Fortune 500 corporate blogging: Bob Lutz GM, Jonathan Schwartz Sun, Randy Tinseth Boeing

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/11/04 1 views

in c blogging - case studies,c corporate blogging,d business Fortune 500

    Post addresses why neither Mario Sundar from Linkedin with his blog, nor Eric Schmidt the Google CEO with his commentary in the Financial Times as of November 3 should use their positions in the blogosphere or business community to influence today’s presidential election in the U.S.
    Check your corporate blog’s impact by entering its URL at – track your blog’s performance.

Recently I discussed some of the issues that Fortune 500 bloggers should watch out for, including but not limited to:

Fortune 500 corporate blogging – Boeing, Chevron, Sun and Wal-Mart

Fortune 500 corporate blogging – Nike, SAP and Texas Instruments

Today I expand this issue a bit discussing points 7 – 9 whilst looking at GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, CEO Sun Microsystems – Jonathan Schwartz’s Blog and Randy Tinseth, (vice president, marketing) Boeing Commercial Airplanes blogging efforts.

7 focus on quality – posting less frequently

I hear too many bloggers advocating frequent postings as the measure of your blogger credentials. The challenge is to post meaningful content that does not overload your readers.

a) managers and professionals you may want to reach are likely to have limited time to consume your content, and

b) the busiest people typically have the most insight to share but frequent posting keeps key senior executives and thought leaders out of the blogosphere

Hence, your targeted reader may have neither interest nor time to read more than one of your quality posts each week. As well, those that write insightful blog posts may only have time to do that once a week, maybe even less frequently.

As an example, of the maybe 60 or so Fortune 500 firms that have blogs, senior corporate bloggers are far and few between.

All three, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz and Boeing’s marketing VP Randy Tinseth post regularly, sometimes once a week or every two weeks. I am sure that their readers can manage to study the material they get from these bloggers. Hence, posting regularly but not too frequently means your readers have the time to study your material, thereby assuring a greater impact for your posts.

8 encouraging the adoption of corporate blogging across your enterprise

Consumer adoption of the social and mobile web is high. In contrast, Fortune 500 corporations have been slow so far.

Perhaps the first place to look for corporate adoption is not within the marketing department. Instead, adoption might come from workers within the enterprise. In some companies internal usage of communities and social networks are already underway.

Why not empower your employees to be innovators. Daimler just did that (see happy birthday Daimler – blog that rocks) to test the waters with a corporate blog accessible from beyond the internal network.

In all three companies, GM, Sun Microsystems as well as Boeing, there are numerous people blogging whose content is available on the intranet or in fewer cases on the Internet. Here we can say that adoption has started but it is still limited when it comes to c-level blogging (chief information officer, chief executive officer …).

9 focus on the topic – stay away from commenting on the US election

For many of us who are not voting during this year’s presidential elections in the U.S., we are all pleased to see that it is just about over. This leaves more room on the daily news to address other important topics, such as the disastrous refugee situation in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the city of Goma or the financial crisis and looming recession, of course.

Nevertheless, the U.S. presidential election is a good example for illustrating why a blogger should focus on what she usually posts about (e.g., social networking and marketing) even during these events. In fact, corporate blogs should address issues that are of interest to their readers and stay away from commenting on political issues. All three, Bob Lutz, Jonathan Schwartz and Randy Tinseth did not cover the U.S. election once in their postings the last few weeks I checked.

Nevertheless, some well-known business blogs may post material that supports one of the two candidates. For instance, Mario Sundar (he describes himself as Evangelist & Chief Blogger at LinkedIn) posted Yes You Can! Vote Obama!

Mario Sundar’s blog is what I call a business blog (e.g., a professional blogging on her own domain about an industry or her work). Hence, it is his private blog and not a corporate blog. Nevertheless, when you state up front that you are Evangelist & Chief Blogger at LinkedIn, the corporate brand is mixed with your personal brand. Therefore, the question is if a blog post about a candidate for the U.S. presidency benefits LinkedIn.

However, American executives are willing to voice their opinions about elections. For instance, Eric Schmidt recently wrote:

America will find opportunity in scarcity – Financial Times – 2008-11-03, p. 11

Even the disclaimer at the bottom of the article is not satisfactory:

This article expresses the personal opinion of Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google. The company has remained strictly neutral in the presidential campaign.

The problem is that neither the editorial staff of the Financial Times nor its readers would have cared to read this opinion piece, if Mr. Schmidt would have been “Joe the computer shop owner from down the street.” By mentioning the brand Google, its CEO and the firm can be rightfully accused of interfering in the campaign.

PS. Just imagine a CEO of one of the FT Global 500 in The Netherlands, Germany or Switzerland writing a commentary that promotes one candidate for a very important public office over another – the protests could be heard all the way to New York. The damage to the corporate brand this would cause cannot be underestimated. It is also another example that while Google’s mantra of not trying to do any evil is great, unless it is being followed from the CEO down it may not even be worth the paper it was written on.

I believe that business bloggers as well as Fortune 500 bloggers should stay on track and refrain from going astray. Hence, if your blog is about your company’s products or a topic such as marketing, environmental issues or building cars, focus on that. Yes, address regulatory issues that concern your business but do not promote one candidate for public office over another.

Yes, the above paragraph also applies to you if you prominently feature your employer on your private business blog – focus on the usual content and do not get your international readership and those voting for other candidates upset by posting material about your favourite may that be Barack Obama, John McCain or somebody else.


I invite you to share your thoughts please – leave a comment. What is your take on this?

  • ErvinTW

    Thanks! Nice post.

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