One of the commenters on my previous post on Yoplait’s french corporate blog, Andy Blanco, notes:
You bring up an interesting point with yesterday’s Yoplait example. Your post spurred me to learn more and I discovered that Yoplait has a franchise system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoplait#Organization). It looks like General Mills could conceivably blog for the US market, Ultima Foods for Canada, National Foods for Australia, etc.
I think this raises an interesting question. If you have a global brand, but marketing is controlled by other corporations in different countries, what changes when just one party decides to blog using the brand while customers from all markets can watch?
Well, this got me thinking. As much as we are focused on corporate blogging in English, the fact is we’re seeing a flatter world with more companies from an international diaspora of companies moving into the Forbes’ 2000 list of multinationals. (For e.g. this year the Forbes 2000 was of companies from 60 countries, up 9 countries from last year).
But do we see the same representation in corporate blogging. For e.g. on the New PR Wiki that tracks corporate blogs, the majority seem to come from US Companies. So, if you’re a multinational wondering how to get into corporate blogging. Here are 3 simple steps to get started:
1. Start at the heart: This is a no-brainer. All companies will start blogging in the language of the country they’re originally based in. As I mentioned, I recently mentioned Yoplait started a blog in French.
2. Follow growth markets: Once you’ve established your blog in your primary language, it is but natural to start creating blogs in other emerging markets for your industry or company. Here’s what Herve from Yoplait’s corporate blog emails me when I asked him about plans for a secondary blog in English:
This was one of the first questions raised by a Yoplait employee in the comment area. So far, Yoplait‘s president has not answererd, but I guess he will. There is no clear plan so far, but I guess that if the french version is a success, the english version will quickly floow.
3. Blog Local:
If you’re starting corporate blogs in different languages your best bet is to get employees from those different markets blogging. At LinkedIn, almost 18% of our workforce currently blogs. Kodak earned a name for themselves with their employee focused blog:
A Thousand Words is, as written in a blog user guide a ‘place for stories for from the people of Kodak’. The stories written by employees are about photography, they provide readers with useful tips, engage them in contests. The blog is not focused on Kodak’s products. It is very honest and open, has particular audience and updated regularly.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on blogging policy that companies can follow when you start corporate blogs in different languages.
What do you think would be a good corporate strategy for a multinational on corporate blogging? More to come.