Personal computers + personal publishing = …
There are many companies in this wonderful world of ours who have delivered products and services into the hands of common, everyday people. Some of these people appreciate those products and services.
So what do you get when you put all that in together? Fan’s who post all sorts of things about the product or service sites. Case in point, one great ad for the iPod Mini by George Masters.
Related cases in point, the recent Kottke/Sony issue and aeons-ago Netflix opportunity fumble.
There was a time when conventional wisdom taught us that there is no such thing as bad press. Think that is still the case? I am not really sure there is such a thing as conventional wisdom (or common sense for that matter, but that’s another post for another time). So, given the plethora of “don’t use our stuff or even talk about our company” activity of late thanks to all those uppity bloggers, should Apple go after Mr. Masters?
No, of course not. All Apple has going for them is viral marketing. With 5-ish% of the market, what else are you going to do? It’s too bad that a company’s reaction to fans with production/publishing ability is based on whether they need the publicity. Or at least think they need it. If you put it in terms of, “Would you like people talking about your company,” most companies are going to say yes.
A company should use its fan base. Are there blogs about your company out there? Congrats. Now go build a relationship with those bloggers. Are there blogs out there being critical of your business practices? Congrats. Now go build a relationship with those bloggers.
Blogs by fans may be outside the control of a company (until they decide to squash them via lawsuit), but they don’t have to be outside a company’s ability to positively influence. If your company is not going to have its own blog with which to interact with customers, make sure you are combing the web for the sites that will allow you to do just that. Most of the blogs have comments enabled; start commenting.
And a side note to Apple… When the iPod Mini first came out, I was pretty upset at the price. Specifically the price-to-gigabyte ratio. To me, there was no way in heck or hell that I would ever buy an iPod Mini. That is until I saw Mr. Masters’ ad. As I was watching it I found myself thinking, “Well… maybe…” And who doesn’t want their potential customers at the “wellmaybe” stage? I am such a pushover.