Reading the Cluetrain

Just another weblog

Part 2

 Work wise this has been a good week. One of my stakeholders had an interview with a big broadsheet on Wednesday and another interview he did with a trade has just come out too. The trade piece was good and after the broadsheet interview both the spokesperson and the journalist were really excited. It’s not often that a journalist tells you an interview was ‘fun’. Beautiful. Anyway, after that little PR insight I have picked out a few choice rules that I have questions and comments about.

Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves. Hmm, I’ve never really liked advertising. There are a number or reasons for this.

1.      I can never remember what they’re for. That is if I have figured it out in the first place. By which token they are rendered useless

2.      They assume that the audience is sitting there waiting like that bit in Little Shop of Horrors ‘feed me, feed me’ from my own experience I have never really believed this
3.      I think they create awareness but like when I get direct mail, if I want to car insurance or to ‘consolidate my debts into one manageable monthly payment’ then I will go and find out how to do this off my own bat. So my thought here is; are audiences really different or is it that the internet community have just had the chance to act differently. Maybe this isn’t what CT people are getting at. Dunno.Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what’s really going on inside the company.  Really? You know, I sit with the marketeers and like PR people they generally just want to take some new service and tell people the benefits in a creative fashion. I think that Cluetrain may be a bit too much on the conspiracy theory tip here. But then that’s just me.Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It can’t be “picked up” at some pony conference.  To be fair, do we even need to pick it up? We are human after all and have just been retrained in corporate speak. I think that sometimes C.S.  is necessary, is there really anything wrong with a corporate statement sometimes? I still don’t think so. But a lot more stuff could be written as we talk.

I have been doing a bit of internal comms recently (which seriously sucks btw and is not my normal job) and I really tried to make our communications human and sympathetic. I have heard that it went down well.

Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end.
If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market.

Hmm, this is really interesting. I have never thought about it this way. But I suppose if I go back in the day when I worked in the world of gaming and Sony’s was the console de jour that the culture of PlayStation went way further than Sony’s offices in Golden Square. People loved, loved, loved it. I mean I have been given many a promotional T-shirt over the years but it was the PlayStation one I nabbed from ECTS that I wore with pride.

Phew, have to say I don’t feel very inspired today so I will stop now and reflect. There really are a lot of rules.Oh, hang on, one more thing, my mate, a PR mate sent me this link. Interesting.


November 30, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hello (btw, do you have your name on your blog, I couldn’t find it).

    Just wanted to congrat u on the new blog, and on reading the cluetrain. If you sit where I think you sit, you’re probably on the top floor of BC with what I used to call “Ashley’s minions” (I should point out that’s a dispersion upon him rather than you guys – he treats you like minions, I’m not a fan of his).

    What chapter are you up to in the Cluetrain? It would be great to follow your progress as each concept is discussed. It’s one of my favourite books, btw.

    I’ve always felt that the Cluetrain is important to most of the BBC’s projects – especially as consumers become more empowered with the media they consume and begin to ‘expect’ to be able to interact with it and shape it. That expectation starts with the marketing.

    However, is perhaps one of the most important places where this kind of marketing is required – and to that end plays out two key points of the Cluetrain for me — treating the audience/customer as an equal (rather than top down) and understanding that we’re no longer in a broadcast (one-way) environment.

    With Backstage, the expert userbase know as much as you (the BBC) do and so brining them into the conversation as an equal is so important.

    Clearly with anything new media related, the broadcast environment is gone, but unlike consumer facing stuff, where the interaction is still very one way – backstage is the reverse. The majority of the (valuable interaction) comes from the community (with their cool prototypes and mashups).

    I’m soo pleased you’re reading the Cluetrain and I’m so pleased that the PR of backstage will be even better for it (I’m sure Ian will explain why I’m so pleased!).

    Best wishes to you!

    Comment by Ben Metcalfe | November 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. Blimey, hello Ben. I have to say since I have been here which is only since January I have heard your name a lot so I am very flattered by the comment. It’s slow going with the Cluetrain I have to admit as the concepts are so new but I am going to keep on going and am determined to make time for it.

    I think my holy grail is a meeting of the old world and the new, as you can see I don’t quite agree yet with some of the ideas but then the world is not black and white so that’s expected.

    I love working on backstage so if this is going to help me be a better PR for then then all good.

    Comment by readingthecluetrain | December 4, 2007 | Reply

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