The traditional business sales formula is quite simple and even pleasant to read:

Good Product + Good Advertising = Good Sales.

Years have gone by and this formula has been transformed by ever changing business forces to a myriad other formulas. I really can’t tell what the universal agreed upon working formula now is, thanks to a zillion business books all preaching different ‘guaranteed-to-work’ business practices.

I’m not much of a business genius myself, but I like the formula below more than most:

Good Product + Good branding strategy + Positive product and corporate publicity = Good Sales.

It’s quite easy to make a good product (that’s not really an option anyway), and thanks to media agencies all over, a good branding strategy is also quite easy to formulate. In the era of TV, radio and Newspapers, good publicity was easy to get, of course after allocating substantial advertising space dollars in your budget. Now we live in an internet era.

One of the many definitions of the internet is ‘That immeasurable $0 advertising space a.k.a A pain in every Corporate communication officer’s A**’. If only they could do without this damn cyber space. Sadly, they can’t.

Let me give you an example.

Dell is one of the leading brands in the world. In 2005, they did not have a blog. But one of their customers did. One day, that customer decided to put a blog post on his blog titled ‘What the #uck is with Dell Technical support!?’ This customer was evidently very upset with Dell’s customer support. Another blogger wrote a related article on his blog as well, but that wasn’t the worst part. This second blogger was so popular (kinda like our local @whiteafrican) that his post led to the creation of a new term for Dell, ‘Dell Hell’.

Suddenly, a search for ‘Dell’ on google would also yield numerous blog results titled ‘Dell Hell’! As a result, Dell got negative press coverage in the New York times and Wall street Journal as well.

Dell didn’t have a blog, so they were unable to respond to the angry blogosphere. At the height of it all, 49% of all blog posts about Dell were negative. Thanks to some wise folks at Dell PR, rather than spend hundreds of millions on promotional ad campaigns, Dell set up their own blog. Dell also dispatched technicians to reach out to complaining bloggers and solve their problems, earning pleasantly surprised buzz in return. Negative blog posts have since gone down to around 20% only.

This positive vybe reverberated into traditional media as well. Jeff Jarvis of Business Week wrote “In the age of customers empowered by blogs and social media, Dell has leapt from worst to first”.

Michael Dell is quoted as having said, “A company this size is not going to be about a couple of people coming up with ideas. It’s going to be about millions of people and harnessing the power of those ideas”. This is precisely what blogs and social media should be all about. Letting your customers be the unpaid members of your product development and marketing teams.

In a list that has Starbucks, Apple, AOL and Target, Dell now serves as a model of effective e-branding, making $5 million in sales by last year purely from its Twitter page. Within 6 months of launching their internet campaign, Dell was receiving 250,000 visitors to their website per week. 25 to 37% of their new customers would not have bought from dell were it not for the internet.

Do you still need convincing on the need for a corporate blog?


I have been watching the cyberspace closely lately, looking at and contributing to the talk going on regarding Safaricom (@SafaricomLtd). There has been a lot of negative vibe regarding safaricom. Popular rants include its extortionist calling rates, sneaky offers, M-PESA failures, M-PESA API Siloing, Zero developer platforms or support structures, pathetic customer service and Michael Joseph. Just search for ‘Safaricom Sucks’ on google to get a sneak preview.

At the risk of being another Synovate, I’d say that over 50% of blog posts, facebook updates and Twitter posts about Safaricom have been negative. The PR people at Zain, Orange or Yu, would greatly benefit if they used this chance to promote themselves to the online community (4 million users by the way! That’s enough to triple Zain’s market share.) A corporate blog would be a great start for any of them.

Now Safaricom has a Twitter account (@SafaricomLtd) and looking at recent posts regarding safaricom, people are happy to post tweets directly to @SafaricomLtd who try their best (I hope) to respond to them.

I tried searching for the official Safaricom blog and found this http://safaricom.blogspot.com/.


  1. 1 Noni May 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “It’s quite easy to make a good product (that’s not really an option anyway), and thanks to media agencies all over, a good branding strategy is also quite easy to formulate.”

    I agree with everything that you say except for the above sentence. Branding is all about experience, it’s that space that you own in the mind of the prospect, it comes about as a merge between the promise you gave your client and the expectation they have. If this merge is positive then you have a strong positive brand. If not… It’s as easy and as difficult as that. Connecting, truly connecting with your audience in a way that inspires unquestioning loyalty is something that is definitely not easy.

    • 2 Intervangelist Kenya June 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Noni. Coming up with branding strategy isn’t hard, coming up with a branding strategy that works is another story altogether. My point is that in comparison with managing a positive product image, it pales in comparison. The internet is like an untethered goat that has the freedom to roam around unrestrained. Managing your image on this platform is not a walk in the park.

  2. 3 ZicaFeniacill May 23, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, iwspo.net

  3. 5 brown June 25, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Corporate blogging is a unique means of marketing that i encourage most companies to adopt,check how blogging has impacted companies in our world affairs books at http://www.booksfromus.co.ke

  1. 1 Tweets that mention WHO NEEDS A CORPORATE BLOG? « Intervangelist Kenya -- Topsy.com Trackback on May 18, 2010 at 8:42 pm

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