Showing posts with label Marketing-B2B. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marketing-B2B. Show all posts

Brand Engagement



How to stay professional, but still create a personal connection to express your appreciation to B2B clients ?

Challenging isn't it ?

The key word here is Having an Attitude of Gratitude, and following will help :

1) Send a Handwritten Note
2) Invite Your Client to an Industry Event
3) Send a Personalized Gift
4) Make Them Laugh
5) Help Them Learn Something New
6) Pay It Forward with a Great Book
7) Reward the Socially Savvy
8) Remember Your Long Distance Relationships
9) Offer an Upgrade
10) Refer Customers

Adobe Stock Apparel SS16 Lookbook

If you're a marketer, you've experienced the pain of sorting through seemingly endless pages of bad stock photos in search of one that just isn't too awful. To promote their new stock photo service Adobe Stock, Adobe partnered with Swedish agency Abby Priest to develop a tongue-in-cheek fashion line that features outdated, overused stock photos.

You can see the full Adobe Stock Apparel lookbook here.


B2B Marketers: If Your Markets' Needs and Behaviors Have Changed... Why Hasn't Your Marketing?


Reports, statistics and factoids are marketers' best friends. After all, data gives us information from which we glean intelligence to build our business models, marketing strategies, plans to increase market share and programs to cut through clutter. And rock-solid data is the fuel we need to drive change within our departments and across our organizations.

Bigstockphoto_mixed_business_people_1270445Devoid of statistically sound findings, however, we're left relying on gut feelings and our personal views of how we perceive things to be... which can turn out to be perfectly correct or miserably myopic. So research gives us insight, reduces uncertainty and lends credibility to our business arguments.
And that brings me to the facts and findings from the just-released Consumer New Media 3-Part Study (by Cone Inc.), which are too good not to share--but I'm going to do so with a bit of a twist. As the report is aconsumer-oriented study, I'm going to extrapolate some of the study's findings to cite implications forbusiness audiences. Because the fact is, B2C gets the lion's share of social media marketing attention and while B2B social media studies are popping up more, B2B folks still have to dig deeper for social media data that speaks to the needs, challenges and profit potential inherent to professional audiences.

*Online Brand Engagement* 

    • Fact: "Almost 80% (78%) of new media users interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools, an increase of 32% from 2008 (59%)."
    B2B implications: As consumers go, so too with professional audiences (uh, the Internet and email, anyone?).  And while consumers use their computers and Web-enabled mobile devices for entertainment and other tasks throughout the day, professionals are all-out tethered to their computers at least 40 hours weekly. Thus, adoption rates for B2B audiences are undoubtedly keeping pace with consumers, but professionals are using social media for work-related activities, like researching products, evaluating brand alternatives and informing purchasing decisions... which are mighty important activities for marketers to capitalize upon.
      • Fact: “Users are conversing with brands more often: Some 37% say they do so at least once a week -- up from one in four when Cone did the study last year.”
      B2B implications: Consumers communicating directly with brands is new, some might say it's revolutionary. But professionals dialogue with brands all the time—they always have. Why? Because when professionals make a purchase, they interact with the company that produces the product, service or solution as a matter of course since B2B purchases involve long purchasing cycles, lots of questions and, in the process, developing relationships with those company representatives. B2B branding, in other words is very high touch.
      Moreover, business purchases many times involve aftermarket maintenance contracts which means professionals continue to interact with brand representatives after the sale (How well do you know your copier maintenance guy?). Thus, social media gives professionals an online channel to do the very same activities they've been accustomed to doing offline for decades and is a natural extension to other communications channels.
      *Influence/Power*

      • Fact: "Perhaps the most intriguing part of Cone's data, however, is that consumers strongly believe that new media is a two-way street, with 62% saying they can influence business decisions by voicing their opinions through new media."
        B2B implications: While consumer goods span a wide spectrum insofar as price and risk (a $3 bar of soap vs. a $15,000 car), business purchases are, by their very nature, higher in price and risk (a $3 million dollar software integration, a $15 million-dollar piece of construction equipment). And while a consumer purchase affects the individual, or their whole family; a business purchase, affects an entire business department or the entire enterprise.
          The point here is that positive and negative opinions posted online by professionals go a long way and hold HUGE influence in how other professionals perceive (and, yes, purchase!) brands because professionals are always looking to lower risk since purchases affect their jobs, other employees and the organization. *Purchasing Behavior/Decisions* 

            • Fact: "Consumers are most interested in information that will inform their purchasing decisions. Respondents said they want companies to tell them what is in products and how they are made (85%) and provide additional details about information, labels and claims shared offline (e.g., in the store, on the package, in an advertisement) (83%)."
            B2B Implications: Professionals want the very same information about their purchases--but more importantly, they NEED it. Business purchases are never impulse decisions, they always require analysis and so it goes: the more informed a prospect, the better the chance that prospect becomes a customer. Given that rationale, B2Bs would be doing themselves a disservice (and helping their competitors) by not using these technologies to facilitate purchases.
            • Fact: "30% have made a purchase based on POSITIVE information learned about a product, company or brand; and, 23% have switched brands or boycotted a company based on NEGATIVE information learned about a product, company or brand."
              B2B Implications: If 30% of consumers have made purchases due to positive information learned about a product online, then I argue the same, if not much higher!, applies to professionals. Why? Because professionals place a great deal of clout on third-party feedback with every purchase they make... be the third-party feedback from analysts, journalists, industry thought leaders, colleagues or other professionals.
              As explained earlier, professionals are risk-averse and seek high levels of assurance about purchases beforehand, with negative reviews also of great interest to them as they weigh product alternatives. Now, more than ever, B2B marketers must ensure that (1) their offerings are high in quality, (2) their customer service is operating at optimal levels and (3) all of their marketing messages live up to their claims. Said another way: You can either facilitate positive WOM or negative WOM, the choice is truly within your control.
                *Fulfilling Needs* 
                • Fact: "Consumers still feel companies’ or brands’ top priorities within new media should be to problem solve and provide information (61%, up from 43% in 2008)."
                  B2B Implications: Problem solving and information gathering are absolutely core to B2B jobs and purchasing—after all, professionals are busy and they need information that will help them make decisions quickly and solve challenges even faster.

                  Many of the B2B social media strategies I recommend to clients and colleagues are based around programs that facilitate a high transfer of knowledge and problem solving, as these attributes are valuable to B2B professionals and areas that they consistently engage around (just look at an agenda for any major conference and you'll see that speeches and workshops are primarily based around communicating new opportunities, new methodologies or new ways to solve problems).

                      *Competitive Advantage*
                      • “'Consumers haven’t yet been exhausted by brand oversaturation in the new media space,” says Mike Hollywood, Cone’s director of new media. “There is still an opportunity for forward-thinking companies to establish a presence and earn a competitive advantage. Based on the growth of user interactions with companies, countless purchase decisions are being influenced by new media. It’s imperative to get on board now that the train has left the station."
                      B2B Implications: If consumer audience segments have not yet been over-saturated by social media campaigns--with B2Cs implementing social media programs at exponentially higher rates than B2Bs--then that signals tremendous opportunity in social media for B2Bs. Yet B2Bs wait (and wait!) for others to go first which is ironic since being first is the one of the key factors in gaining a competitive advantage, no?
                        **********
                        Further material can be found @ B2B-centric information archived for you right here.

                        B2B Social Communications| DuPont's Social Media

                        In 2007, DuPont launched five videos on eight web blogs in a marketing program designed to increase share of voice for DuPont on the Internet and to introduce DuPont science to a younger, wired and online generation. The videos were made specifically for online audiences looking for stories told through video which are different and interesting.

                        Tapping into over 40 years of video archival footage, each video showcases how science from DuPont helps to protect people and how innovations developed by DuPont enhance people’s lives. The blogs offered a mix of general and targeted interest audiences.

                        Blogs were selected for this project because they reach a devoted, targeted audience and their audiences tend to talk to others about their interests, encouraging word of mouth.

                        Completing DuPont’s marketing pilot to the blogosphere, videoblogger Amanda Congdon was the on-screen host for the five videos. Amanda is best known for her work on Rocketboom, a popular news and entertainment videoblog. BlogAds and FM Networks assisted the project in distributing the videos.

                        The campaign delivered on three key objectives:

                        (1) increasing awareness for DuPont science,

                        (2) increasing positive sentiment for DuPont and

                        (3) creating stories sufficiently compelling to generate word of mouth.



                        The DuPont Science Stories campaign was one of three national finalists for the Online Media Marketing and Advertising (OMMA) Best Campaign in Social Media Award 2007.

                        video

                        Here is one of the five videos in the series. You can view all the videos in this series at stories.dupont.com, however, I cannot find any link to this anywhere on the DuPont website. I would like to think that if they hold up a two-year old social media program as a success, they would want to continue to tout that success by providing access to the video. Additionally some of the links no longer work, which is another indication that this campaign has been relegated to the backwater of the DuPont website. If you are presenting a case study of an old program, make sure you check all the links on an old page.




                        Blogger notes:

                        Too many industries still consider members of the retail distribution chain to be their customers. The businesses (especially manufacturers) in these industries put most of their marketing budget and effort selling to those who will sell their products. The end-user is almost an afterthought, even though the end-user is the one who creates the demand that retailers fill through ordering the brand the end-user wants.

                        It does no good if retailers buy your products, but they gather dust on the shelf because there’s no consumer demand – because you didn’t create any.

                        It does no good to compete on price point alone, because someone will always undercut you. Rock-bottom pricing isn’t always the basis of a consumer’s buying decision. Even Wal-Mart is positioning its brand as allowing consumers to “live better.” The mega-retailer is promoting the benefit of its low prices, not the feature of the prices themselves.

                        The end-user is your customer. So build brand equity by creating awareness and a sense of community among consumers. Talk to them on blogs and social media outlets, but don’t “sell.” Get them to talk to each other about your brand. Meet them at shows and events, and – if you can – sponsor shows and events. Make your Web site an engaging destination for consumers to learn more and communicate.

                        Worry less about competitors stealing your ideas and beating you to market and more about competitors stealing your market share because they’re better at talking to consumers than you are. It doesn’t matter if that’s the way things have always been done. Things are now being done differently.

                        CASE STUDY PRESENTATIONS

                        Nortel::: Head to head

                        Nortel wanted to expand as an organisation but found its core telecoms business was shrinking. Determined to achieve growth it decided to instead focus its efforts on the entertainment networking sector, dominated by Cisco Systems.

                        With a 74% market share - in comparison to Nortel’s 4% - and an ad spend several times larger than any of its competitors, Cisco could out-manoeuvre and out-muscle the competition. Cisco’s key strategy was to ‘rip and replace’ companies’ existing systems, thereby providing an easy all-in-one solution for the busy decision-makers responsible for the purchase. Nortel discovered, however, that Cisco’s all-in-one solution was ‘energy expensive’, costing considerably more to run than its own offering, and creating a larger carbon footprint.

                        Its launch took place in the form of side-by-side comparisons at tradeshow Interop, where energy consumption meters were used on both Nortel and Cisco switches. Nortel’s product advantage was accentuated by the strategic placement of Nortel’s booth right next to Cisco’s. Print and TV ads asked provocative questions such as: “How much is your network costing you?” But rather than drive people to a website, consumers were encouraged to enter ‘Cisco Energy Tax’ into search engines. Optimised results would bring up a raft of blogs, IT Papers and Videos discussing the issue. An online energy efficiency calculator allowed IT staff everywhere to determine the potential cost savings of Nortel over Cisco.

                        The results of the campaign were emphatic. A $2 million order for Cisco was pulled and instead invested with Nortel – and this became the trend rather than an anomaly. The campaign resulted in a 46% in sales, over three times the stated goal of 15%, taking Nortel’s baseline from $722,000,000 to $1,055,000,000.






                        Nortel "Piles" Commercial



                        Nortel "Holes" Commercial



                        BRAND:Nortel
                        BRAND OWNER: Nortel
                        CATEGORY: Computers/Software
                        REGION:Global
                        DATE:May 2008 - Dec 2008
                        AGENCY:N/A
                        MEDIA CHANNEL

                        Mobile or InternetTVPress

                        Corporate Blog Design: Trends And Examples

                        With tens of millions of blogs online today, major corporations have started to recognize the value of a corporate blog for communicating with customers. However, corporate blogging is far different than the more traditional blogging that most of us encounter on a daily basis. Corporate blogging brings its own unique set of challenges and opportunities that must be considered and addressed by the company in order for its users to have a positive experience.

                        Purposes of Corporate Blogs

                        Probably the most significant reason for companies to manage a corporate blog is the communication benefits it can provide. As a higher percentage of the population uses the Internet for researching and buying products and services, companies can often benefit from having a more direct line of communication with customers and potential customers.

                        1. Communication with customers and the public

                        Hoefler & Frere-Jones Type Foundry Blog

                        While websites in general provide plenty of opportunities for corporate communication, blogs caneliminate barriers and allow a company’s executives or employees to communicate directly with anyone who visits the blog. Those who read the blog will sense a much more personal message in what is generally a more relaxed environment than many other types of corporate communication.

                        Companies that place a priority on communicating with customers through a blog display a certainopenness and responsiveness that today’s consumers appreciate. A blog is able to bring a company and its customers together through the open sharing of ideas, issues, announcements, events and feedback.

                        2. Demonstration of corporate responsibility

                        In some cases, corporate blogs are not used to directly promote the products and services of a company, but rather to demonstrate ways in which the company is giving back to the community or to show that the company is conducting its business responsibly. McDonald’s effectively uses its blog to do just that.

                        McDonald's

                        Corporate responsibility can also be demonstrated by using blogs as a medium for improving products and services and helping customers get more value out of them. A company that truly promotes opentwo-way communication through its blog is demonstrating to customers that it is committed to doing everything within its power to provide a quality product.

                        3. Reputation management

                        The issue of reputation management continues to grow in importance for businesses both large and small. With technology available that allows anyone to post damaging statements online to be seen by the world, blogs provide companies with a way to prevent problems before they happen or help improve situations when it is too late for prevention.

                        Because of the level of communication that can take place on a corporate blog, companies have greater control over the messages that the public receives about the company. They can quickly respond to any negative publicity and can help prevent such situations by adopting an open communication strategy that develops the trust of consumers.

                        4. Promotion of products and services

                        37signals

                        In very few cases, the primary purpose or goal of a corporate blog is to directly sell more products. In most cases, the blog is seen rather as a valuable tool that can indirectly assist the company to achieve more sales, but direct promotion is rarely the priority. However, some companies are able to find creative ways to promote their own products through blogs.

                        In some examples we’ll see throughout this article, companies are using their blogs to provide information or announcements about products, which of course can be done with the intent to boost sales. Some blogs provide content that shows readers new ways to use products or explains features that might not be commonly known. In other situations, products aren’t even mentioned in many of the blog posts but are most likely linked to in some area of the blog, frequently the sidebar.

                        5. Provide executives and/or employees the chance to communicate openly

                        One of the real advantages of a blog to a traditional company website (not to say that a blog should replace a traditional website) is the personal nature in which a writer and reader can communicate and interact. Even readers who do not participate in making comments likely notice that the post was written by an individual, and that individual may be the best way for the reader and potential customer to connect with the company.

                        Bloggers enjoy sharing their thoughts and information with readers, and readers enjoy being able to connect with the writer of the content. A corporate blog can add personality to the company in the eyes of readers, and employees can benefit by being able to express themselves and share with readers.

                        Potential Issues for Corporate Blogs

                        Although blogs provide all kinds of opportunities for companies, there are also several common struggles that can be experienced. In order for a company to have a positive experience with its blog and for the blog to be useful and relevant to readers, the company must consider these issues ahead of time and develop a plan to address and prevent them from happening.

                        1. Negative comments

                        While communication is the major benefit of corporate blogs, it can also work the other way. Not all communication that occurs through blogs is positive. The presence of negative comments may not be a big issue on smaller blogs run by individuals, but they can be a problem for corporate blogs. After all, the company’s reputation management isn’t being helped by a blog that includes a lot of negative comments from readers.

                        In order to avoid potential issues with negative comments, all comments should be moderated for approval before appearing on the blog. This way, unreasonably harsh or profane comments can be deleted without ever being posted to the blog. Some blogs also require users to create an account in order to post a comment.

                        2. Consistent and frequent posting

                        Lenovo

                        Blogs in general, not just corporate blogs, often suffer from abandonment or long periods ofinactivity. While it may be acceptable for an individual to be inconsistent with a blog, corporations could possibly do more harm than good with a blog that doesn’t get much attention. When visitors arrive and see that nothing new has been posted in a long time, it sends the message that the blog is not important to the company and that it doesn’t take this form of communication with customers very seriously.

                        Corporate blogs have a wide variety of posting schedules. Some are very active, with multiple posts each day, while others have posts much more infrequently. Before launching a blog, or when evaluating an existing one, the company should consider what type of posting schedule would allow for the blog to be used as an effective tool for itself and its customers.

                        3. Usefulness of posts

                        Another major issue facing corporate blogs is the challenge of providing interesting content that is useful in some way to readers. Of course, the blog needs to benefit the company in some way as well, so content development can often be a struggle. Although a blog is intended to bring some type of benefit to the company, simply creating posts that promote products or services will draw little interest from readers and will have poor results.

                        Typical content for corporate blogs includes discussion of issues that are relevant to the company or industry, press releases, information to help readers use the company’s products more effectively, and other specific types of content that appeal to the company’s target market.

                        When examining various corporate blogs, you will notice a great variety in the types of content being published and their usefulness to readers. Some companies do an excellent job of adding value for readers, while others are little more than another form of advertisement. Not surprisingly, the ones that have creative solutions to this challenge are usually the most effective.

                        4. Who is going to write the content?

                        Open Forum

                        Although corporate blogs typically include some sort of disclaimer that the information and opinions provided do not necessarily represent those of the company, the reality is that a blog is a direct reflection of the company in the eyes of visitors. Some corporate executives handle blogging responsibilities, but these people are obviously extremely busy with other work, and these blogs are rarely very active.

                        Most companies have employees who would enjoy being able to share their insights through a blog, but the company has to weigh the pros and cons of doing so. A corporate blog is useless without content, so the company does need to consider who will be responsible for providing it.

                        5. Promoting open communication without damaging the company

                        Because of the openness of blogs and because they connect with readers on a personal level, the chance exists that the communication being done through a blog will damage the company. In most cases, companies are careful about who is allowed to publish content, and those individuals may be given restrictions as to what they can say.

                        Some companies have a corporate culture that is more open and are willing to let employees participate in blogging activities, and other companies are more restrictive. Companies face the challenge of embracing the nature of blogging without also bringing some of the baggage that may come as a result of poor choices.

                        6. Lack of focus

                        Simply having a corporate blog isn’t enough. In order to make it effective for the company and for readers, there must be some sort of focus or plan for using the blog to everyone’s benefit. Companies should consider who will be writing the content, how frequently new posts will be published, what types of content will be published and how the content will help the company and readers.

                        Many corporate blogs suffer from poor direction or a lack of focus. If the blog is nothing more than a place to publish press releases, it is unlikely to ever draw much interest from readers, because it really serves no purpose for them. The most successful corporate blogs have a clear focus, and those involved in running the blog understand how they can help readers and the company through their efforts.

                        7. Converting traffic into something useful

                        Blogs may be able to attract visitors and regular readers, but the company still needs to convert that into something of significance. The strategy here depends on the focus and priorities of the blog. If the company’s goal with the blog is strictly to present the company in a positive light and to increase exposure of its actions in the community, then it wouldn’t be necessary to attempt to convert visits to the blog into product sales.

                        Trends in Corporate Blogs

                        Like other kinds of blogs, corporate blogs often follow their own unique trends. Of course, this isn’t to say that all corporate blogs have these things in common, but many do.

                        1. Simple layout, with a lack of visual appeal

                        Adobe

                        Although many companies involved in corporate blogging spend huge sums of money to promote themselves to customers and potential customers, their blog designs are typically very simple. While content is the primary element of a blog, one would think that major companies might not want a blog design that looks so basic.

                        Going against the trend:

                        Nike is one of the few companies that have put more emphasis on the look of the blog.

                        Nike

                        2. Branding

                        Best Buy

                        Although layouts and designs in corporate blogs are usually unremarkable, most companies clearlyattach their business to the blog by branding elements in the design. Most corporate blogs include logos or standard branding that would appear in other places, such as the main portion of a company’s website. Additionally, corporate colors are typically used for the blog design to promote consistency in branding.

                        3. Multiple authors

                        Wal-Mart

                        Most corporate blogs include a number of different writers who work together as a team to provide content to readers. Because these people typically have jobs outside of running the blog, it’s difficult to get a significant amount of content from one individual. In most cases, if the company wants an active blog that includes regular posts, multiple authors may be a more realistic option.

                        How blogs handle multiple authors can vary. Many corporate blogs include a small picture of the author in posts, which can help readers connect with the writer — and, as a result, with the company, too. Some companies have different writers who cover different topics on the same blog, and others separate topics into a few different corporate blogs.

                        4. Networks of blogs

                        Lenovo

                        When companies want to cover a wide variety of content in their blogs and employ many different writers, they will often have a small network of blogs rather than one all-encompassing blog. In these cases, the blogs will be separated according to topic, or sometimes each writer will have his or her own blog. This allows the company to publish more content and be more specific with content so that it can truly be of value to readers — plus, it helps readers get only the content that interests them.

                        5. Few comments

                        Although blogging is intended to be two-way communication between companies and readers, many corporate blogs attract very few comments to their posts. This seems to be in part due to the type of content that is presented. Companies that publish typical blog content that isn’t focused on their products or themselves tend to draw more comments than those that publish corporate announcements or posts that are mainly intended to promote a product.

                        6. No ads except for internal ads

                        The only ads that are typically found on a corporate blog are for the company’s own products and services. This is not surprising, but it is a drastic difference when compared to blogs in general. Because of the specific purposes and intent of corporate blogs, ad revenue is inconsequential, and ads would be a distraction to readers and a hindrance to the company’s goals for the blog.

                        Monster uses a large banner ad on its blog for its own services, but no outside advertisements.

                        Monster

                        7. Links to the company’s home page as well as products and services

                        Every corporate blog will at some point link back at least to the company’s home page, and sometimes to specific products as well. Sidebars in corporate blogs are frequently used to direct visitors to other parts of the company website and provide brief information about products with links to specific pages or sections of the website. Without advertisements in the sidebar, there is plenty of space to do some internal promotion.

                        8. Separate domains

                        What's the Diff?

                        It’s not uncommon for a corporate blog to be kept on a separate domain than the company’s website. There is a good deal of variety in practices with this, and it certainly isn’t the case with every corporate blog, but many companies have chosen to use a separate domain.

                        Gallery of Corporate Blogs

                        Here, we’ll take a look at more than 40 corporate blogs. To start, we’ll point out some that have particular items of interest, and other will simply include links and screenshots.

                        American Express
                        American Express has one of the more impressive corporate blogs. Its blog is part of OpenForum.com and provides information and resources to business owners. The blog at Open Forum is nicely designed and laid out. The sidebar on the left is used to promote some of the company’s products as well as for general navigation. Take a look at the posts and you may recognize some of the writers, including Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin. With the Open Forum blog, American Express attempts to provide valuable information that will help its target market of small business owners, rather than directly promote its own products.

                        Amex

                        McDonald’s
                        McDonald’s Corporate Responsibility Blog provides content exclusively on just that. You won’t find content here about McDonald’s food or current deals, just information on what the company is doing around the world. This blog is a good example of one that has a specific focus and purpose. The design and layout is very simple, but it does include some McDonald’s branding, and it clearly shows visitors that McDonald’s takes corporate responsibility very seriously.

                        McDonald's

                        Best Buy
                        Best Buy has a few different blogs. The Holiday Rituals Blog provides short posts that give information on specific popular products or recommended Christmas gifts. Because the posts cover specific products, it’s puzzling why the product descriptions are not linked back to the main Best Buy website, where those products can be purchased. Nevertheless, the blog has a nice colorful, winter-inspired design.

                        Best Buy

                        Best Buy also has a blog at AskABlueShirt.net that provides information on the upcoming digital TV transition. This blog has a lot of Best Buy branding in the design, including the colors, the logo, and the picture of the worker in the blue Best Buy shirt.

                        Best Buy

                        Nike Basketball
                        The Nike Basketball Blog obviously places more importance on the look and visual appeal of the website than other blogs. The background is a large image of a basketball court, and a big picture of Kobe Bryant is currently in the header. Each post has its own header image, and some include pictures of NBA players who are sponsored by Nike. The content of the blog is primarily focused on drawing attention to athletes who are affiliated with Nike, which would ultimately lead to more shoe and apparel sales, because the players have a lot of influence on sales.

                        Nike Basketball

                        Wal-Mart
                        Wal-Mart’s blog is located on a separate domain, and even Wal-Mart’s branding may be missed at first glance. The content is mostly related to information about products that can be bought at Wal-Mart. Unlike Best Buy, Wal-Mart does link to pages on its own main website, and the Sam’s Club website, where specific products can be purchased.

                        Wal-Mart

                        Cisco
                        The Cisco blog, The Platform, is used primarily to publish company news. There are some informational posts that don’t have to do with the company, but most are Cisco-related. The Platform uses a three-column layout that includes common blog elements, such as a tag cloud in the right sidebar.

                        Cisco

                        Dell
                        Dell uses several different blogs on various topics. Its blog network’s front page includes links to recent posts from across the network.

                        Dell

                        Lenovo
                        Like Dell, Lenovo also uses multiple blogs for different topics. Its blog network’s front page contains links to all of the various blogs, plus it includes elements typical of traditional blogs, such as a Flickr photostream and recent Delicious bookmarks.

                        Lenovo

                        Possibly of interest to Smashing Magazine readers is Lenovo’s Design Matters blog.

                        Lenovo

                        Google
                        The official Google blog is one of the more well-known corporate blogs. Naturally, Google’s blog is hosted on Blogspot.com.

                        Google

                        Monster
                        Monster’s blog also has a design that fits well with the design and color scheme of the main website. Most of the content is geared to job searchers and those interested in career-related information. The header of the blog includes a banner ad for Monster’s resume-writing services.

                        Monster

                        Johnson & Johnson
                        Johnson & Johnson’s blog, JNJ BTW, includes a variety of content, including information on health, social action that the company is involved in and even a recent post that is an apology for an advertisement that some people found offensive.

                        J&J

                        Yahoo!
                        Yahoo! has several different blogs, including Yodel Anecdotal, on which Jerry Yang recently posted a copy of an email he sent to all Yahoo! employees about current layoffs. Yodel Anecdotal has a colorful design and includes content relevant to various aspects of Yahoo’s business.

                        Yahoo

                        The Yahoo! Search Blog is specifically focused on search-related content.

                        Yahoo Search

                        The Yahoo! Developer Network also has its own blog.

                        Yahoo Developers

                        Southwest Airlines
                        Southwest tries to distinguish itself as a company that has a more fun and laid-back corporate culture than other major airlines. The Southwest blog also takes that approach with its design.

                        Southwest airlines

                        GM
                        GM has several blogs for different purposes. Its blog network’s front page includes links to the various blogs.

                        GM

                        FastLane
                        The GM FastLane Blog is dedicated to covering all aspects of GM vehicles. The design uses a bright, colorful background.

                        GM

                        FYI
                        The GM FYI Blog is for GM news, information and opinions, and it is written by GM employees and others.

                        GM

                        Quicken Loans
                        Quicken takes a unique approach with its blog, What’s the Diff? Content is rarely relevant to the company itself but is rather diverse, with a lot of different subjects covered. The blog includes some advertisements for Quicken’s mortgages.

                        Quicken

                        Quizzle
                        Quicken also runs the Quizzle blog, which publishes content related to home ownership and money management.

                        Quizzle

                        LinkedIn
                        The LinkedIn blog has a design that fits well with the rest of the website. The content is focused on providing LinkedIn users with information that can help them get more value out of the main website, which draws more comments than the content on many other corporate blogs. Like some of the other blogs featured here, LinkedIn includes a Flickr photostream.

                        LinkedIn

                        37signals
                        The popular blog of 37signals, Signal vs. Noise, publishes content on “design, business, experience, simplicity, the Web, culture and more.”

                        37signals

                        37signals also has a separate Product Blog that focuses on the company and its products.

                        37signals Products

                        Aviary
                        Aviary’s blog includes content that is actually relevant and useful to users of its products, rather than just posts about company news and information. The design of the blog features a colorful and attractive header, which is appropriate because the company offers browser-based tools for designers.

                        Aviary

                        Best Western - On the Go with Amy
                        On the Go with Amy isn’t a typical corporate blog like many others featured here, but it is affiliated with Best Western. Amy writes about her travels and provides tips to readers for their own travels. The blog uses a fun and colorful design with an illustrated header.

                        Best western/Amy

                        AOL People Connection Blog

                        AOL

                        The Nokia Blog

                        Nokia

                        The Nokia Conversations Blog

                        Nokia

                        Flickr

                        Flickr

                        Facebook

                        Facebook

                        Digg

                        Digg

                        Delta

                        Delta

                        Kodak

                        Kodak

                        Boeing

                        Boeing

                        Sun Microsystems

                        Sun

                        Novell

                        Novell

                        BBC

                        BBC

                        FreshBooks

                        fresh

                        Marriott

                        Marriott

                        Hoefler & Frere-Jones Type Foundry Blog

                        Hoefler & Frere-Jones Type Foundry Blog

                        GE Global Research

                        GE

                        Ning

                        Ning

                        Oracle

                        Oracle

                        Viddler

                        Viddler

                        IBM

                        IBM

                        Toyota

                        Toyota

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