4 Corporate Blogs Worth Emulating
Blogs are powerful marketing tools that allow you to reach, educate, and build relationships with your audience. That said, not all blogs are created equal. You might be doing more harm than good if you haphazardly manage a corporate blog in the same manner your cousin does his microblog. If you want to launch a killer blog (or rework your current one), you'd be wise to study the big innovators in the corporate blogging space. These four companies leverage their blogs to market, engage, and improve their brand to the greatest degree:
1.) Starbucks: My Starbucks Idea
The largest coffeehouse company in the world taps into its caffeinated clientele’s thoughts through its ‘global brainstorming platform’, mystarbucksidea. Mystarbucksidea doesn’t really look like a corporate blog since it is not used as a verbose promotional platform. Instead, mystarbucksidea puts the customer’s voice at the forefront. Visitors have the ability to log in to post an idea that is subject to the Starbucks community’s up or down vote a la Digg or reddit. Popular ideas appear front and center on the homepage, where they can be filtered by popularity, category, or time frame.
Where the blogging magic happens is when Starbucks directly responds to ideas. If one of the ideas becomes a reality, a Starbucks blogger will tell the community about it through a quick post. Of the most popular ideas of all time, a large number have actually made their way into stores. Large initiatives such as the Starbucks customer rewards program and small touches such as free birthday drinks both have roots on mystarbucksidea. Thanks to WiFi in all their stores (another mystarbucksidea dating back to 2008), the website itself, and some caffeine, Starbucks has created an idea portal that is honest, cheap, and highly beneficial to the brand.
Key Takeaways: Solicit Ideas, Act, Respond
2.) Southwest: Nuts About Southwest
Southwest is often used as the shining example of transparency and consistency in an industry that is notoriously opaque and inconsistent. The Southwest blog, called “Nuts About Southwest,” does an exemplary job leveraging various social media channels to amplify a brand message that’s lighthearted and decidedly un-corporate.
My favorite part of the blog is the “Southwest Social Stream”; basically an aggregation of the brand’s social activity across Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Pinterest, and Instagram. The Social Stream is an awesome way to observe the way Southwest engages with customers. The Social Stream makes everything from customer service responses, opinions on the NFL, and thoughts on Bloody Mary’s highly visible.
Key Takeaway: Integrate Relevant Social Content
3.) Whole Foods: Whole Story
Whole Foods has positioned itself as a sustainable, community-focused, grocery store. Whole Foods is concerned with supporting local farmers and engaging a health-conscious customer base in constructive dialogue. Their blog features a clean layout with tons of great expandable information. The design of the blog mirrors the values of the brand--simplicity, quality, and conscientiousness. Yes, the Whole Foods blog is conscientious by allowing for tons of filtering, tagging, and easy access to archived material.
The Whole Foods' blog encourages participation and allows users to easily connect with the brand on their other social channels. Recipes and testimonials inspire users to buy groceries and create a Whole Foods meal. Whole Foods co-CEOs, John Mackey and Walter Robb, have an active presence on the blog--weighing in on the conversation with videos and traditional posts. The CEOs use their personal voices to humanize the corporate side of what has become a large and successful brand, as well as align themselves with the values of their socially-conscious clientele.
Key Takeaways: Reflect Your Core Culture, Educate Your Audience, Link To Social Channels, Be Personal
4.) Disney: Disney Parks Blog
The Disney brand is ubiquitous in the United States and constantly growing its worldwide presence. Consumers are accustomed to seeing the finished Disney product, whether it be a film, a ride, or a toy, but rarely understand what went into it. The Disney blog attempts to demystify the brand by revealing some of the secrets behind the ‘magic.’ It peels back a layer in an attempt to normalize and inspire.
Additionally, the Disney blog serves a corporate social responsibility objective, but does so tastefully by showing rather than telling. Posts are incredibly rich, by incorporating in house videos and images, and shareable by integrating with Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Key Takeaways: Go Behind The Scenes, Incorporate Videos and Images, Make It Sharable Via Social Media
How can you create a truly awesome blog?
Magnify the customer’s voice like Starbucks, make it integrated across many social media channels like Southwest, align with customer values like Whole Foods, and peel back some layers like Disney. Basically, be transparent and engaging. Finally, social media can be a huge asset in achieving these ends.
Recognizing the importance of the blog as a platform for brand expression, we would like to emphasize our compatibility with the popular blog services Wordpress, Blogger, and public Tumblr pages. The same visualizations that make our client’s websites dynamic and engaging can also live on a blog.