Hugh reports “blogging doubled stormhoek sales“. His analysis really resonated with me:
What happened is that by interfacing with the blogosphere it fundementally changed how Stormhoek looked at treating their primary customers (the supermarket chains) and the end-users (the supermarkets’ customers).
i.e. It caused an internal disruption both within the company and the actual trade. Wine drinkers’ basic purchasing habits didn’t change because of the meme, but the meme allowed Stormhoek to align itself more closely with said habits…
The Stormhoek wine meme didn’t sell more bottles, any more than Scoble’s blog increased sales of Dell computers. That’s not what this game is about. What matters is “The Porous Membrane”. What matters is the internal disruption…
And the best stories have market disruption baked-in.
With the disruption, came a new and different story that the supermarket buyers and the importers wanted to hear. Telling the story made the sales process easier. With easier sales, the curve was raised.
There’s a great principle in improv, that of letting yourself be changed. This encourages the actors to invest less energy in formulating a witity riposte, and more on joining their fellow actors and allowing their “feed line” to impact on them.
There’s a parallel at work for bloggers – the value may not be the immediate impact of their words on the market, but how the conversation changes the blogger. As Hugh says, it may be a mistake to focus on using blogs to sell things; it’s more about creating real engagement – where you are changed too.
And the thing about good conversations is that more goes on than just an exchange of information. Something more energising takes place. I think that’s the deeper insight of the whole “markets are conversations” meme.
Likewise, Hugh highlights the impact on conversations inside blogging companies, whether a giant like Microsoft or a relative minnow like Stormhoek. It seems to be that when you start down the road of open conversations, the impact can be highly generative.