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Will GM Blogs Respond To Bad News?

Kevin Dugan
Expert Author
Published: 2005-03-21

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Will GM's blogs be tested by recent news of job cuts at the automaker? According to the Wall Street Journal, GM "plans to cut its North American white-collar work force.

The cuts in salaried staff could be as deep as 28 percent in certain functions, according to the newspaper that cited industry officials and analysts."

Anyone that has visited the company's Smallblock Engine and Fastlane blogs knows they do not lend themselves to discussing "job actions." But blogs are a dialogue and readers may steer the conversation to this news.

Regardless of how this unfolds, I'm sure Smallblock and Fastlane will continue to be great examples of corporate blogs. The blogs have been a well-publicized success, boosting the company's image with a refreshing dose of Detroit transparency.

Michael Wiley, GM's director of new media, says in B2.0, "we're really committed to avoiding corporate-speak and keeping this really transparent. This blog was an attempt to get GM more involved in the dialogue and to get people talking to us. We see this as a direct line to enthusiasts, supporters -- and detractors."

This is simply another example of why corporations should create blogs in the first place. You have a place for customers to be vocal-regardless of whether they are happy or angry. Just be prepared for the conversation to change, regardless of your blog's focus, and have the steps in place that will allow you to respond. For example, if your company gets into labor issues, be prepared for Union members to show up on your product blog. This can be an opportunity...depending on how the company responds.

As of this post, GM is not addressing this online. The company is promoting a sales conference call on April 1st. Which reminds me, I would not be surprised if GM started podcasting its investor relations conference calls. Investor relations is a perfect fit for podcasting.

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About the Author:
Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin's blog: Strategic Public Relations.

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