Corporate Blogging in India

I was interested in seeing whether companies in India have begun to use blogs as a means of communication with different audiences, and I did some digging around to see who is doing what. Surprise, surprise! I just can’t find too many corporate blogs in the first place. (Or my googling skills are poor!).

The usual culprits, which have been much talked about before, came to light again. First, the Infosys Blog, Think Flat. Now they have put together a star blogger team, with senior members from communication, marketing, sourcing, consulting etc besides Nandan Nilekani himself. But one odd thing about the blog is, that perhaps because of a number of contributers adding pieces whenever their schedule permits, the blog is very erratically updated. Sometimes articles follow each other after a day, and sometimes there are no posts for a week or ten days. I think regular updation is critical for a serious blog. Another surprising thing is that at the end of a page, there is no link pointing to ‘older posts’. One has to trudge through the archives. Perhaps they need someone who understands blogging and can help this senior team out by coordinating posts and having a more user friendly design. However, the content on the blog is quite good – while it touches briefly on Infy’s expertise, it doesn’t hardsell in any way, and in most cases, is quite interesting to read, though not phenomenally.

Then, there is Fritolay India’s blog, maintained by Madhu Rajesh and Abhijit Bhaduri from their HR function. This is really more of a fun, informal blog, and as such, the regular aims of ‘corporate blogging’ may not apply. However, I think they do a good job of presenting Fritolay as a young, vibrant place to work in. Definitely, if prospective employees came upon the blog, they would find it interesting and appealing. Again, the frequency of blogging is not consistent. I am not sure if they are thinking of this also as a means to keep current employees updated or whether they have a separate intranet/blog for that. But if they do want to keep current employees involved as well, then it may be a good idea to update more often.

I also came upon Tata Interactive’s blog, which is a mix of general interest article as well as those focused upon design and technology related issues. This one seems to be updated quite often, and also has a mix of regular writers plus guest writers. I suppose this helps them keep things in control, since the core blogging team must be monitoring content, ensuring updation and a good mix of subjects. Another notable thing about this blog is that many of the posts have atleast a few comments on them, something absent from the other two.

In the case of the Infosys blog especially, I got the feeling that they were operating in isolation. There was little dialogue with other technology blogs, few links to other bloggers – the posts aren’t really very different from what a website or maybe online journal might have. They don’t seem to be really blogging in that sense, since one of the most powerful things about blogging is the conversations and relationships it can build. So does it really help to maintain a blog if you can’t be active in the related blogging community?

Some of the lesser known ones – Giftex – a company that I’ve never heard about, but has a blog with quite good content on its area of operation, gifting. Score India, a sports development/promotion company that has a corporate blog that sort of goes all over the place and stopped running after October 2006. I am not sure what book launches are doing in there, except for the one on the Commonwealth games. And the formatting is terrible. Tekriti Software’s blog too has not been updated after November 2006, though the content was good, while it lasted!

Does your company have a blog? Let me know if you’ve come across any others that I may have missed out.

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16 Comments

  1. I am not very proud of this- but I actually mailed David once telling him that company could benefit from starting a blog. Something along the lines of Forrester’s analyst blogs. Told him that this could help the company in two key markets- ICT and Healthcare. Especially ICT.

    I don’t know why I did that.. once upon a time I was a very motivated lad !

  2. SS, mailing the chairman hardly qualifies as shameful 🙂

    but yes, even companies that talk to their audiences a lot seem to be wary , with fear of losing control, losing confidentiality all being (real or perceived) problems…

  3. […] Read more… […]

  4. […] Then, there is Fritolay India’s blog, maintained by Madhu Rajesh and Abhijit Bhaduri from their HR function. This is really more of a fun, informal blog, and as such, the regular aims of ‘corporate blogging’ may not apply. … …more […]

  5. yes it is very shameful that corporate Blogging hasnt taken up in India, but there have to be trend setters. there will have to be innovation from and acceptance from Indian companies like the Giftex Blog, its a Corporate Gifting Blog. they host exhibitions locally, one normally wouldn’t expect a Blog dedicated to gifting.

  6. gautam, actually i feel its critical that cos look at what they hope to get out of blogging and whether they can invest sufficient time…if not, its better they don’t get in!

  7. http://blogs.adventnet.com/
    Blog of advent Net, the guys behind Zoho .
    Cognizant too have a good internal blog

  8. Even the best read – and neutral – bloggers in the world make no money from blogging.

    I am curious to find what the incentive is for companies to blog when it is going to drain marketing budgets but not necessarily bring any greenbacks in.

    As a means of communication, this is hardly widening their audience. They are probably up against a tough audience, who does not pull punches and is highly unlikely to fall for corporate claptrap.

    As a means of advertising, hmm, it may be cheaper than other ways but will someone uninterested in the blog or the company come there to watch their ads?

    And not too many CEOs in the world actually blog. Everyone gets it that some virtual assistant is writing the blog. As authenticity goes, I think this impression is hard to beat and change.

    So to what end?

  9. Shefaly, I am a little confused by your first sentence. Yes, not all bloggers are raking in the moolah, but certainly its not possible to say that nobody is making money from blogging. Take Problogger for example, or Digital Inspiration.. Then, there are the indirect ways – blogging can establish you as an expert in your field and get you other real world opportunities. Take Gautam Ghosh for instance, who seems to be doing some interesting things using his blog.

    Now, coming to what corporate blogging can do. Firstly, how much of the marketing budget will it drain, one needs to figure. I think it need not be very expensive. Certainly companies like Infy who have tens of people on their marcomm teams can afford a blog manager.

    now regarding the appeal to the audience. if we just think of the blog as corporate advertising, then you’re right; this sort of audience is unlikely to be impressed. but, the blog can be a vehicle for the company to interact with this audience on issues of interest to both. blogging doesn’t need to be directly about the company. it can however help to position the company in a certain way. not in isolation ofcourse, but in conjunction with all the other communication media a company uses. I don’t think the audience is that small anymore, certainly not for companies who are geographically dispersed.

    and as for whether someone uninterested in the company will read it – no. but that goes for all communication. should companies then stop writing white papers, magazine articles etc too? All these are valid means of communication, and blogs too, with the added advantage (and fear) of interactivity.

    lastly, its not essential at all that the ceo needs to blog. so long as its a well identified voice or voices who can talk of what is of interest to the audience.

  10. praneeth, thanks for the link. the advent net blog seems to be primarily a collection of personal blogs tough?

  11. yes its personal blogs of advent net employees, but running on a company’s infrastructure and gives me some insight of the company’s culture and insight….i guess its sort of sun. Microsoft blogs type

    pickuradvisor.com a blog from ING Vysya
    icontract.wordpress.com blog of advt company icontract

  12. Apu: The best declaration of money made through the blog was made by Guy Kawasaki earlier this year. He made a total of $3000 in a year when he is not linked to just one brand and is free to take ads and so on. He is one of the most popular bloggers in the world and is in the top 100 or so on Technorati. Now $3000 may not be ‘no money’ to an individual, but to a company it is probably not worth bothering with. The other people probably making money from blogging are Om Malik and Content Sutra. But see the sizes of their operations, the extent of external relationships (from which they get ads and sponsorships) and do the maths and you will see the economics does not make any sense.

    Secondly, a blog does not need a “blog manager”; it needs a creative writer who understands the company’s core messages and can convey them eloquently. This almost always is something companies outsource to an agency. Costs versus benefits?

    Thirdly, the difference between a corporate blog and an advertisement is that a blog is a vehicle AND a message, while an ad is a message in a vehicle also populated with other messages. A random customer who picks a magazine is likely to come by a company’s adverts. And only a customer specifically interested in your company will come to your blog. The two are in different stages in the AIDA cycle. Cost of attracting new customers? Difficult to assess. This is also the core differences between any means of dispersing messages broadly versus a focused vehicle, so the white papers/ articles etc all fall in that category.

    Further, even global firms do not have global messages. If a company is keen on ‘engagement’ of the kind you mention, the messages have to address local concerns so the audience is not necessarily large and global (unless it is a global ban, as in case of the one remaining F1 team with a tobacco sponsor, and both the team and the sponsor are under pressure from F1 to sever ties, but that is a digression).

    As for company positioning: lets see who may be interested in that as an audience. Analysts? They get the feed direct from the firm. Customers? Likely to comparison-shop and get info more from neutral sites. Activists? Ditto as customers. Competitors? Now it would be silly, would it not, to supply materials readily to THIS audience. Shareholders? See analysts above.

    Corporate blogging is so far brochureware; and companies are doing it in whatever measure to get a presence. The foremost reason why most companies exist is to make money and if they do not see any yet, they will not engage in it. The scarcity of examples probably demonstrates that amply.

    PS: Yes there are Google blogs. Product group specific blogs, maintained by product management teams or senior members thereof, non-interactive, one-way information dissemination so not very different from brochureware (except that blogging platforms make publishing easier than web publishing of the yore). Are they really corporate blogs? To the extent that employees write it on company time to further a company goal, yes. Do they do much else or do people go there to see how Google is doing versus Yahoo on any specific thing? Er, no.

  13. Shefaly, the first point was purely to mention that there are bloggers making money. Sure, this will be peanuts to a company.

    Whether a corporate blog should have a content writer or a manager or a combination, these things will vary. some cos may use an internal writer who knows the company well. some may choose to outsource it. some may have senior professional writing, in which case someone from the marcomm team may act as a blog manager to coordinate and maintain the blog. I don’t think there is any one way to do it – it depends on what the company’s needs are, availability of resources etc.

    agree reg focused messages in a given medium versus a blog acting as both medium and message. that doesn’t eliminate readership – given well written content, there will be sufficient readers, who could be involved with the company in various ways.

    and yes, analysts, customers, shareholders, all of them get info from other sources as well. but why should not preclude another opportunity to interact? Many other messages in any case, will be one sided, not interactive. also, yes, whether global or local, those are issues that need to be addressed.

    “corporate blogging is so far brochureware” , you say. there, I fully agree. Infact I would say that if you are not looking for audience response, you don’t need a blog at all. So yes, the point really is not so much that every company needs to blog, as that, blogs can supplement in certain ways, and – if you decide to have a blog, it has to be well maintained, updated, relevant content.

  14. Praneeth, thanks for all those links! Looks like I will need to run a follow-up on this post!

  15. http://blog.nasscom.in/emerge/..

    Now Nasscom too joined the list

  16. […] For more: See Abhijeet Mukherjee & Moinak Mitra in The Economic Times, Vishal Datta in the Economic Times, Arun Jayan in The Indian Express, Kamla Bhatt, Corporate Blogging in India by Rajeev Karwal, Apu. […]


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