Stormhoek and disruption

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.

6 thoughts on “Stormhoek and disruption

  1. hugh macleod

    Thanks for the kind words, Johnnie.

    I think what is hard for a lot of people to get their heads around is the “indirectness” of it all. Most marketing dorks are far happier with the “Write a cheque and make the problem go away” marketing plan. Which is fine if it isn’t your money or your boss’ money that’s being spent.

    Certainly what I’m seeing is, a lot of people are wanting a watertight case study from Stormhoek that they can take to their bosses without any personal risk to themselves. Which is humorous to me, as I really did risk EVERYTHING to prove this could work.

  2. Dennis Howlett

    Back in September, I found it difficult to agree with much of what Hugh was saying – and in some situations, I still do. The issue I see developing over time is the difficulty in assimilating change into the blog such that people recognise it as a morphing environment. I’ve been fortunate in that my ‘community’ is very tolerant of these things and I’ve always said my opinion can be changed. There’s not many people out there that get that.

    Equally, I see many who like the idea of the medium and its impact but almost instantly revert to prior thinking when presented with the need to make change.

    Change is hard and not something many are equipped to carry through in a way that leaves them making sense of the ‘new.’

    The trick is to bridge the old and new so that people are brought with the community – standard BPR really.

  3. Corante Marketing Hub

    How blogging furthers the marketing conversation

    Corante Network contributor Johnnie Moore at Johnnie Moore’s Weblog offers one of the first true builds on the “marketing as conversations” meme I’ve seen in a very long time. Discussing a Hugh MacLeod post on the effect of blogging on…

  4. gapingvoid

    what comes after the cluetrain?

    More coverage on the “Blogging Doubles Stormhoek Sales” story. So you want to know “What comes after Cluetrain”? Marketing Hub nails it:The stumbling block to “markets as conversations” for most companies is that they see a world in which…

  5. AdPulp

    “The Conversation” Will Change You

    Hugh MacLeod on the reality of corporate blog adoption, or non-adoption, as the case may be: For all the “Blaze New Trails” rheotoric the corporate PR machine likes to feed the media, most corporate types don’t like rocking the boat….

  6. Crossroads Dispatches

    Letting Yourself Be Changed

    I read a blurb about a travel memoir in the Bangkok Post, I believe the book is titled Disappear, but I can’t recall. What I do remember is that it reviewer said that the difference between a tourist and a


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