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Does your CEO read blogs?

April 24, 2009

Or does he treat them all as a time-wasting nuisance?

If you are reading this, you are most likely a blogger yourself and will appreciate the power of the online word.

Still, as statistics go, you are a minority. Try this. Go to seminars and trade shows and ask senior company officials on their take about corporate blogging and see what you find.

I did that before and found most of them thought online hype was a waste of time. Oh they’ll coat the words to make it sound professional and all but read between the lines and the message is clear: only ‘kids’ are into all these ‘websites.’ We’ve got more important things to do.

What’s surprising is to see how most of them have large IT set-ups that could put your company to shame. “Have you heard about Tech Review?” I would ask. “ZDNet? Okay how about Amazon?” And I would get blank looks. When I talk about reviews of their products floating in forums and blogs, the clouds suddenly part. “Blog reviews? Oh those. Haha, do you think anybody takes them seriously? Come on.”

Okay, I must admit. When a CEO doesn’t see the need to take market opinion seriously, then I have to wonder if he’s not setting himself up for some bad mojo coming his way.

Now CEOs are smart people and I’m pretty sure they know exactly why online media is important. They may even know about the social networks’ devastating influence. What I find more interesting is their wager to take reputation out of the success equation.

Incredible? Not so.

Take the automobile industry. Bloggers can write unflattering things about a cheap brand of car but guess what they drive? That cheap brand of car. Why? Because its the only one they can afford.

The same goes with ISPs, gadgets, food, budget airline, whatever.

If you’ve heard of the 80:20 rule, you’ll understand why some CEOs would say: Sure, go ahead. You take the 20% who puts reputation above price. I’ll take the 80% that don’t care.

Which is essentially saying screw the reviews, just give me the money.

You can see for yourself how products that get consistently bad online reviews can also be consistent market leaders. They’re cheap and the most convenient to buy. But average products are boring. Nothing scares a blogger more than to be seen as boring. Bloggers want shiny, new, sensational.

That is why you don’t see bloggers doing Bata shoes despite it (probably) being the market leader in children’s school shoes here.

The unglamorous fact is, 80-90% of the things we use and consume every day are things that are ordinary and hardly worth writing about.

And boy, do the CEOs know that. 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2009 12:19 pm

    also, people don search for ordinary stuff like bata. proton, yes, because there are too many bad things about it that people wanna know more. 😛
    mmm, reviews mostly meant for new stuff anyway. new and popular stuff…….and stuff that only tech savvy folks like. non-tech savvy folks, they won’t go online n search.

    but that is only in developing countries like msia. in places like US, nearly everyone knows how to use internet. few bad product reviews in the internet can mean very bad news for u if u r the owner of that product. also, a lot of famous people are tech savvy (most of them have facebook and twitter)….and they have a lot of followers. compare that with our famous people in malaysia…. mmm…maybe people like Siti Nurhaliza doesnt even know what is Twitter.

    Actually you’ll be surprised. Americans buy Chevrolets like Malaysians buy Protons. They bitch about it but they drive it. Granted there are more online opinions on just about anything (happens where you have a population of 300 million) but prices do outweigh snob appeal for everyday products, especially in these times. One difference though. Consumer advocacy is way stronger there than here. If the melamine case had originated in the US, you would see a drama a lot bigger than the one we saw in Beijing.

  2. LC Teh permalink
    April 24, 2009 4:08 pm

    Well, this country’s CEO didn’t take blogs seriously enough before 8th March ’08 and paid dearly for it.

    And if my CEO read blogs I’d probably be sitting at home writing more blogs by now (if he read enough details to notice the time stamps!!!).

    You could always claim that your blogs are auto-published according to a preset schedule. 🙂

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