Branding as blogging; blogging as branding
By Amy Ellen Soden, Staff Writer
The idea of a blog in itself is a forward-thinking mode of communicating in today’s business landscape. With 70 million worldwide WordPress blogs, 69.4 million Tumblr users and 4 out every 5 Internet users visiting blogs during their web browsing sessions, it’s clear that the blogosphere is representative of a massive base for brands and consumers.
If 36% of social media users post brand-related content and 99% of bloggers read other blogs, then there’s certainly a place for e-branding via blogging within the digital landscape as posters become readers and readers become posters. People who use social platforms tend to be engaged in others’ work and are keen to connect – a powerful insight for all businesses to remember. A blog really can become a brand or vice versa with elements of fluidity and flexibility changing the nature of business communications that used to be static and very much set in stone.
An Image Speaks a Thousand Words
Think about it this way; Pinterest has earned a steady following and solidified its brand through an image-based sharing platform, and yet its company blog is a marketing staple of their website. Sharing user stories, providing tips and tricks for personalizing their Pinterest experiences, and taking the time to interview creative professionals from all walks of life are just a few of the ways that Pinterest has leveraged “the blog.” The company’s value statement on the blog homepage says it all: “Here you will find stories about the latest happenings at Pinterest, and how you’ve turned your inspirations and dreams into reality.” That story-telling touch is what sets the social network apart from competitors. Pinterest’s commitment to “bring[ing] you pinterviews with interesting people, information about new launches and pinteresting trends to help you discover the things you love” is extremely user-focused and actively persuasive. Even for a brand like Pinterest, a picture may speak a thousand words, and yet they still take the time to craft their blog as an effective branding and marketing tool.
Writing the Brand
Southwest Airlines, not unlike Pinterest, demonstrates how blogging is for all businesses, in any industry. So what do a picture-based social media platform and an American airline have in common? Their blogs rock — plain and simple. Southwest imbued a handcrafted company blog with humor, wit and an easy tone that nobody could resist. People started talking about the blog, people started reading the blog, people started talking about Southwest Airlines, easy. The blog couldn’t be clearer about its stance on user engagement: “You are the ‘other half’ of this blog, and our Team can’t wait to communicate with you, so get busy posting.” Their blog emphasizes employees’ commitment to always “try[ing] to Live the Southwest Way by displaying the Warrior Spirit, acting with a Servant’s Heart, and embracing a Fun-LUVing Attitude” that is mirrored across their blog posts and company brand. Southwest decided that their industry didn’t need to determine their brand or how they marketed it, and they’ve very much succeeded in breaking that barrier that so many businesses still face.
Consumer Commerce to Brand Blogging
The takeaways are simple: blogging has re-shaped what brands look like by inviting collaboration from the masses, and opened up a web 2.0 platform for advertising at no cost to the companies for those who often know best – the consumers. In the right hands, this conceptualization of brands and advertising could go a long way. The simple act of storytelling, whether it’s for a consumer brand, a tech company, or a not-for-profit, elicits a response that is as tangible as it is invaluable. So the blog is here to stay, and businesses can brand and re-brand indefinitely. The brands that have blogs understand the answer to one critical question that all business owners should ask themselves: Why not tell a story about what you do and ask your viewer how that story ends?
Amy is a recent graduate of the Sauder School of Business holding a Master’s degree in Business Management as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She is interested in marketing & advertising, PR & communications, arts & culture, and new business development.
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