Tag Archives: corporate blogging

Leaving Kansas City

My life as a telephone resident of Kansas City, MO is over.

As you may remember, Sprint thought I was enough of an influencer that they made me a Sprint Ambassador back in March. [catch up on the story here and here.] Earlier this week, I started to make a call and the recording told me that I was no longer in the network.

My 6 month ambassadorship almost ran 8 months and it was a good experience except for one thing. The number. I have repeatedly said and blogged that it was ridiculous for someone in Kentucky to have a Kansas City phone number. The number limited the “influencing power” that I could have had with the phone locally. I really didn’t give out the number much except for here on the blog. Several blog readers called me which was interesting. And I used the phone almost exclusively for all my business and personal long-distance. But it would freak out the good folks here in the 270 area code when I would roll off 816-352-2009. One woman I called locally here thought I was a telemarketer when she saw my number on the caller ID.

But I will miss the phonee. It was a good run. I’ll really miss the wrong numbers from people in Kansas City. I had some good conversations with them.

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Various and Sundry

There was an episode of the short-lived sitcom, Just the Ten of us when Coach Lubbock built a homemade skateboard for his son. The coach thought that something he built would be cool to all of his son’s friends. The kid lashed out right before the tender caring lesson portion of the episode with “Don’t you get it?! A wooden homemade skateboard is just LAME!”

That’s kind of like Wal-mart building a social networking site for teens with limited capabilities and the expectations that the youngsters were going to talk about how cool Wally-world is.

Oh wait, Walmart did do that. And it flopped last week. Hard.

They should have listened to the smart marketing bloggers right before and during the launch.

I’m still waiting for the part of the show when the bloggers sit down on the bed next to Walmart and have the tender caring lesson portion of the episode.

“You know, Wally. It’s not about just having the tech tool to “connect” with the community and going out and trying to be something you’re not. You’re not MySpace and you’re never going to be. You just be yourself. A monopoly that destroys small towns and is slowly unraveling the American economy and your Mom and I will love you just the same. OK?”

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Marketing with Blogs in Bowling Green KY this Tuesday

A reminder…

Corporate / Business Blogs (Marketing as Conversation) is a topic built for companies who currently don’t blog and are not taking an active part in the blog conversation. It’s part blog-primer and part blog-evangelism.I’ll be presenting it this Tuesday in an open public appearance at the Professional Marketing Association meeting in Bowling Green, KY at 11:30a. The program is free and you can have lunch for a nominal fee. Directions to the location and other info can be found on the PMA website.

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Sprint Phone Update

As you may remember, I’m a Sprint Ambassador in Kentucky with a Kansas City phone# (816-352-2009). Go figure.

Recently, Joseph Jaffe precipitated a Brandweek article that discussed the program. Highlights from the Brandweek article (subscription required)…

  • Sprint Nextel is assessing a recent promotion in which it tried to get free publicity in the blogosphere by giving top bloggers free phones and service.
  • The Sprint Ambassadors program, which is currently wrapping up after launching in January, was de-signed to promote Sprint’s Power Vision network, which offers music downloads, live TV and multiplayer games over mobile phones.
  • In all, about 400 people signed up for the program, said a Sprint rep. “We wanted to take a grassroots approach and give the phones to those people who were most likely to benefit and try to use the services,” the rep said.
  • Sprint launched the service last fall with no advertising.
  • The program netted the term “Sprint Ambasador Program” 389,000 hits on Google.

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Another Corporate Blog Disaster

I would think after the Captain Morgan blog and similar corporate/marketing blog disasters that businesses would have learned one of the 1st rules of corporate blogging…that fictional characters CANNOT blog.

But hey, why learn from others mistakes when you can make your own?

The Pink Panther launched a “blog” this month. Surprisingly, he talks alot about insulation. (New hot tag! – )

Which reminds me of my favorite (and only) Pink Panther joke….
Q. What did the Pink Panther say when he stepped on an ant?
A. Deadant… Deadant… Deadant… Deadant… Deadant… Deadant… Deadaaaaaant… Deadant… Deadant… Deadant…
(sing it and you’ll get it)

Afraid your organization / business will be making big corporate blog mistakes? I have a new keynote presentation thats geared to organizations/groups who don’t know much about blogging as a marketing function, but need to. It’s already tentatively booked with two groups in the coming months. Here’s the “official” description…

Corporate / Business Blogs (Marketing as Conversation)
You’ve heard of blogs and maybe you’ve even read one, but have you ever considered blogging as a part of your marketing strategy? You may not realize it, but corporate blogging is an easy way to do something that marketers have strived to do for years. Did you know that even if your company doesn’t have a blog, blogs can still influence the success or failure of your company? Are corporate blogs just the latest business trend that will soon be yesterday’s fad?
Chris Houchens will discuss how blogs can be used by an organization in either a marketing or corporate sense. His presentation will address the past, present and future trend of blogging as a marketing tool and will highlight several real world business blog successes and failures. Learn the challenges and opportunities of using a blog to promote a business and learn the dos and don’ts of the blogosphere
.

If you’d like to book this presentation or would like information about any of my speaking topics, please visit my website.

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Sprint Swag

A corporate blogging strategy is now essential for larger companies.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that a company should hire a full time blogger. What it does mean is that a company should monitor what is being said about them and know how to relate to the blogging community.

This is a tale of two telecoms and their corporate blogging strategies. I blogged earlier about how AT&T found out the hard way that the blogosphere bites back.

A better corporate blogging strategy is the Sprint Ambassador program.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail invitation from Sprint saying they’d read my blog and wanted me to become a Sprint Ambassador. I was a bit skeptical at first. As other bloggers have said, the e-mail looked and felt like a scam. But after some research and advice, I signed up for the program. About a week ago, I received a FedEx box with a free Samsung A920 phone loaded with 6 months of free Sprint PCS service.

Sprint has been peppering the blogosphere with free phones :: HughJaffeJarvisRubelOthers

Bloggers are very open about the minutiae of the their lives including the cool new phone they are using for free. The Ambassador program is a smart move for Sprint since bloggers will talk about it. Sprint is bypassing the media gatekeepers and influencing word of mouth directly with the target audiences. They will have to accept the good, bad, and the ugly comments about their phones and service. (And also accept dissection of their marketing strategy from marketing bloggers!) An absolute pre-requisite if you’re going to implement a corporate blogging strategy like this is to have an amazing product. You’ll be eaten alive if it’s not.

And it is a neat phone. It does everything you could possibly think of….camera, camcorder, email, text messages, internet, media, etc.

There are troubles though….
I’ve been given a Kansas City phone number which is a bit of a problem since I’m sitting in Kentucky. It’s unfair to expect my friends and business associates to spring for a long distance call to Kansas City unless they have an unlimited long distance plan. If they do this to all Ambassadors, it will severely limit the buzz.

However, I’m looking to the sunny side…maybe I’ll get a speaking engagement or a marketing services client in Kansas City in the next six months. If you’re in Kansas City, let’s talk!

I’m even going to go Scoble on everyone. The number is 816-352-2009. Call between now and August 2006 or you won’t get through.

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They just don’t get it

Move over Captain Morgan and Juicy Fruit, there’s another corporate blog disaster coming.

Chrysler has launched a blog called The Firehouse. However, you have to login and register before you can see it. I particularly like Points #4 and #11 in the TOS you have to agree to:

4-Blog administrators retain the right to ask the user to re-write a proposed submission to comply with the rules of the blog before being posted.

11-The FireHouse.biz is not intended as a forum for outside suggestions,
including but not limited to those which pertain to vehicle design, product
attributes, marketing or advertising, and no such material will be posted.

Actually I urge you to go read all 13 points and the legal disclaimers in the “agreement”.

It’ll be fun to see what kind of disaster this turns out to be. Perhaps Snoop should have given Iacocca some more advice on the golf course… “The blog-bizzle ain’t controlled by the man, Fo shizzle, I-ka-zizzle.”

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