Blogging on Oz

The Red Couch: Chapter 1

That is why we say, Blog or Die.

Blogging is about to separate companies who have the vision to engage an uncontrolled and ongoing dialog with their constituencies and those who will adhere to all the traditional centralized, homogenized and adjectivized marketing tactics at a company’s disposal: press releases, print, Internet and TV ads, websites, PowerPoint Presentations, Yellow Page inserts, billboards, B-Rolls, e-newsletters, pop-ups, telemarketing, direct mail, spam.

Which of these do you enjoy having in front of you? Which do you believe? Listen to their language and style. Do you, or people you know, talk like that? Do you believe these messages. Do you really think your customers will? When’s the last time you heard about an editor calling someone in your company in response to a press release?

I work in advertising. I understand the tools and tricks used to influence consumers. I’m a consumer myself, albeit in a slightly more jaded “betcha wish you didn’t take the blue pill” kind of way. Who would think that stripping things down to their core would be more effective than dressing them up? Robert Scoble has done the unthinkable with me: he has humanized Microsoft. He has convinced me of something that I always knew but was afraid to admit: companies, especially huge ones like Microsoft, General Motors, Nike, etc, are made up of individuals. It is far harder to hate individuals than it is to hate a faceless corporate monolith.

Our world works because of people like you and me doing our jobs, often behind an iron curtain. If people knew what was really going on they would… what? Perhaps sympathize with you! When did Dorothy and the Tin Man and the gang really get the most out of their Oz experience? When they looked behind the curtain, when they realized that the Great Oz was a falible human being, and that the real power lay in their own abilities…

Well, as corny as that sounds, that’s what blogging is doing to business. It is peeking behind the curtain, no matter how loud the protests. The companies that ignore this can not only be compared to last century’s blacksmiths, but to a fictional emerald fabrication: The Great and Powerful Oz.

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