Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fan Sites, Marketing and Corporate Media

On the heels of the report that corporate blogging has been a gigantic flop for marketers,

According to a new Forrester Research report, only 16% of people surveyed say they trust corporate blogs. That makes them the lowest-rated source of reliable information among 18 categories Forrester asked about including Web portals, print newspapers, radio and personal blogs.
a MySpace exec has some sage advice.
A MySpace executive suggested Tuesday that using lawyers to shut down unauthorized, consumer-generated fan sites on the social network is a grave mistake. Instead, marketers should look to engage the creators and turn them into brand evangelists.

An example could come with sites for Pillsbury Doughboy or Green Giant set up by individuals who admire the icons. Those people may have a mass number (well into the thousands) of "friends" or fellow fans linked with their MySpace locales.

General Mills, which markets both brands, might be concerned about preservation of band equity. But Jay Stevens, MySpace's vice president of international online marketing, said marketers should embrace the opportunity to turn the site operators into potential influencers.
The hilarity of a Pillsbury Doughboy fansite or blog aside, this is reminiscent of record and movie company battles against social "swapping" and online resources, rather than embracing and incorporating them into the marketing paradigm. Odds are, these avenues of networking are not going to disappear. Corporations have a choice: Fight a losing battle endlessly into the future, or accept the loss of gatekeeper status and embrace the new media as part of a reformed marketing scheme.

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