This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Monday, 26 January 2009

More about Blogs

Another piece highlighting the importance of blogs, this time focused on their usefulness in attracting graduates to a company. The rise of social media is attractign increasing attention. I wonder how many South African businesses are starting to take notice? Seems we can no longer hide behind the excuse that blogs haven't really taken off here.... if I find out more I will keep you all posted! (via posts on my blog : ) )

Fin 24
Businesses: blog or bust
Ines Schumacher
23 Jan 09
Johannesburg - Your company may be losing out in the battle for Generation Y if it does not have a corporate blog, according to the latest research by employer branding specialist Magnet Communications. In its annual student employer survey, Magnet Communications established that students and young graduates react well to corporate blogs. "They are generally viewed as less controlled than corporate websites, since information doesn't come from a faceless corporate - giving blogs a high degree of credibility," the report says. A corporate blog is an online space used by a company to communicate with its employees and/or its customers. The concept is not something to be frowned at, since more than 12% of Fortune 500 companies have set up corporate blogs. However, it's not a concept that has had a wide uptake in South Africa.
"Some South African companies are still afraid of the medium because people are saying bad stuff about them," says Mike Stopforth, CEO of social and mobile media company Cerebra. His message to those companies is to give consumers the platform to interact with the company, because the bad comments will still be made on other platforms. The appeal of a corporate blog for potential employees is to get a sense of what a company stands for and the "vibe" of the environment, says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of technology research firm World Wide Worx. "Young people don't want to get the feeling that they're stuck in a prison camp," he says. Of course, there are the inevitable pitfalls. "A corporate blog is only a good strategy if you have the right blogger," says Goldstuck. "A CEO blog is a bad idea if the CEO is a bad communicator or writer and has nothing to say," he says. But handing the blog over to a public relations (PR) company to manage denies the company its voice. "People see through an unauthentic blog immediately," he says. Stopforth says: "If there is major dissonance between what the brand stands for and its voice online, readers are going to push back."
How to do it right
Most importantly, a corporate blog has to follow four simple rules, says Goldstuck.

1. Convey an authentic message
2. Be interesting
3. Don't use the blog as a marketing exercise
4. Interact with the users.

Stopforth would add one other rule to that list: "A corporate blog has to empower its users and involve them in brand-building. That will give your blog meaning." has compiled a short list of corporate blogs that add value to the company, and another looking at blogs that should never have been set up in the first place.
The good and the bad
Samsung South Africa: Samsung's blog is unique in that it engages users with other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as providing some product support. "The authors are fans of Samsung and they are potential new talent for the company," says Stopforth.
Marriott International: A blog by the CEO of a hotel chain. In Marriott on the move, Bill Marriott blogs about the world as he sees it, showing us the humanity behind the brand. Another good CEO blog is Boeing's blog, which gives insight into the workings of the airline industry.
Google blog: A blog where Google employees blog about the working environment. "This blog works well only because Google's corporate environment encourages creative thought and employees feel free to express their views," says Goldstuck.
Sony Playstation blog: Sony harps on about its Playstation and all the latest games it's releasing. This is just a PR blog.
Starbucks blog: Apparently a place for commentary on the brand, but mostly PR material posing as an independent blog.
Happy blogging!

1 comment:

Schums said...

Hi Susan,

It was really interesting to write that story.

Look out for a story on social media coming up late today or tomorrow on by my colleague James Monteiro.