Major Danish company thinks blogs are unimportant

I nearly choked on my coffee when I read todays paper.

The Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende had a story on how companies in Denmark thinks about blogs and here the journalists had interviewed (among others) Danish Crown – the world´s biggest meat exporter – and a associate professor from Copenhagen Business School (CBS) – Henrik Merkelsen.

Both believe that blogs not something you should spend resources on. As the communication director of Danish Crown Anne Villemoes says to the paper

“..we don’t meddle in such media”

I must says I’m very surprised – and it gets worse…

Henrik Merkelsen says the following

“Not many people read blogs, so the damaging effect is very limited”

I’m not sure where those people have been hiding for the last couple of years but I’m pretty sure a lot of people read blogs and that it’s a good idea to meddle in “such media”. The examples of news on blogs turning in to a bad story are countless – think of the classic example of Kryptonite Locks – a small blog post gets picked up by a journalists and then all hell is breaking loose…

And even if the blog is not followed by many people – that’s not important – if it’s the right people then only 50 readers or less is enough to make a disaster (or a success).

I can’t understand their attitude towards blogs – I really can’t. I keep going back to a blog post by Robert Scoble. Here he asks if you are afraid to blog? And he answers “It’s time to get over our fear”.

This was written almost 4 years ago!! And that’s where these people and companies still are. It’s like they still have to be convinced that the Internet is here to stay.

I can tell them a little secret (please don’t tell anybody) the Internet is here to stay and so are the social media. It will change and evolve but it’s here to stay. And it’s getting even bigger and more important each day!

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10 thoughts on “Major Danish company thinks blogs are unimportant

  1. Doug Hay says:

    Blogs have become an important part of the online media. As a USA based Internet Marketing/PR agency we find that blogs have become the “new influencers”.

    Rather than ignoring blogs, progressive organizations are embracing blogs as a way to be in good communication with their various publics as well as affording a simple way for readers to respond and become part of the online conversation.

  2. Hi Doug

    I totally agree. I think it’s sad that companies – especially international companies – think of blogs and social media as unimportant.

    But then again – Denmark are a bit behind in regards to the use and understanding of the power of social media.

  3. Sally Falkow says:

    Two years ago Dell said in effect “we don’t meddle in such media” They said they were not willing to respond to bloggers.

    After two years of Dell Hell they have changed their tune. Now not only do they repsond to bloggers, they have a blog of theri own. And they have a social media site – IdeaStorm – that let’s customers participate in their product R and D. Michael Dell helped Starbuck setup theri social media program.

  4. Henrik Merkelsen says:

    I don’t want to offend you blog enthusiasts, but compared to national nespapers the individual blog doesn’t have that much readers – and impact. It’s true that blogs are sometimes sources for journalists – and then a critical blog can have a great impact. That’s exactly my point. And for that reason businesses should monitor relevant blogs and other websites. And they should constantly make risk/benefit (and cost) analysis in order to decide when and if to take action on a given issue. But it is a matter of resources. And there’s a lot of activily on the web that will never have any impact in the real world.

  5. Hi Henrik
    I don’t think we are very far from each other. We just have a different order of priority. I see blogs and social media in general as far more important than you and therefore I think it will give great benefits for the company if they prioritize it very high.

    And you’re right – not many blogs have the same number of readers as a national newspaper, but some have – http://www.Techcrunch.com is one. And as I wrote – it’s not the number of readers which is important – it’s who. If a blog is read by the right 25 or 50 people – that could mean either a crisis or success,

    Sally Falkow mentioned Dell as a good example of a company which in the beginning didn’t think much about blogs but had to change their opinion after a crisis started by a blogger. I just wanted to make it visible that social media have a lot of impact and it’s not going to go away. In a few years it’s not blogs but something else – it could be Twitter, Plurk, Seesmic, Friendfeed or something totally new. But social media is IMO one the most important things to spend resources on.

    A normal hate-webpage don’t get much attention I agree – but when you use a social media platform you immediate interact with 1.000s of like-minded people and Google LOVES social media and blogs – just try to google your own name. Already on page 2 you find a link to this blog post. And the post is not even a day old. And on the internet nothing disappear…

    So yes blogs are important and worth spending some resources on. But yes it’s a matter of resources – it always is.

  6. Hi Christian,
    We have only recently connected. Nice to meet you! :)

    I feel very strongly about this: New media marketing (social media marketing or whatever you choose to call it) is more than just about blogging. And it is here to stay.

    It’s about the customers having a voice in choosing which brands rise to the top & which they’ll put under. And how should companies respond? Putting out a blog isn’t enough.

    Companies need to do many things:
    1. listen to what’s going on & figure out where their customers are at
    2. get involved in that conversation
    3. embrace their advocates
    4. respond to the feedback of their customers
    5. maintain the dialogue

    Essentially they need to build community around their customers online. I have many resources on my blog – http://conniebensen.com/blog/

  7. Hi Connie,
    Nice to meet you too ;)

    I agree. I chose to use blogs as an example because the original article from the newspaper was about blogs. But you’re right – it’s not all about blogs – there are so much more. But looking at blogs and using them is a good start. Especially in Denmark where social media still is very very young.

  8. Rikke Halberg says:

    Even though I’m one of the guys in the office (here: http://www.rescu.dk ;-)) who tells Christian to stop wondering too much about why the rest of the world doesn’t love blogs as much as he does, I must agree with him in this discussion.

    I must say that I still find your statement rather old fashioned, Henrik:

    “And they should constantly make risk/benefit (and cost) analysis in order to decide when and if to take action on a given issue. But it is a matter of resources. And there’s a lot of activily on the web that will never have any impact in the real world.”

    Sure the should make a risk/benefit analysis. And sure a lot of things happening in the Internet wont have any importance.

    But deciding wether it’s worth spending ressources I would almost always say YES of course! Compared to a newspaper (which is worthless the day after publishing) the internet will probably exist forever. Not only blogs but groups, foras, commentaries etc will forever tell the story about your product, your company, your statements, your past.

    In some way it’s horrible, isn’t it?

    As a professional communicator you have to take this deeply serious. I would hardly never let a negative comment about my company or product stand alone.

    And in the long run it’s getting rather tiring to comment on everything, monitor the internet, comment again etc.

    So if you’re heavily discussed on the internet then what’s the solution to that problem? Make your own blog or forum. Ask people to visit it and read your side of the story. Get a discussion going. The blogs makes it possible for your to be “in head of the agenda”

    It shows that you are an open, communicating organization who likes to here the customers’ opions. Wouldn’t it be worth it spending ressources on getting that image?

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