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Company Blogs Bring Radical Transparency

Business Edge has a great article on how company blogs–especially CEO blogs–can be used to communicate with stakeholders.

The article is packed with valuable insight and pretty much summarizes the benefits–and potential pitfalls–of a corporate blog.

Dell has particularly impressed me with their radically transparent approach to corporate communications. When Dell laptops started bursting into flames, it was Dell’s chief blogger, Lionel Menchaca, that published the video online.

“Our legal people and others were e-mailing and calling and asking me: ‘What are you doing? This is bad. You can’t do that,’ ” Menchaca says of his post on the Direct2Dell blog last August. “But I said: ‘This is what blogs are about. Everything has changed. We have to be transparent and honest. People are talking about this, they’re posting these images, we can’t ignore it. We have to deal with it directly.’ ” With the backing of founder Michael Dell, Menchaca weathered the internal storm and, as it turned out, won accolades not just from Dell customers, but from the business community over how the company managed to stickhandle around a disastrous public relations event.

When a crisis happens, it can often be diffused by being open and honest about the events. It’s when companies clam-up, that they tend to feel the heat from the blogosphere.

  • http://www.alibiproductions.com Drew Stauffer

    So true. It would great to see other companies adopt this mentality.

  • http://www.lff.com Fitness guy

    We’ve considered this at my company, but the unmoderated blogs would be impossible.

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  • http://www.u-g-h.com Owen

    Great post. Seth Godin always has brilliant posts about the subject and his take is that you should always take the bull by the horns, accept responsibility and start a dialogue with your customers. Corporate blogs provide a valuable tool which, if harnessed, can provide an unprecentended level of transparency in a company’s doings, which translates directly to trust which affects the bottom-line.

  • http://www.hackerswisdom.com HackersWisdom

    Although some sci-fi novels very pessimistic about the future (such as George Orwells – 1984, or The Matrix), because the possibility that technology will allow total control, I believe the contrary. The true, straight and direct democracy is possible only via sharing; sharing our knowledge, view, info, etc. Technologies such as blogging makes it all possible for communities to make this happen.

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  • http://blog.cre8asite.net/bwelford/ Barry Welford

    A great post and a great topic. Perhaps I can add a related thought. I found the Business Edge article via Techmeme and now via your blog, Andy. Otherwise I would not have seen it since it does not have a RSS news feed. That’s my radar screen on the world. If there isn’t a news feed, I am very much less likely to see it. With Google Blogsearch, a blog with a news feed has instant recognition. That’s another powerful factor in suggesting a business blog is what every company should have.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Barry – good point!

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