This month’s “Inspirational Brands,” a print magazine supplement to VNU Business Publications, includes interviews with marketing executives in several large corporations who are utilizing new web tools for market intelligence and the extension of traditional brands.
The magazine asked:
Why is online connectivity to your consumers so important for your brands today? What sort of online outreach do you have? Do you try to create a community of users with helpful tips? What do you make of blogs as a tool? [emphasis mine]
Bill Laufer, VP of Convenience Channel & Trade Relations at Anheuser-Busch, Inc. talked about
- viral buzz
- a pseudo mash-up called “Crash the Trailer” in which site visitors can insert their own image into an online movie-trailer for the film Wedding Crashers
- a new collaboration with JibJab to produce branded entertainment that will “break through the traditional advertising clutter and create a situation where consumers are seeking out our message.”
Mike Salzberg, Senior VP of US Sales at Campbell Soup Co. said they use online communication to:
- build relationships with consumers through meeting rising expectations for online services and communication with trusted brands
- to extend and nurture the trust they have established with consumers
- monitor blogs for brand and competitive references and to detect emerging trends.
Salzberg said that “as our key target groups move online – at the expense of time spent with other media – it’s critical that we have a meaningful online presence to achieve our reach objectives.”
Michael Greene, VP of Customer Marketing at the Kellogg Co. said:
- they recognize that many people now use the internet as a primary research tool before making any purchase
- the company uses “on-pack language that directs the consumer with questions or interest to a company web address”
- at the company’s site specialk.com visitors can find product information and a character blog (written by a red headed woman named “Kay”) with monthly posts about being healthy
- web events help create a sense of timeliness and engagement (e.g. The Two Week Fiber Challenge)
I wonder whether blog monitoring at these companies is done using RSS? It’s painful to imagine it happening otherwise. These three large companies appear to be partially embracing some of the ethos and less of the tools of what many people call web 2.0. Here’s how these company’s public sites seem to stack up in some key categories:
A. News section with RSS subscription options?
B. Dialog section updated more than once a month?
C. Comments enabled?
C. Yes, at least there is a forum section where people share recepies.
I can’t believe that none of these companies even offer RSS subcription to their press releases on their media and investor relations pages! Overall, a trip to these sites leaves me feeling condescended to and unimpressed by the way that the rhetoric in the above interview is actualized on the company’s own sites.
Nonetheless, perhaps this is another example of an opportunity for non-market leaders and other organizations to speed ahead of these supposedly optimized corporate behomoths. They know that these emerging media are things they should be engaging with, they are talking about them in trade media, but as of yet they do not appear to be moving significantly on these emerging tools and trends.
Finally, almost every company online that I have ever made a blog post about has discovered the inbound link to their site via a search to RSS feed and posted a comment in response. We’ll see if these companies who talk about monitoring the blogosphere and utilizing connectivity with the market do the same!
Technorati Tags: search, RSS, marketing, research, blogs, web2.0