Late last year, Apparel ran a good article on How Bloggers’ Influence Can Benefit Fashion Brands that is worth a read by all Supply Management Professionals because blogs can be used to influence more than just consumer trends in brand preference. They can be used to influence trends in technology, transition, and even talent management — the three T’s of the modern Supply Management organization. How? We’ll get back to this — first we’ll discuss the article.
The article notes that leading creators and distributor of fashion are working with bloggers big and small in both traditional media (TV, Radio, etc.) and new media to get their brands out there. Why? Because, despite the rumblings that “blogs are dead” now that we have the Twitter-Generation who believe that conversations can happen in 140 characters (and to whom I respond ha ha ha Ha ha, ha ha ha Ha ha, ha ha ha Ha ha, heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh), they are doing better than ever. The links have shrunk (thanks to temporary link shortening services), the virtual access locations have changed (as many people read them in a central online access point like Google Reader or their own RSS feed manager), and the promotion strategies have shifted (from SEO and sites like Digg to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter promotion), but blogs are stronger than ever. Established authorities are read day-in and day-out and draw a more regular audience than some newspaper columnists as more and more people go on-line for their daily dose of content. Plus, since bloggers have more freedom to choose whom they do and do not work with, and what they do and do not promote, than advertisers, readers can trust that the blogger is promoting his or her opinions and not that of the company (unless the two happen to sync up).
And the proof that blogging is mainstream is in the pudding — if there are agencies that can make a profit simply through the promotion and management of independent bloggers, willing to work with companies and brands they identify with, that shows the acceptance of the medium. No one stays in business supporting a medium that isn’t supported. And since more of these firms are popping up, it’s obvious that blogging is mainstream — even if it isn’t on Facebook.
But the real point is that many people trust independent blogs for advice more than they trust mainstream media, which needs to be heavily supported by advertisers to stay in business, and, in essence, often needs to promote some of those views and products whether or not the media outlet personally supports or identifies with the views and products it is promoting. This is what gives blogs power of influence, and that power of influence is not limited to brand. It extends to technology, transition, talent management, and other forms of thought leadership. An idea astutely put forward on a blog can often take hold faster than an idea put forward by a vendor who obviously wants to promote a product or service. And that’s why organizations need to work with great bloggers to advance the level of practice in their industry. Unless the blogger can put forward the idea in a clear, well-thought out, and defended manner, the message will be lost and the organization will be better off focussing on brand (and sales) than thought leadership.
But fortunately for Supply Management organizations, product, and service providers, there are a number of great bloggers in this space. And if these organizations are as great as the bloggers, they will learn to make better use of them both as outlets for best practices and inlets for thought leadership in their organization.
That’s my virtual 2 cents. Any differing opinions?