Besides being considered rude by some attendees, something else happened at BlogOn which disturbed me and that was the number of times I heard traditional marketing executives talk about how they want to use blogs to extend their intergrated marketing solutions, thus extending the brand.
This just won't work, and hopefully it never will. Let me tell you why. Integrated Marketing Solutions, are an attempt to take a series of messages and push them out to a company's constituency. They are devised and polished by committees, then the work is divvied up by ad and PR vendors as well as internal folk. The key to it is to puish the message out and this is supposed to improve brand awareness. We'll get to that latter thought in just a minute.
Blogs are an example of from one-to-many communications. They fail when they push. They are downright assaulted by a great number of blogosphere denizens when they appear crammed with the marketing jargon of yore. Hugh McLeod finds such blogs and gives them Lame Awards, which is as damaging as a bad review of a Broadway play in the New York Times.
Back when I was taking Marketing 101 courses in college, I was told that brand is about how people feel about your company. To an increasing degree, Integrated Marketing Solutions, make people feel distrustful of companies and corporate messages.
Conversely, the success of blogs comes from the concept that people respond best to quiet speaking that informs audiences and triusts them to make wise decisions. They help brands in ways you cannot imagine by letting people see real, fallible humans doing real jobs. They build trust.
My advice: don't try to integrate your blogs. Trust your employees to talk and they will most likely behave in trustworthy ways. Trust your target audiences to be intelligent and they will become your champions and that is a powerful way to build your brands.