Blog Event Postponed: So What?

    March 21, 2005

New Communications Forum Europe has been postponed, as you probably have seen on a few blogs. There is a rather interesting discussion going on as to why not enough people wanted to attend.

Many of the explanations annoys me, actually, even if I respect the bloggers behind them.

None of them, you see, asks “Was there anything wrong with the programme?”. No, they all assume that there must be something wrong with all of them – all of us – that didn’t see any reason to attend.

“…it is just too early in the technology adoption process here in Europe for PR and marketing professionals to invest in a two-day conference dedicated to blogs and other new tools” the organizers write. This is a statement I agree with on one level, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t organize a conference that includes blogs and other new tools. It just means that the conference must approach the subject from another angle. What about a conference called “Speak to me — using the internet to connect in new ways” or something like that, which also could include word-of-mouth, open source marketing etc. Less tool angle, more business and more general.

Neville, otherwise a sober blogger, says that there’s something “…wrong in Europe”. He also writes: What an indictment of the lack of interest and willingness to learn about something new by communicators in Europe! And the lack of interest by companies in communication channels that are already impacting their businesses.

**Here I wish I could press a button to make the kind of sound heard in TV quiz shows when someone gives the wrong answer**

Neville, have faith in our profession. The thing is that for most companies these channels aren’t affecting their businesses. I have something like 15-20 regular clients. I monitor blogs for them just for fun. In the last twelve months one, say 1, of them has been mentioned on a blog. And this is not only small or medium sized corporations. Among them are market leaders in Sweden. Sure, blogs could theoretically affect them in other ways, but you understand what I mean.

Stuart Mudie was as Neville supposed to speak at the event. He writes “Are corporate communicators really still holding on to the belief that they own the message?” and claims that if these people don’t understand what they would have understood at the conference they will be out of a job.


My conclusions are these:

  1. Yes, the market in Europe is behind the US in this matter. So what? As professional communicators, and consultants many of us, the ability to understand the market(s) is vital. How successful would it be for GM to call the car buyers stupid if they don’t buy GM’s new models? Instead, they speed up product development and deepen their attempts to understand the car buyers.
  2. With that said, it is a huge exaggeration to interpret the lack of interest in NewComm Forum as a lack of interest in general. It only shows that the organizers didn’t know the market well enough. They’re not the first – nor the last – event organizers to make that mistake. No big deal. Good luck next time.
  3. I also wish we could gain more momentum in Europe for these ideas. I’m all for preaching the blog gospel. When people want to listen, we will all be here. And they will listen when they need to.

Fredrik Wacka is the author and founder of the popular CorporateBlogging.Info blog which is a guide to business and corporate blogging.

Visit Fredrik Wacka’s blog: CorporateBlogging.Info.