Bill hits the nail on the head:
Corporate culture as it’s manifest in most companies is so profoundly the opposite of being straight forward, direct and plain speaking that even when people within that world make a genuine attempt to be direct and honest, they can’t. They simply don’t know how. They have a very difficult time wrapping their minds around the idea that the way you communicate with family and friends is exactly the way you should communicate with customers and bloggers.
Mike’s chimes in with:
The first step is simply getting companies to recognize the fact that they can no longer afford to ignore the impact and influence of micro media. The second step… is to begin listening to what people are saying. Finally, the third and most tempting, yet challenging, step is for a company to engage in the conversation. Here’s the problem: Companies, particularly the PR and marketing folk within them, see the “buzz building” potential with new mediums like blogs and thus they skip the first two steps and go strait to step three: engaging. And while some may be able to successfully pull this off, most fail miserably.
Great insights from both. For many, blogging is this shiny new toy that carries the same cachet that email did or websites did when they first sprung into existence. The idea of talking to your customers on equal terms – not condescending to them – not kissing their ass – is both common sense and revolutionary all at the same time. It’s amazing how people react when you treat them like real human beings and stop trying to control their responses, access and communication.