I was reading the posts on Marriot on the Move (Marriot’s corporate blog), and I can’t help but feel that “hey, this is a wonderful organization!”
For example, in one recent post, Mr Marriot started by sharing:
It was my father who coined the phrase, “Take care of the associates, and they’ll take good care of the guests, and the guests will come back.” Most people might think that only means customer service, but it really is the mindset of how we do business.
In that post he goes on to share about the safety and security plan that were made for each of the hotels, and how it came into real use when hurricane Wilma struck Cancun.
Things like these safety plans will probably never ever make it to a press release or the mainstream media, simply because the mainstream media is primarily focused on reporting things that would interest the general public. On the other hand, it would also not be likely that Marriot is going to go around marketing themselves on the basis that they have detailed safety plans.
But now through the corporate blog, we know how much attention they pay to details. We know why the hotel rooms are worth every cent we pay for.
After following Mr Marriot’s blog for a while (even though I was reading passively most of the time, not contributing comments), I now feel I know this organization better, and yes, I do feel I want to stay in one of their hotels the next time I travel.
Have you followed any corporate blogs lately that influenced you?
that’s a great sharing of personal experience and i can see how effective their blog was. Although, i’m not sure how many will bother searching for prospective hotel blogs just to determine whether to stay there or any other product for that matter. Think the basis of any corporate blog to be effective, it must provide content that users will want to know and from there learn more abt the company. It cannot be the other way round….
James, actually it can be seen from two perspectives, and in both situations your strategy of “provide content that users will want to know and from there learn more abt the company” works well.
Marketing, afterall, is about connecting the dots from what the customer wants to what your company can provide 🙂
For an already well know international hotel line like Marriot, their corporate website is normally already very well visited by their customers or potential customers. With this, a blog can serve to further engage the customers in conversation and encourage feedback – in this case, the “provide content that users will want” is already in the corporate website, and “learn more about the company” is in the blog.
For a small startup, a corporate blog can serve (and they do perform very well) as a platform to incite discussion about a particular topic related to what the company is doing, since frequently updated content is the best food for the search engine crawlers. From the blog, they can then promote their corporate site.
In this case, the blog and the site switch roles. “provide content that users will want” is in the blog, and “learn more about the company” is in the corporate site.
Quote LifesPerspective: “iâ€™m not sure how many will bother searching for prospective hotel blogs just to determine whether to stay there or any other product for that matter.”
I don’t agree. Imagine first that you are a consumer, going to a foreign country for the first time, and have no idea where to stay. Friends’ advice and travel guides aside, the easiest way to get the information you want is to just Google it.
Would you visit the official hotel sites? They all say the same thing. No matter whether you are 6 stars or 1, each hotel trumpets that they are the best, which, at the end of the day, doesn’t do much for consumers trying to decide.
Now, imagine you are the service provider. You’re the best hotel in the world. But if corporate websites are to be believed, then so is every other hotel in the world.
You have all the “content that users will want”, but it’s not saying much.
How can a corporate blog differ? It’s interactive, therefore the views reflected are more credible.
Because corporate blogs allow individual consumers to comment and question the content, you as a consumer know it’s not copy-writing fluff. If it is, the comments from other readers will show. (unless the comments are moderated, but there’s really no running away from bad press in this age of the internet)
Ok, this comment is getting way too long. (Sorry, Kian Ann!) For a more detailed write-up on our views on corporate blogging, visit the Media Xyndicate site. I’ll try to put something up regarding this over the weekend.
In a nutshell: Corporate blogging can open a can of worms for the company. There are only 2 sure-fire ways: 1) Making sure your product/service is so perfect, no one is able to find fault with it, or 2) Hire the best branding consultants *cough hint hint cough* to run it for you. The best copy-writers, corporate blog managers and branding specialists will be able to craft your blog so it becomes the ultimate communications package to reach out to your core audiences.
And don’t forget to drop us a line while you’re at our site!
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Hi Kian Ann, was away for a long time but managed to come back to commenting again.
I think the Singapore blogosphere is really sadly lacking in examples of corporate or CEO blogs. The only notable one was that of Tan Kin Lian, who has since left NTUC Income to become a freelance consultant (and hence not quite a corporate blogger). There are of course lots of entrepreneurial (or rather technopreneurial) bloggers out there amongst start ups like pit stop cafe and others.
My dream is to see more mainstream organisations in both the public and private sectors embracing blogging as a channel for more interactive, human-to-human communications. I guess the paucity of such corporate blogs also represent an opportunity for blogopreneurs like yourself. Game for the challenge?
Indeed, the Singapore blogosphere really lacks corporate blogs – in fact, up till now, the only “bigger organizations” that have adopted blogging is National Library Board. The other ones I know are smaller firms, and sadly most of them are doing Internet related services like webhosting.
With this, I also think that it could be the culture in Singapore is suppressing this possiblity for interactive and transparent communications. What do you think?
Hi Media Xyndicate,
Thanks for the loooong comment! I really appreciate it! Sorry for not being able to respond immediately!
Well you are right that corporate blogging can be a can of worms for an organization. Every organization has flaws and things that people can point out and gossip about – and in the blogosphere, word travels fast.
It is an attitude companies must adopt when they decide to start blogging – that negative feedback is also feedback, and if blogging is opening a can of worms for the company, it only means that they indeed have a can of worms in the company!
While a corporate blogger might need to note his words when writing on a corporate blog, I think there isn’t a need for a professional copywriter ro public relations person to manage the blog, and that is the whole idea of corporate blogging – direct communications!
Hi Kian Ann,
I agree that that’s how corporate blogging should be. But it would be naive for us to believe that that’s how it really is.
For example, the Prime Minister’s Rally is an occasion where he address, and communicates with us directly. Do we really believe PM Lee writes his own speech?
A shoe salesman who went to Africa came back reporting “There’s no marketing for shoes. Nobody wears shoes.”
A different shoe salesman came back saying “Huge market! Nobody wears shoes!”
The challenge is to figure out the point at which the market adopts this medium.
The issue here really is identifying who should, could, would be blogging.
MX, there are always companies that have the resources to engage the professionals to manage the public relations, and like what Harro mentioned, the issue is identifying who really wants to blog – “blog” in the sense of having transparent communications without the intervention of a third party.