(inspired by this article)
Unfortunately most major brands are still in the dark as to how blogs, bloggers in particular, are influential. The value is not in direct sales, but more importantly in brand awareness to targeted demographics.
As a brand ambassador for Kodak, I integrate the brand into my blog in ways I feel are appropriate for my readers. Once in a while, when the topic arises, I include a personal product discussion, lifecast photos, a contest, a giveaway, or event coverage. At the bottom of my blog, there is single banner to reiterate the brand daily.
Of course the main goal is to drive sales, but not necessarily from the site. Instead, brands want you to consider them when shopping elsewhere among a pleathora of choices. Canon, Olympic, Casio, HP….Kodak wants you to reach for their product to test out before you make a final purchase.
As a result of my partnership, I have received positive feeback from both Kodak and my readers.
So if CMO of Kodak Jeff Hayzlett gets it, why are others so slow on the uptake?
The logic is actually very simple.
A brands sponsoring a blogger is a win-win for everyone:
- Brands partner with bloggers who genuinely like their products.
- Bloggers discuss brand they like and use themselves to educate audience.
- Readers learn intricacies of cool new products they probably would never know about.
- Readers get free stuff and share experience online and with friends.
- Brands spend less money and have more influence in creating loyal customers.
- Bloggers get to eat without clogging their real estate with ads.
Here’s the sad part. Despite the fact that this grass-roots marketing is more potent AND cheaper, media buyers and their brands are still looking to test the waters.
“If you’re a brand marketer looking at this as a creative way of just getting that one-time transaction done, you’re not recognizing the power of social media and how consumers are playing in the marketing space.” — Chris Perry, exec VP digital strategy and operations at Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Weber Shandwick
And anyone in PR will tell you, you need at least 6 months to see results.
My argument for sponsorship is still questionable to CMO’s who want to spend millions on ads for tv in the age of DVR. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. So it’s still a struggle on my end, which is why I spend most days at a desk.
But the tides are about to change as money continues to be tight. Brands will have to venture outside of their corporate campaign box and be inventive. The web is accessible, but creating compelling content for the digital space and an audience with a short attention span is not as easy as it looks.