by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology
A short time ago there lived a small company. The company was built on good old fashioned values and honest pluck. Over time that company grew and grew and grew. Then the company became so big that it was the largest retailer in America. All their employees seemed happy to work there. They offered unbeatable prices and friendly smiles. They served a sorely neglected portion of the population -- and they won the people's hearts because of that. Today, we call that company Wal*Mart.
Then, some not-so-nice things started happening:
- Old Jed's Hardware store hung out their "going out of business" sign because they just couldn't keep up with the price war.
- Mary Jo and Bobbi Sue started to lose touch with old friends. Once they used to bump into them at the weekend sales at the shoppes downtown, now they go to the 24 hour superstore at different times on different days.
- The big company started acting as the moral morality for the population by only providing media and publications that met their corporate governance's morality standards, but they made sure that Sam Jones could still buy his rifles and cigarettes.
- There were whispers and rumors that those smiling employees weren't really that happy after all. Many allegedly didn't have health insurance and were paid very low wages.
Then along came a fresh, new retail upstart. The people liked their fresh, off-beat commercials. That little doggie is CUTE! Their red logo was an eye-catcher. They started partnering with major, high-fashion designers for clothing, make-up AND housewares. Now Bobbi Sue can look almost like that fancy lady, Victoria Beckham. They started giving away 5% of their weekly income to worthy causes - almost $3 million a week! This upstart started gaining more and more market and mind share. People even gave it a French sounding nickname. Oh joy! Today we call that company Target (or Tar-zhay if you're nasty).
Wal*Mart was determined to nip this in the bud. We can't have this upstart company taking over our market! We were here first. We'll show them...
We'll launch a BLOG.
At first, we'll just use it as a PR engine. We'll let our employees blog, but we'll watch them like four-eyed corporate hawks. And, our customers comments will be approved only if we agree with them. Humph, THAT should turn things around!
Six months later...
Umm..That's not going to cut it. Nope. Nu-uh. You gots nothin'.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, a blog cannot fix a company that has internal and industry challenges.
If you have profound personnel issues - don't launch a Facebook group - bring in a top-notch coach to work with all your employees.
If you have serious supplier issues - don't start a community - find a supply-chain consultant and hire them.
If your company isn't being kind to the environment - don't create a podcast - start a small, but effective green initiative.
I have always said that you can be dumb as a bag of hammers and people might suspect that you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but no one would ever conclusively know. That is, until you open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Bottomline: If you're known as the company that sucked America dry, don't start a blog. You've got bigger fish to fry.