I’m in the Guardian newspaper (free reg required) today, in a story on companies listening to blog chatter (or barking):
There are well over 35m blogs on the net. Keeping abreast of all of them is impossible. But Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a New York firm, has developed an expertise in monitoring blogs – it works for 150 of America’s Fortune 1,000 firms.
"It’s a new culture, a new world," says Nielsen BuzzMetrics’ marketing vice-president, Max Kalehoff. "For every company there’s a huge, long tail of blogs with many, many niches."
He maintains that although blogs can be a thorn in the side of carefully nurtured brands, they can also be useful in alerting executives to hazards ahead.
"Take a packaged foods company making a decision worth hundreds of millions of dollars about which vegetable oil they’re going to use," says Mr Kalehoff. "They might want to check what people are saying about the different varieties – which ones are rumoured to cause cancer, which are bad for the health. There are early insights out there among often passionate communities."
It is taking time for bigger firms to catch on. "Most Fortune 1000 companies are not of the cultural mindset where they talk directly to their customers," Mr Kalehoff adds. "They’ve built so many walls and silos that they’ve lost that direct communication."
Welcom to real-time brand management!