Nikon blogger outreach program – learnings for Rebtel?

As a company that wants to become, in a sense, “socialized” on the web I think Rebtel has a lot to learn. They (actually we, me and Björn are very much about it) are now going through a hyperspeed process of learning, discovering and trying things out.

Today I read about how Nikon in May this year decided to lend 50 bloggers a camera each for them to try out, give back after 6 months, keep for a total of 12 months or buy at a discounted rates (with the money going to charity). This recieved some good comments from people who recieved phones here, but also quite a bit of negative feedback like here and here.

So what can we learn from this?

It seems that,

  • They’re appreciated for their transparency and openness
  • It’s good that they require the blogger to be open about having recieved a loan camera
  • It’s good that they don’t require reciprocity
  • However – the whole concept of getting something for free, naturally creates a need for reciprocating which means that the blogger’s integrity comes into question
  • Limited trials of the product seems OK, however they are TRIALS not rewards for something well done
  • If we’re giving anything to bloggers it should be something that benefits their community and not only them as individuals – as a blogger you care about your ecosystem of readers (interesting discussion by CK)

Anyone got anything to add to this list??

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for saying “as a blogger you care about your ecosystem of readers”. See, in this case the community is the customer…and as marketers our job is to care for them–but when we have a community that trusts us we naturally want to create value for them (since marketing’s whole purpose is value creation). In this instance there was a huge opportunity to create a program benefitting the entire community–at least that’s the route I advocate (it benefits the community as well as the client both in positive WOM and ROI).

    Nice to ‘meet’ you ;-).

  2. Hey Linus,

    I would reiterate what CK has said very accurately there. As marketers, we create value – and this value is now required to be a two-way street more than ever. ‘Social media’ is blurring the gaps between vendor and consumer, and as these gaps are blurred, the trick is to make sure the reciprocal value isn’t blurred.

    I’d also like to touch on the fact that credibility in the age of blogging is crucial, as very often an individual is speaking, rather than an organisation. For the unstable, and unchartered territory of this just see what happened with Federated Media last week..

    Keep it up, hope things are going fantastic at Rebtel!

    Best,
    Matt Harwood

  3. Hey CK & Matt!

    Nice to meet you guys and thanks for your great input!

    Yeah, I see your points. It’s very much so that the length of the road between the customer and the marketers is becoming short as the consumers have much more easy access to spread their opinion but also to voice it… which is a great thing!! What I’ve begun to discover more and more is that you cannot just view it in the sense of a single influential person – but see this as the officer of a much larger community, you can’t only provide value to the officer, you need to give him/her access to things to bring out to the community.

    I think that this requires a lot of rethink from companies trying to enter this and participate – even when they come with good intentions, it can be easy to apply ideas that just aren’t suited for he new kind of media we’re exploring. Such as trying to keep up the company facade when it’s the individuals that count.

    Brs,
    Linus

  4. Nice write up CK. I like the idea of community-minded outreach, sans requirement.

    I might add that from perspective of an ethics purest, I always try to remember if we question the ethics of others before there is breach, we might be demonstrating our own propensity to be unethical. To date, no Nikon blogger or McDonald’s blogger, for that matter, has demonstrated any lapse. Only the potential for such a lapse exists and I hope the public relations industry continues to distinguish the difference or everything will eventually look suspect.

    Adding to what Linus said, this is a great time as companies begin to have the ability to engage more consumers on a new level.

    All my best,
    Rich


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