There's been lots of chatter around Richard Karpinski's article on corporate blogging. With the ClickZ Blog Conference coming up in June, this area is going to start getting a lot of attention. I think it's about to tip ... (annoying how that's already become cliche). I think the article makes all the right points.
But something is incomplete. It's terrific that some companies are starting to use blogs as a means of marketing and/or communicating with their customers. These companies truly are pioneers. However I think there's even greater potential. Instead of blogging for customers, companies should be creating blog networks of customers. This is one of the things I give Dr. Pepper some credit for attempting. Call it jumping on the band wagon, but I think Richard's Interactive has got something right.
A hypothetical example: Take Lowe's, the home improvement store. Why not create an entire section of their website dedicated to stories their customers tell about home improvement? Mom at Home, Creating Home Decor, Jarrett House North and other blogs discussing home improvement projects could be integrated into the Lowe's site. Not only would Lowe's engage their customers but will help build their own network of blogs. It's not a closed system, but capitalizing on an existing one and helping to build upon it. Of course Lowe's should hop in the game with a couple blogs of their own from their experts.
The advantage to Lowe's: They not only become associated with their customers, but they become highly entrenched with them. The more they are honestly engaged, the better their brand equity... or brand value.