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Blogging isn't easy. Setting up a blog is easy, but the actual writing requires a certain level of effort, creativity and the ability to filter and grok an unending torrent of information....



Anyway, as corporations wrestle with establishing ROI and start up their own blogs with varying success, Vespa outsourced it.
Now this is ancient news in the blogosphere, but worth repeating: July 1st 2005: Piaggio USA launches customer-written weblog.
Vespa said: "This summer, Piaggio USA is tapping into one of the latest and most promising of the emerging one-to-one online communication channels--blogs--in order to help consumers better understand how scooters fit into their broader lifestyle.....Four special brand ambassadors have been handpicked to blog on two separate subjects. One of the blogs, Vespaway, focuses on urban mobility and is now live; it will include articles, tips, tricks and links on the latest tools that help individuals get around any city more quickly, easily and enjoyably. The other, Vespaquest, will address 'life's journeys', and will help readers learn how to get from point A in their lives to point B, both literally and more 'existentially'; it will launch in mid-July."
The inherent benefit of having a customer written blog that fits very nicely in the culture of the blogosphere is authenticity. It's built in. No need to worry about coming off as a corporate shill.
Even if you actively sponsor it, promote it, even pay the blogger (I'm a big fan of paying bloggers), as long as it's all above-board and you don't try and impose any editorial controls, you will still score highly on the authenticity scale. (Much better than Sony trying to hire unpaid interns to promote its bands on MySpace.)
Vespa seem to have gone about it in the right way, they found some already established blogs on Vespas, and struck a deal with four blogs that they liked and were well-established.
I can't imagine a blogger that is talking about a brand being anything but thrilled at being approached by the company to be a brand ambassador. At a very basic level, Vespa will ensure that those blogs stay alive and updated... I mean love can only sustain you for so long. :-)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karl Long, straight talk, critical thinking, and strategic vision. Karl is fascinated in what happens and what value can be created "in the space between" customers and businesses, it is this space that customer experience happens, brands are built, value is co-created, and sometimes customers are let down.

Karl likes to focus on these areas and is a passionate believer that companies that pay attention to this space, like Google, Netflix, Amazon, ikea & ebay, create the strongest brands that essentially market themselves.

Karl writes the number 2 site on the topic of customer experience at blog.experiencecurve.com - customer experience strategy est. 2003, where he explores the marketing, branding and design implications of customer experience.

More recently Karl started up CustomersOnfire.com - microbrands & micromarketing to explore what he thinks is next generation marketing and branding that will rely on non-traditional marketing channels, like blogs, social software and co-created content.

Karl holds an MBA in Design Management from the University of Westminster in England and currently lives in the South of Florida for his sins.

Feel free to get in touch:
karl.long@gmail.com



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