This is a few weeks old, but was so good I had to add something to the conversation. Umair over on Bubblegeneration put together a though provoking post about the fundamental changes a company has to undergo if it really wants to be part of the conversation:
Bubblegeneration Strategy Lab
It means means accepting, deep, in the very essence of your DNA, that the fundamental premise of orthodox marketing and branding – that we could fool consumers into thinking almost exactly the same goods were really, truly different by “positioning” them on a spectrum of imaginary psychological benefits – isn’t just utterly, totally, almost incomprehensibly ludicrous; it’s also deeply evil.
I think that’s right on point. It can’t just be another ‘marketing campaign’ to start a blog, or a discussion forum or a ‘community’. If you are a company (of one or 100,000) with something to sell, you have to have something to say, and be ready to say it in a way that means something to the person you are talking with (not to) and most of all be ready to hear (and act on) what they say back.