The Economist published an article this week on the threats and opportunities of blogs and bloggers, “Corporate reputations – The blog in the corporate machine“.
“The spread of â€œsocial mediaâ€? across the internetâ€”such as online discussion groups, e-mailing lists and blogsâ€”has brought forth a new breed of brand assassin, who can materialise from nowhere and savage a firm’s reputation.”
“Many big companies have been looking eagerly for ways to tailor their advertising to specific groups of consumers. They have found that web logs and internet discussion groups, which bring together people of similar interests, can help them turn hot links into cold cash. But besides trying to get out their message, companies are also learning that blogs can provide early warning signs of potential problems.”
Steve Rubel was also quoted in the article giving tips on how to use a blog for crisis communications, suggesting the creation of a “lockbox blog”.
Despite the attempt at describing pros and cons of consumer generated media and blogs in particular, the article doesn’t do justice to the many positive marketing, PR and branding benefits. Reputation management is not the only reason companies should pay attention to the blogosphere. Regardless, the article does draw more attention to blogging with an influential audience and that’s a good thing.