A hypothetical example: Take Lowe’s, the home improvement store. Why not create an entire section of their website dedicated to stories their customers tell about home improvement? Mom at Home, Creating Home Decor, Jarrett House North and other blogs discussing home improvement projects could be integrated into the Lowe’s site. Not only would Lowe’s engage their customers but will help build their own network of blogs. It’s not a closed system, but capitalizing on an existing one and helping to build upon it. Of course Lowe’s should hop in the game with a couple blogs of their own from their experts.
The advantage to Lowe’s: They not only become associated with their customers, but they become highly entrenched with them. The more they are honestly engaged, the better their brand equity… or brand value.
Huh. So what’s the advantage to me? I’m not sure I’m ready to shill for a home warehouse. And, after all, in addition to being a homeblogger, I’m also a peaceblogger. Wouldn’t Lowe’s think twice about pointing to me?
Maybe I’m just grumpy about being hypothetically co-opted by a home improvement store’s marketing plans. But I think that there are real risks to any corporation that would reach out to include their customers’ words and thoughts in this way. Are they prepared for potential backlash if a customer Googles me and discovers that I’m a slightly left of center liberal who doesn’t think the administration is doing the right thing? Or even that I can’t lay bricks?