Monday, March 10, 2008

Employee blogs: Just make sure you aren't the fire hydrant

The jury is still out on whether employee blogs are a good thing.

While some companies are terrified of employees blogging, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Iams, the dog food company, is studying employee blogs as a way to communicate with consumers and fight bad press. One of those blogs is written by Iams' customer service rep, Bev Van Sant. Bev, and her dog Bailey, are Iam's own crusaders, fighting for all things doggy and looking out for attacks on Iams.

Ms Van Sant's blog My Fire Hydrant opens with this great quote ...

"If a hydrant's in front of a particular dog's house, he goes out every day, lifts his leg, establishes his turf, communicates his thoughts as best his little doggie mind knows how, maybe tries to show he's bigger than he really is. Others may participate, but it's his show. That's a Blog." --Leigh Allen, Dayton Daily News September 24, 2005.

Bev's blog is very personal, she talks about her dog Bailey's fight with the Big C, about her dog, about everything really. But along the way she also stands up for Iams.

"Ms. Van Zant, whose blog is her own and not part of any official Iams strategy, also says that when she finds negative or incorrect statements about Iams elsewhere on the Web, she posts responses on those sites in an attempt to set the record straight. Most important, she clearly identifies herself as an employee of Iams," says the Journal.

To my mind, having someone like Bev in your corner is a powerful way to counter outside critics, especially the malicious ones.

Of course, there's always the risk that Bev may get annoyed with Iams and lift her own leg ...

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online blog editor Julie Power, Monday March 10 at 1.30 p.m.



Fredrik said...

One of the big issues with employee blogging and any other source of social media is that it becomes useless fodder during the work week. However, statistics and general word of mouth shows that people are more trustworthy of a personal blog of a peer than a well-thought out business object marketing plan. Nobody wants to be marketed to these days and having employee blogs is a great way to be "part of the conversation."


Bev & Bailey said...

OMIGOSH! How nice of you to post about my blog!

I don't so much look for the negative stuff as try and let consumers see who I am and by extension to see that Iams (AKA P&G Pet Care) is also group of employees who care about dogs and cats (not just some big, inanimate business entity).