located in servers outside India and corporations have no control over them. There is danger of washing dirty linen in public. After all, a blog is a public diary. Trade secrets can be unintentionally revealed in a public domain."

<<The Times of India -- 03/19/07>>

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