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I’ve written a piece for the Financial Times about reputation management, which tries to boil down the ideas that I’ve been gathering on this increasingly fun subject. It’s on ft.com, though if you can’t get through the password barrier send an email to my colleague Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hook is the Trafigura affair. If you haven’t followed it, an oil trading company was accused of dumping toxic waste in West Africa. It used its libel lawyer, Carter-Ruck, to attempt to gag the Guardian newspaper in London, but found itself being outmanoeuvred by lots of Twitterers who happily tweeted the information it was trying… continue reading
Posted on October 19, 2009 10:05 by David | 0 comments
I liked the survey by Pear Analytics suggesting that 41% of Tweets were ‘pointless babble’. It defined these as “I am eating a sandwich now” tweets: the label is both accurate and refreshingly to the point. It also got the headlines, which was presumably the intention, but the whole study has a lot more than that.
The second most common Tweet is ‘conversational’, ‘tweets that go back and forth between folks’. In other words they are a replacement for email or instant messages. No harm in themselves, but they add to the noise… continue reading
Posted on August 26, 2009 07:06 by David | 0 comments
At our conference last week I asked how many people there thought Twitter was a flash in the pan. A third of the delegates put up their hands.
As I tried to keep up with the main Twitter feeds on Iran last night (go to twitter.com and search for #iranelection), I wondered how many hands would go up now.
I looked at a page of tweets, and after a few seconds a note appeared at the top: ’35 more results since you started searching’. I left for a couple of minutes and it was 270. This was a flood pouring onto my screen.
Posted on June 16, 2009 10:31 by David | 0 comments
As we have spent two months compiling the FT Bowen Craggs index of corporate website effectiveness, which is now out, we are quite interested in getting it publicised around the world. I’m not remotely downgrading the importance of the Financial Times. But it’s good to spread it about a bit in other ways as well.
We’ve been doing our bit talking to journalists around the world, but the really good news for us is that people have been talking – or rather tweeting – on our behalf. Traffic to our site spiked satisfactorily last week, as we expected… continue reading
Posted on April 27, 2009 09:54 by David | 0 comments
My latest newsletter column looks at different YouTube videos, and tries to draw some lessons. I hope it’s useful BUT a day after I wrote it it’s already out of date. I told how two Domino’s employees posted a video of themselves doing horrible things to the food before serving it. My point was that even though they had taken the video down (and been sacked), the video had been reposted and would spread across YouTube virally – you can’t suppress bad news. Well I was wrong, at least temporarily. If you look at the URL… continue reading
Posted on April 16, 2009 21:42 by David | 1 comment
The most intriguing online story of the past couple of weeks has been the way a three minute speech by a little known politician, Daniel Hannan, ‘went viral’ on YouTube. Why, and what can be learn from it? I’ve linked this in my latest column with a look at how the G20 supporters and protestors used the internet. I suspect the protestors have subtle methods that I would be unlikely to spot – using encryption for example – but the main use of blogs, Twitter etc seems to be to provide ‘citizen journalism’ rather than as organising tools. I wrote this piece just before the big demos on Wednesday – there was certainly a good deal of reporting from the protest lines… continue reading
Posted on April 03, 2009 07:48 by David | 0 comments
I have recently worked out a plausible way of keeping track of 20 or so blogs: I use a combination of Google Reader and Google Notes, though sadly the latter is no longer being supported. Twitter should be easier, because the posts are so short, but their sheer volume (and sheer blandness) means I could not possibly keep up with more than a couple of dozen twitterers.
But what about the supply side? Wouldn’t it be nice if people blogged less and twittered less, only publishing things that are actually valuable? Well, there’s not much you can do about that but, if you run a website, there is a rather obvious way of increasing quality: restrict the site’s size. Read my column here.
Posted on March 05, 2009 07:31 by David | 0 comments
I went to visit the Queen of England last week, in her palace. She was there to launch her new website, which is in itself a story. I met Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web, and thanked him for giving me a job. He was very nice, but clearly more interested in how the web might develop as a database (which is after all what he was looking for when he invented it at CERN) than he was in all this Twitter stuff.
Anyway, I couldn’t resist comparing the Queen’s new site with Mr Obama’s. There’s been a lot of praise for that in the blogs, but I’m not sure anyone has done a structured analysis … so I did. Click here to see who wins.
Also in… continue reading
Posted on February 19, 2009 16:00 by David | 0 comments
After all our wittering about Twitter, how does a communications professional use it? Keith Childs is the web and social media man for General Motors Europe, in Zurich. He was behind GM’s much-praised social media newsroom, and is that rare breed: a comms person with great experience in a large organisation who is a bit of an evangelist for social media.
We caught up with him in Amsterdam, and asked him a few questions. Here’s the video.
Posted on February 10, 2009 18:12 by Dan | 0 comments
The media has given itself permission to write infinite amounts on Twitter, so here I am joining in in a new column. I’m wondering what the relationship between web manager and social media manager is, and should be. I’ve got a feeling we’ve got one of those unnecessary gulfs opening up again.
On the media splurge, it is in danger of getting boring, but I suspect we for once can’t finger a hyperactive PR agency. Rather Twitter does its own PR, getting into journalists’ computers and mobile phones, and infecting them. It’s the ultimate viral marketing campaign, where both carrier and topic is Twitter itself.
Posted on February 10, 2009 15:30 by David | 0 comments
… I’ve expanded on the issue of marketing and comms people needing to get their act together. A good example has come from the less than customer friendly approach by Royal Bank of Scotland. It wants to explain its disasters on its site, but mixes a good clear signpost with hard-to-find content aimed squarely at the financial community. It need not be so, as equally troubled AIG shows.
We’ve also got a pack of useful BC Tips. Podcast Alley shows how you should organise a deep directory; McDonald’s blows an opportunity to defend its reputation; Deloitte uses the simplest of devices to add value to its people directory; and Bartolini hangs certificates on its (virtual) wall. Read all about it here.
Posted on January 21, 2009 18:33 by David | 0 comments
Interesting blog post by Chris Brogan asking where social media activities should sit within the company. ‘Is blogging marketing or PR?’ he asks. He’s right, except that I would prefer ‘Is the web marketing or PR?’ The blurring of marketing and comms that a website brings is one of the big issues – but why separate ‘social media’ from the web as a whole? They are all part of online communications, and I find it a little baffling. It could also be why people who insist that they are experts on social media alone could find themselves isolated, as this comment from CNET suggests.
Posted on January 19, 2009 08:55 by David | 0 comments
I’ve had some interesting responses to the piece on social media in our latest newsletter, which rather neatly reinforce my belief that there is a chasm.
The internet manager of an FMCG giant says she agrees with every word, and adds: “Our senior managers keep getting wooed by US agencies who want us to jump on the social media bandwagon with bags of cash.
I want to say ‘Take a deep breath and think of the word appropriate first’.”
But Steve Jackson from Trainers’ House Finland says that while he agree with the chasm theory, “I would also say is that any company dealing with the ?consumer… ”/blog/2009/1/more-on-the-social-media-chasm">continue reading
Posted on January 08, 2009 12:38 by David | 0 comments
The areas we cover – how large organisations communicate online – is not normally associated with the cutting edge. Indeed as I point in my previous post, it would be a big mistake for the giants to leap onto every passing bandwagon (the metaphor makes it sounds as though they would squash it, though most likely they would miss and land painfully on a cactus).
So I’m not making any apologies when I suggest that the things at the top of our agenda will be oh-so-2007 to the folk who really do live at the cutting edge.
I am pretty sure we will be looking at the extended web – which includes what other people call social media, social networking and of course web 2.0. If you don’t know why we insist on using a different term… continue reading
Posted on January 07, 2009 13:15 by David | 0 comments
I have been spending time over the last few weeks going through many blogs that cover ?social media?. This is a significant task, not least because the definitions are so hazy (a bugbear I?ve gone on about before, but won?t here).
I wanted to do this because it seems to me there is a massive gulf between the social media community and the people we work with: web or comms managers in large organisations.
In brief, the social media evangelists ? who tend to be in PR/marketing type outfits and live on the left hand side of America – are saying ?How can anyone not see this stuff as critical??. The comms people meanwhile are saying ?It looks quite interesting, but is probably marginal and has certainly been overhyped… continue reading
Posted on January 07, 2009 13:03 by David | 1 comment
Lots of interest at a recent meeting we held on measuring the return on a corporate website. Not surprising given the imminent prospect of stern-eyed finance directors demanding that you justify yourself. Here’s the piece I wrote for our newsletter.
Posted on December 01, 2008 15:21 by David | 0 comments
This is the Bowen Craggs version of the ‘web 2.0’ piece that appeared in the FT – see previous post. We’ve published it in our newsletter.The main difference is that the graphic is not quite as pretty but possibly more useful – we’ve also added a pdf version to download.
Posted on October 30, 2008 10:57 by David | 0 comments
There’s a piece by me in Financial Times Digital Business this week, trying to deconstruct (and make more sense of) the different concepts wrapped up in ‘Web 2.0’. I’m trying to do my bit to turn it from a bundle of ever-changing ideas to something your average business manager can understand and use, especially to control risk. I’ll be posting my own version soon, but the FT people have done some groovy things with the graphic so I hope it’s worth a look. I’ve written about it before but have been refining the ideas – see what you think.
Posted on October 24, 2008 09:03 by David | 0 comments
I don?t know how many people who run corporate websites have been wondering recently about the future of their budgets, but I?d guess it would run into a few dozen per cent. They probably haven?t heard anything yet ? and maybe they never will ? but it seems sensible to jot down a few ideas in case the boss demands to know why this immeasurable, marginal medium should keep its share of the budget. Here are some thoughts to transfer to the back of your envelope.
1) The web is the ultimate low cost communication medium. You need to keep communicating during a slowdown ? with customers, shareholders, journalists, even people looking for jobs if you?re still hiring. No other medium costs as little as the web. As you… continue reading
Posted on October 17, 2008 15:50 by David | 0 comments
They are going to have to get used to talking to us, and the web is the obvious way to do it. At least that’s a nice theory. I’ve been looking for our newsletter at central bank sites (which in theory we’ve always owned), and have found that the Americans at least are starting to use the web to talk to the public. It takes more than a change in website, of course, it takes a change in corporate mentality – so if openness really is breaking out, maybe that’s a tiny little bit of good news.
Posted on October 01, 2008 15:41 by David | 0 comments
The Olympics are a very handy way of seeing how the online world is moving along – check the rerun of the same events, every four years.
I’ve been looking back at the columns I wrote for Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004), and have compared them with Beijing in our latest newsletter.
On some things I was wildly optimistic (interactive television would be all the rage), and on other pessimistic (this wi-fi thing seems to have possibilities). But I did get one thing right, in the delicate area where commerce and technology collide. What, I wondered in 2004, would happen in 2008 if high quality broadband meant Americans could watch the games on the… continue reading
Posted on September 09, 2008 10:29 by David | 0 comments
Bram Koster, responsible for rolling out a new online brand for AkzoNobel, explains that people not technology are the biggest challenge. Aligning all the stakeholders by providing communication tools is essential for success, but it’s no replacement for face-to-face meetings to gain their buy-in, Bram says.
Read a transcript of this video.
Posted on August 14, 2008 13:04 by Dan | 0 comments
I’ve been looking at Google Earth ‘mash-ups’ – maps combined with satellite images. The ultra-respectable Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, and the Swissly-solid pharmaceutical group Novartis, have both launched them on their sites. The FCO to show off what it is doing round the world, Novartis to point to its offices (you can even get a lovely view of office roofs). As these just fads? Quite possibly, but that does not mean they worthless – I’ve written a column about this in our latest newsletter.
Posted on August 08, 2008 16:55 by David | 0 comments
? if you want their money or their sweat. More and more of them want to feel cool about the social responsibility of companies they buy from, identify with and ? by extension ? devote their careers to, according to Alloy Media+Marketing?s eighth annual College Explorer study. The survey was conducted in the US by Harris Interactive, so it?s a fair bet the results would hold equally true if not more so in Europe.
Whether it?s the best students and most promising graduates (i.e the ones you most want to woo) who feel this way, the survey cannot say. But it has to be worth taking another look at your corporate responsibility section in light of the things the students take as indicators that a company is making ?a positive impact… continue reading
Posted on August 06, 2008 12:53 by Keith | 0 comments
Don’t worry – I’m not becoming a therapist. But I have been wondering about something that comes up over and over again at our network group meetings. How do you get your colleagues – especially your bosses – to understand that the web is no longer a marginal medium? My idea is to deprive the web of one of its main features: that it is almost infinitely accommodating of new content. Make your website a set size, and suddenly its space gets a value – it becomes, in the jargon, a rare resource. I can think of one or two problems (maybe three or four) but if you’d like to read more, see my column in our… continue reading
Posted on July 17, 2008 11:41 by David | 0 comments
Outside the IT sector, corporate blogs are thin on the ground. So it’s intriguing to see that The Coca-Cola Company has started a blog by its company archivist, Phil Mooney. Mr Mooney is a godlike being for the serious Coca-Cola ephemera collectors of the world, and is also a thoroughly interesting person.
When we were in Atlanta recently we pointed a video camera at him and recorded his thoughts – which are very enlightening indeed. The most important point is that Coke regards this as a toe in the blogging water – if it works, it will see what else it can do to get ‘the conversation’ going – no coincidence that this blog is called Coca-Cola Conversations. The other thing that struck us is the sheer amount of time he and his assistant give to the blog; if you’re going to do it, you have to do it properly.
Read a transcript of this video.
Posted on July 03, 2008 16:10 by Dan | 0 comments
Just over five years ago I made the suggestion that was to launch 500 (so far) BC Tips. How about a twice-weekly e-mail pointing to one piece of good practice each time, I said, with some commentary about why we think it?s worth your pausing over on the way to the ?trash? button. The first one went out on 22 May 2003.
We?ve since expanded the brief to cover dumb practice as well ? who wants to pass up the chance to learn from someone else?s mistakes, never mind that the odd turkey is more fun to write up.
Posted on June 19, 2008 15:16 by Keith | 0 comments
We held our first Web Effectiveness Conference in London last week. Lots of interesting people and contributions. Too much to describe in detail, but here are some of the things that made me sit up:
- Shell’s head of web, Simon Saville, went through the process that has led to the creation of a new corporate site. It’s quite startling because it throws many navigation conventions out of the window. One of our mantras is that when it comes to navigation, stick to convention – you’ll only confuse people if you don’t. But Simon’s line is that the navigation is necessary to make the site get the proper messages across. I need to look at it more carefully… continue reading
Posted on June 16, 2008 17:56 by David | 2 comments
What do journalists want from corporate websites? Médard Schoenmaeckers, head of media relations at Syngenta, thought it might be a good idea to find out. So he asked 40 of them, and got several surprises. Hear what he has to say about podcasts, RSS, corporate sites and blogs (the last bit should make you smile).
Read a transcript of this video.
Posted on June 04, 2008 08:10 by Dan | 1 comment
Welcome to the Bowen Craggs web effectiveness blog. Why are we so late jumping on the blog bandwagon? Well, we did have an experiment before and we pulled it for the same reason most people should avoid blogs: we didn’t have time to give it the attention it needed. There are few things sadder online than a blog that has been born, enthusiastically nurtured for a while, then ignored – it’s like a plant that has been planted, watered, fertilised, then allowed to go curly at the edges and eventually rot.
There are blogs that flourish without a huge amount of effort from their propagators – they have become discussion areas, living off the comments that flow in, in some ways more like a forum than a blog.
But actually here… continue reading
Posted on June 03, 2008 06:09 by David | 1 comment