happy birthday to blog.Daimler.com

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/09/30 1 views

in c blogging - case studies,c corporate blogging

    Daimler’s corporate blog will celebrate its first birthday on October 16, 2008. Yes, the employees at Delta, GM, Toyota and Southwest do blog a bit differently than the folks at Daimler AG.

Whenever you start a blog, sometime in the future you have to show that it makes a difference to the bottom line. In fact, your boss might soon ask why she should allow you to spend time and money on writing blog content.

Naturally, the purpose of your blog’s mission should be clear. For instance, you may have looked at one or the other brand and you ask yourself

‘what is the objective?’

Have a look what it looks like here:

Delta Air Lines Blog

Nuts about Southwest

Can you see what the objective is for these blogs?

Can you answer the above question? What we know is that the employees blogging for the above companies do it out of interest. Nevertheless, good blogging is not just about interest.

Effective blogging is about focus. Target audience, topical focus and so forth.

Hence, blogging because your CEO suggests it or the marketing folks think it might help the company’s reputation is nonsense. Neither is it a good idea to start a blog just because your competitors did.

You need a clear and concise answer to these two questions:

1) what keywords are you interested in?

No, it is not about keywords but it helps to narrow down your focus and provides your targeted audience with content that they want to read.

2) what is your topical focus?

Focus on a narrow set of topics. If it is your corporate blog, are you focusing on your customers, suppliers, employees or maybe investors?

Each group is served with different content. Hence, what is interesting to a customer may not be to your suppliers or investors.

What about blog.Daimler.com – does it deliver?

Am 16. Oktober feiert das Daimler-Blog seinen ersten Geburtstag (October 16 will be the Daimler blog’s first birthday). Hence, it is time to have a first look at how things are going.

Browsing the Daimler blog and its various postings does not make it that clear what target audience the blog is after:

– customers who want to learn more about product developments?

– people interested in a traineeship or employment with the company?

– suppliers that want to know more about how things work at Daimler in order to secure a contract?

Having spent several hours on this blog it seems to me it tries to serve all of the above type of audiences.

The blog authors are younger employees from various divisions of Daimler. This is something that happens elsewhere as well as this blog shows:

Delta Air Lines Blog

Nevertheless, the Daimler blog contributors (innovation, products, training) write about fewer issues than the Delta Air Lines folks do.

Hence, Daimler has succeeded in providing a bit more targeted content going into more depth than the airline blog just mentioned.

How does blog.Daimler.com compare to another car manufacturer with its blogging presence? Have a look at the Toyota blog in the U.S.

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.

The latter focuses on new products. In contrast, the Daimler blog also addresses production and supply chain management. Compared to the Toyota blog in the U.S. it is far more low-key about the company’s products than the ‘in your face’ approach Toyota seems to prefer on its blog in the U.S.

For me, the Toyota blog is a bit of turn-off. The Daimler blog is far more informative and low-key. Nevertheless, two factors could help in explaining this difference to some degree:

a) cultural differences – USA versus Germany, AND

b) who stands behind these two blogs – coorporate sponsor = sales versus corporate communications.

Bottom line

Congratulations to the writers at Daimler’s blog for offering many interesting tidbits throughout their first year of existence. Nevertheless, while celebrating its first birthday on October 16 it might be appropriate to address:

– are we reaching those readers (target audience) we want to reach?

– should the focus of topics addressed/covered be expanded upon or narrowed?

– is our content addressing issues pertaining to the keywords we are interested in?

Of course, whatever the answers are to these questions, a rational (i.e. the why) should be provided as well.

Do you have the answers, how do you feel about the blog.Daimler.com venture – care to share, leave a comment below.

Also of interest:
more case studies more about Daimler and Mercedes-Benz

  • http://www.blog.daimler.de/ Nils Koenig

    Thanks for an interesting and insightful post. Maybe I can give a more detailed explanation why we blog the way we do at the Daimler-Blog. We do recognize that we adress (and actually have) a very broad and diversified target group. However, the main objective is (as the name says) to give “insights into a corporation”. If you know Daimler and its story, you will have noticed that Daimler itself is the mother company of brands such as Mercedes Benz, smart, Freightliner and many others. Much of the marketing efforts and of course production & Co are in the hands of the individual brands. So when talking about Daimler, people immediately associate products of the various brands and it becomes difficult to explain what Daimler actually is. Still some core functions such as staffing and corporate communication (press releases…) are in the hands of Daimler. Everyone knows Mercedes, almost no one can really explain Daimler – except insiders. Here we have realized that a blog is a great tool to provide these insights and to show people what Daimler actually is in all its facettes. Take for example the staffing department: applicants’ thirst for infos about the culture of the company that she/he wants to join is huge. There is a high demand for the experience posts written by trainees, interns, and other staff. Here, the Daimler-blog provides content that cannot be provided by the individual brands.
    So we could of course focus on few target groups, but that would be counterproductive with respect to our initial “evangelist” task. Once the awareness is higher, we will be able to differentiate our blogging activities, e.g. have an individual recruiting blog.

  • Urs E. Gattiker


    Thanks for the comment. I agree with your response. All the best with ‘your’ blog.

    I am looking forward to see a special recruiting blog soon :-) However, the point you are making about how difficult it is for a multi-brand corporation to get its message across makes a lot of sense. But while potential job applicants may be interested in job-related information, your potential bus customers (e.g., municipalities) may not.

    Achieving your mission in making it more transparent for others to see and understand what Daimler is all about is, most certainly, a real challenge. Maybe a more targeted approach could accelerate the process.

    Easiest way would be to offer people the option to subscribe to certain authors or categories only. In turn, the RSS feed or posts provided via e-mail would be those I am interested in, such as:

    Daimler buses

    Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.blog.daimler.de/ Nils Koenig

    Hey Urs,
    to be honest, we have been thinking about the feature you describe for a long time – RSS-feeds for authors, categories and even tags. At the moment we are a bit careful because the content produced for individual categories would not be very extensive. Some who subscribes to a recruiting-feed might lose interest soon, if the feed is only serviced every once in a while. But it should be worth trying anyway!
    Cheers, Nils

  • Lisbeth M


    Having taken the time to browse through the site I found that it is most important for Daimler to start blogging like this… get your feet wet, check things out and see what works and what fails. Learning by doing.

    Nevertheless, I have my doubts that people would have a problem if there is not too much coverage (e.g., 1 post every two weeks) for a subject area, such as recruiting. Most people’s problem is that they get too much information. Getting a thoughtful blog post every two weeks will surely get my attention. I prefer that to getting a post every other day that adds little new insight.

    As well, those who want to read all posts can still get that and enjoy.

    By the way, any other languages planned? Soon you should think about that issue. How about English or Spanish considering Daimler’s presence in Mexico, Argentina, UK or South Africa.

    Nonetheless, if you do, I would recommend not to translate the posts from one language to the other. Instead, it might be more beneficial that people write in their language of choice. Nevertheless, than you need a blog domain for each language since having multilingual blogs does not work that well either.

    Happy birthday to you and your fellow Daimler bloggers.


  • http://www.blog.daimler.de/ Nils Koenig

    Hi Lisbeth,
    thanks for your helpful hints. We’re always grateful for any recommendations from readers. I agree that blogging in other languages can definitely not be based on translating the German posts – after all, blogging is all about authenticity, and having the posts run through a translator, would destroy most of the spontaneity of or authors’ work. And with a company as big as Daimler we should have the potential to activate interested employees also in other parts of te world (maybe it might even be easier than in Germany due to different communication patterns and preferences).
    By the way, I posted the extended RSS-feed implementation high up on our to-do-list. So hopefully, you’ll see some progress soon :-)

Previous post:

Next post: