The Consumer Electronics Show is a big deal for companies like Panasonic who typically put it all on the line to generate a buzz about their products at the show each year. This year, Panasonic has engaged the help of influential bloggers to help jump start word-of-mouth marketing around its offerings at the show.
Top blogger, Greg Verdino’s, consulting company, Crayon, is helping Panasonic boost the online buzz by providing five influential bloggers whose job is to attend the show and blog about what they see, particularly related to Panasonic who is footing the bill for their attendance, equipment, and expenses.
At first glance, Panasonic’s use of bloggers might be seen as buying influence, but Greg Verdino is quick to point out that the bloggers at the Consumer Electronics Show on Panasonic’s dime are not required to write positive reviews about what they see from the company. The assumption by Panasonic, of course, is that the bloggers will like the new electronics products they see from Panasonic at the show and will write positive things about them. Influential bloggers can have a significant impact on the online conversation, and sometimes a mere mention of a brand by a top blogger can mean a big positive or negative effect to sales, depending on what the blogger says.
The key for brands to succeed is to let the bloggers and online consumers take control of the conversation. Consumers can spot online content that was paid for by a sponsor brand, and the top bloggers are unlikely to agree to write anything but their own opinions in order to preserve their own reputations and personal brands. Panasonic seems to have the right idea, and recognizes the need to allow bloggers the freedom to write what they want about their brand. The company is confident in the products its delivering to consumers and believes that will translate to positive reviews by the bloggers they send to the Consumer Electronics Show.
It’s a lesson for all brands to learn from. There is no doubt that the blogosphere reaches a broad, global audience, and the most influential bloggers can start conversations about brands that directly impact companies’ bottom-lines. The question is whether or not companies are willing to give up the control necessary to let those conversations thrive in an honest and open manner. Panasonic is giving it a try. Is your company ready?
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