On cars and bandwagons

Think of a car.
When it was first invented, everybody wanted to sit in one (I assume. Just humour me).
People don’t care so much where the car takes them
Or whether it gives them a quality ride.
It’s just so novel.
In time, when cars become mainstream…
Quality becomes more important. And getting the right directions. Getting to the destination on time. Safety. Fuel efficiency.
When cars in themselves get taken for granted, other things become more valuable to people. The system re-adjusts itself.
Until the next new mode of transport comes along. Then it starts all over again.
The same goes with any other form of technology.
I’ve invented a new term. It’s a bit like a car. Actually, it’s a bandwagon.
The New Media Bandwagon Syndrome.
I’m the last person to be averse to the use of new media, and wouldn’t dream of discouraging anyone from trying something new, if it’s worthwhile.
But we must look at our target audience and think, “Are they likely to use it? Will life be easier / more convenient or accessible / more affordable etc for them if we use new media?”
Technology in itself is usually not the most difficult thing to implement. Especially in a place like Singapore. More often, it’s our own mindset.
If you want to start a corporate blog, ask yourselves: “Are we prepared to allow readers to post comments which may not be complimentary to our company?”
If your answer (or more likely, your bosses’ answer) is “No. NEVER!!! We must look good all the time and never show our vulnerable, human side!!!”, then don’t start the blog 🙂
Dell is learning the hard way but at least they’re publishing lots of comments now and sounding more real.
In fact, having an open corporate blog is an opportunity to get constructive comments. And it’s how you react to negativity that shows how capable your company is of serving your customers. It lets you gather feedback in real time, and build relationships with your customers. And it showcases your responses for the world to see, rather than just build up in some private email database.
People pay lots of money to get feedback and engage their customers in more formal ways. Think of consultants. Focus groups. Surveys, questionnaires and polls.
The same goes for trackbacks which are just a more sophisticated form of comments via other blogs.
Don’t worry about the spam. It happens so often that any reader with a brain will know it has nothing to do with your organisation. (Of course, you should still delete the spam and not leave it there, because it may show you aren’t good at housekeeping.)
If you want to start a podcast, think: “Can we produce enough content that people will actually want to listen to and download regularly? Is our target audience the type that will know how to subscribe to our podcasts, and have the means to do so?”
If the answer is no, you’re better off spending your money and manpower on something else.
That’s all I have to say for today. Overall, I am encouraged by responses around me and there is much to be done. Just that we need to make sure that the ‘much’ we need to do, will be done the right way.