Leadership, Social & Cooperation

Pseudo senior manager blogs

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2011 ……


This is part 1 of a 3-part series on senior manager blogging inside the enterprise. Part 2 Reality Check. Part 3 A Paradox?

Where are the real web logs?

It’s easy to forget that the word “blog” originated from “web log”, meaning a journal or diary published on the web. The idea of “web log” underlines a key requirement for a blog. It is supposed to be the “voice” of the blogger. Remember the Vichy blog fiasco on the worldwide web in 2005? Today, something similar is happening inside companies.

In the case of Vichy (division of L’Oréal, world leader in cosmetics) a blog was launched as part of a marketing programme for a new anti-aging cream. Claire, the blogger, wrote about her experiences daily as she used the cream.  In reality, “Le journal de ma peau” (“the diary of my skin”) was written by an advertising agency and Claire did not exist. Blogging by companies was relatively new back then, and L’Oréal, one of the early adopters, reacted well and apologised, admitting they had not understood the blogging ethics. They rapidly reinvented Vichy blog in true blog spirit and even published photos of the Vichy team themselves.

At the time I talked with an internet strategy manager in a global company who had invited L’Oréal to come and talk to their marketing teams about their experience and what they had learned. It’s always gratifying to see pioneers who make mistakes be willing to share with others. You can read a case study written at the time by Shel Israel.

What were the clues that the first blog was not real? Comments were filtered, only the positive ones were published and Claire was too young and beautiful to be using the cream!

Not many senior manager voices

Today, internal blogging by senior executives is fairly new for companies. Out of 440 companies surveyed at the end 2010 (in last year’s Global Intranet Trends survey), 35 percent had senior manager blogs on their intranets. However only 20 percent said the blog posts were actually written by the senior manager and only 10 percent said employees could make comments or ask questions on the blog.

We can conclude that only 10 percent of the companies surveyed at that time had authentic senior manager blogs. The other 25 percent had pseudo blogs, similar to “Claire of Vichy”, but with communication departments playing the role of advertising agencies.

Do you have authentic senior manager blogs on your intranet or inside your digital workplace?