We had dinner here last night with a familiar face at tBBC HQ: Alan Moore, who blogs for his company, SMLXL.
As always, the food was fantastic, the wine bountiful, and the conversation stimulating. I was slightly cheered when, after Alan pointed out that the word blog is kind of funny and hard to take seriously in a business context, I responded:
Yeah, well, that’s what they used to say about the word Google. Now? Not so much.
I hope that Alan will elaborate on the SMLXL blog on the idea, which he spoke about at length last night, that branding professionals need to move away from the touchy-feely, brands-are-an-opportunity-for-a-social-love-in attitude and address more concretely the financial issues that surround branding. I have a feeling that the brand bloggers in our midst may have a thing or two to say about that one.
One thing we talked about was how certain industries are dying on their feet - and doing absolutely nothing about it. Why? Because they don’t do change - and no, I don’t mean handing out pennies and nickels. For instance, just how many times does the music industry have to get pounded by the dynamic changes that are affecting its bottom line before the guys in charge decide to stop trying to halt progress and start figuring out how to adapt to an evolving world? As Alan put it, they need to realise that the choice is to hold on as long as they can, doing what they have always done, or do something clever and live to fight another day.
For some companies - or entire industries - this means taking an honest, hard look at what’s broken. This isn’t an activity that most will be eager to undertake, especially if it could mean the culling of high-paid executives at the top - which probably has more than a little to do with the fact that these evaluations aren’t done as often as they should be.
What more than a few may find is that the kid who delivers the mail or makes the tea actually has more value to offer them than the MBA-possessing bullshitter with the corner office, company car and expense account. In a similar way, giving the guys on the bottom a voice, especially in a top-heavy organisation, can reveal value in a company that the powers that be never knew they had. Obviously blogs - internal and/or external - are an extremely good way of ripping the top off a company and exposing where the real value lies. And I daresay that the companies that have the courage to do this will be much better off than the ones who are afraid to peel back the lid and find nothing but rot and hot air. But how long will the latter type of company last anyway?