Corporate Blogging - Blog exploring new age / new ideas in Marketing and Marcom

Friday, July 29, 2005

"bad" lauguage on corporate web sites and blogs

See my blog from Friday July 22 about "bad" language on corporate websites and blogs. I made a similar post to my IBM internal blog regarding finding links to "bad" words on our corporate website. I got a lot of comments on my internal blog. They really seemed to come down on two sides of the issue. One, was similar to the comment that BL made that if I understand correctly, "all varieties of clobbering of language, spelling, grammar" may also be something we should talk about and consider - not just "bad" words. Another thought was that given the adding of links upon links upon comments, it probably just isn't practical to "police" and make sure that within a link or 2 of a corporate website, one couldn't find "bad" words. Both are really good thoughts.

I have to admit that I am perhaps more of a "blink" writer and write my blog much like I speak or write an informal e-mail. I probably don't pay as much attention to spelling and grammar as I should. On my internal blog someone even pointed out that in my position in marketing communications I should be MUCH more careful about spelling and grammar. (I had a big ugly typo in the headline of my internal blog - which yes, I did go in and edit).

I'm not sure where I will land on this. I will probably be a bit more careful with typos in the future. However... when I choose a person to blog for my company, one of my major requirements is that they be a "good, interesting, entertaining" writer. I think I have found a good person for the On Demand Business site in Todd Watson. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for checking in with me.

IBM Corporate blogging program growing

I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. I think companies should take note and examine why this is happening. What am I talking about? I have found that to get a program rolling out in a big corporation often takes some high level muscle. I am finding the opposite to be true with blogging.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the Blog Enablement Day we held that had a really great response. I guess a lot of seeds were planted. Next week our Americas team is taking the content, information and knowledge and bringing it to a larger Americas geography team. I have been asked to host a similar Blog Day for our marketing communications teams in Asia Pacific and with other teams in IBM. The interesting part is that the pressure isn't coming from above, it is viral, person to person - a ground swell movement.

From a sociological perspective, why did this program catch on when I've seen other great ideas and programs that didn't? Any thoughts?

Thanks for checking in with me.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bad words on corporate web sites

I just read a link on our IBM internal website.

The search for influential bloggers
The holy grail among marketers: the development of tools that efficiently and quickly unearth influential blogs or blog discussions. [BusinessWeek Blogspotting]

When I read the above article from BusinessWeek Blogspotting, I was a bit surprised to find the word &*%^%% well you will have to read the article for yourself to find out what the word is.

I know it is hard with all this linking etc. to read everything. We do something called the "Quickread" on the On Demand Business site and I remember learning the importance of reading every page of every one of the links in the Quickread which links out to other articles we found interesting. I learned the importance because one time I found the "F" word believe it or not in an article in one of the very respected major publishers sites.

So, I pose the question. How do we feel about having the word #$%(&&^^!!@ in an article that is a direct link from corporate pages? My view? I'm not a prude but I do get tired of hearing bad language on the streets - particularly when I'm out there with my daughter. Maybe some brands are more aligned to some rougher language but I think that a brand such as the one I work for IBM should probably be cautious. It just doesn't really suuport our brand.

Thanks for checking in with me.

Changing Agencies

Have you ever tried to change a tire on a bus which moving down the road at 120 mph? Well this is exactly what I feel like I am in the middle of. In my past lives, I have moved my advertising from one agency to another and as painful as that was, it was nothing compared to this. Why is everything in the interactive space so much more painful? This is like moving a living breathing "thing", all it's processes and assets around the world educating an entire new set of people on all the content, process and assets on a global basis while continuing to make the living thing stay alive.

My main job is that I run the global On Demand Business website for IBM. A team in IBM decided to move IBM website communication from a great agency OgilvyOne to another great agency Digitas/EuroRSCG4D. I had a great experience with my Ogilvy partners and expect to have a great team at Digitas. When I looked at the OgilvyOne site to create this link though maybe that explains a bit about why people decided to make the switch. I see a lot about Ogilvy's advertising and advertising web landing experience pages and even a good deal about their direct marketing but I really don't see many examples of their site work. If I may brag a bit, I run one of the highest rated sites in IBM. O&M has been my incredible partner to get there. It is a great site but... it isn't showcased on their site. Someone out there may correct me if I'm wrong and I will be happy to stand corrected but I don't see it. On the other hand when I click on Digitas, while we aren't showcased "yet", it is immediately apparent that a core business for them is website communications.

So you may be wondering how this has anything to do with Blogging. A couple things. Sometimes I just find that the corporate world is still very advertising focused. This new marketing communications model really suggests a different model in the making. Web based, 2 way and multi-way communications etc. However if everything we try and do on the web is so complex and challenging, is it possible that we just can't get the senior people in our organizations who aren't working on the web interested in what we are doing? Do they just look at us and say... those people are always telling us how hard everything is. Why would I want to do more of it. But honestly it is more complex. So this is my rambling conundrum for this Friday afternoon.

Some things to ponder. Do you find interactive communications and web is more challenging than other forms of communication in your organization? Do you find that it is hard to get the attention, funding and resources for your interactive initiatives compared to other forms of communication? What does that mean in general for corporate blogging initiatives?

Thanks for checking in with me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

IBM Blogfest 2005

I blogged my prior post from Blog Enablement Day we held at IBM for the marketing communications community a few days ago. I see I had a comment from one of the attendees (Welcome to the blogsosphere Lynn Porterfield). I was really very happy and even moved with the outpouring of positive comments we got from the attendees.

"Best conference I've been to in ages"... "Just wanted to say I think you did an AMAZING job today. It was educationsal, fun and best of all I don't think I've ever seen you happier - Congrats".

Wow... amazing what some kind words can do to the soul.

Towards the end of the conference we broke into groups to prepare strategies for the various business units. Some of the teams were more cautious... we are going to monitor for a bit to see what we want to do... but others were ready to go and get their subject matter experts on board and start some blogs. I think we planted a few seeds and even this week, I've seen some of them start to grow.

So, what is my recommendation to you if you are in a company and want to get some traction on blogging. 1) as with any project, you will probably want/need a senior exec who really gets it and is ready to push at the top. 2) go to a seminar or two your self (the AMA Blog Seminar is a great place to start) 3) Plan an education session. There is enough information out there on the web to enable you to pull together educational sessions on all the key points. Find people in your organization or even bring in some outside experts. I have included our agenda items in the event that would help you get organized.

Introduction to Blogging
IBM Blogging Guidelines
Factors That Determine a Successful Blog
RSS, Podcasting and other important new media tools
Case study of a blog on
Case study of an IBMer blogging on a 3rd party site
Blog Metrics
Blogs & Search Engine Optimization
A case study of the GM Vice Chairman's blog
Monitoring Blogs for Market Intelligence
Breakout sessions to define your business unit blog strategy.

Thanks for checking in with me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

IBM Blog Enablement Day

The day is finally here. I'm blogging from the IBM Blog Enablement Day program for marketing communications people across IBM. Despite some technical glitches in the very beginning things are going really well. Isn't that always the case... change in room that some people didn't note in the invite - we had to move to a larger room than we had originally planned, some people on the phone didn't get the presentations... so a small bump in the start but then we got on really solid footing after just a few minutes. The presentations have been really great. I kicked it off, our VP of Advertising spoke as did our Director of Global Interactive - Eric Seibert. David Berger a big internal blogger from our Corporate Communications organization gave a great presentation and now speaking is BL Ochman from What's next on line.

Check out the photo. Marco Pereira IBM, Sher Taton IBM and BL Ochman and Susan Lorenz from OgilvyOne, . It's a good day, we are having fun.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Presenting blogging to Corporate Attorneys

I presented blogging and blogging strategy to a group of the IBM legal community today. I made them promise not to bring in sharp objects to the meeting. For a lot of reasons, blogging makes corporate attorneys very nervous. They actually turned out to be a really good group to present to. They were interested, asked a lot of questions and as always, I think they will be good partners for us on our blogging efforts.

I received an interesting article today from David Levy of Digitas. It was an article from ITSMA e-zine about navigating the blogsphere. It states a lot of the things that I believe... "For those marketers hesitant to jump in or unconvinced that blogging is more than just a fad, consider the last ten years of the Web itself, which transformed incredibly quickly from techie and teen plaything to business essential. Blogging is likely another example of a tech development that is over-hyped in the short run but underestimated in the long.

As customers, journalists, and others increasingly tune out one-way pronouncements in favor of community-based dialogue, marketers will ignore the blogosphere at their peril. Already we're seeing many in the media ignoring email and Websites in favor of personalized information feeds from the blogs they deem useful. No doubt we're still in early days, and the particulars of blogging will continue to grow and change. But there should be little doubt that a more participatory approach to marketing is taking hold, with blogging assuming a prominent place in that new approach. Learning to navigate the blogosphere is fast becoming a requirement for marketing success."

I am leading a blog enablement day next week for marketing communications professionals at IBM and I think this is really the heart of the message. We are all so busy these days just trying to do the considerable work we have in front of us that it is really easy to forget to look up once in a while and see what is happening around us. I really believe that the way we do marketing and marketing communications is in the middle of a powerful shift and that many people are so busy they are going to join the movement later than they should.

So .... step away from the computers, look around you... take a minute to think about this shift from marketing "brochure ware" to how marketing needs to begin to really engage with customers and have intelligent 2 way conversations. Given that premise, should you continue to do things as you have been or maybe consider trying a new or different approach.

The question of the day... if you weren't so busy doing what you do, what would you do instead?

Thanks for checking in with me.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Employee Blogging Benefit

First a big thank you for your comments... Ian - some really interesting thoughts. In fact, I'm looking at this more from the perspective of creating a "company's" blog strategy more than my own personal blog strategy. You gave me an interesting thought. Perhaps in the future one "employee benefit" may be that an employer or potential employer promises not to kill your blog regardless of your employment with them or at least promoses to move you and provide a link to the new site if you leave their employment. I know in thinking of company strategy it has occurred to me that when bringing the voices of subject matter experts (SME) as bloggers onto the company external web, I've thought about what would happen if said SME changes jobs within the company, no longer wants to blog or leaves the company. My thoughts have been that since the blogger is primarily blogging about a subject that they "could" potentially be replaced by another SME or maybe you shut that blog down and offer visitors some other blogs they could visit with similar content or maybe from the start, you do group blogs so that if one blogger wants out the entire blog isn't hurt. Well - just some of my thoughts. What do you think?

Thanks for checking in with me.
Sher Taton

Friday, July 01, 2005

Blog Strategy Hosting blogs on company site or 3rd party site

I've already broken the rules.

It has been 6 days since I last made an entry so I've already broken one of the cardinal rules of blogging. You must make frequent blog entries. I've been really busy - really! I'm in the middle of a global team reorganization, I'm moving my entire On Demand Business site from one agency to another, I'm doing blog evangelism around IBM and organizating Blog Enablement Day for Marketing Communications professionals, while keeping the site fresh and interesting and pulling together what I believe is the first business blogs for IBM on

Speaking of this, one of the key thoughts I've had in my mind lately is the pro and con of hosting blogs on your own URL. I've come up with a short list but would love to hear some comments on this.

Advantages to building on your company URL:
1) You already have time and money invested in building traffic - if you put them on site outside you will have to work to develop traffic to a new location.
2) Blogs can help with your organic search or Search Engine Optimization of your site
3) Blogs provide new, timely and updated content to your site thus providing more content to your readers and giving them reasons to return frequently.

Disadvantages to building on your company URL.
1) You have to build the blogging capability into your infrastructure where as it is easily available outside.
2) Possibly increased legal exposure for the company?
3) A blogger on your company URL may be considered a company "shill" whereas if they are on an external URL, even though identified with your company they may be considered to have a more "neutral" voice.

What do you think? I would really like some thoughts on this.

Thanks for checking in with me.