The "Bad" - allowing employees to build their own brand at the expense of the company brand
The leading analyst firm Forrester announced last week that their analysts can no longer have stand-alone "off-site" blogs but rather need to blog on Forrester's official blogs. There is a lot of chatter about this decision and Josh Bernoff provided a semi-official response on the popular Groundswell blog. In summary, as an intellectual property company, Forrester believes blogging is an extension of their product which is intellectual property, and which they pay the analysts to create. Therefore it is sub-optimal to have popular analysts build their own brand which they can then easily take with them should they decide to quit Forrester.
I am facing the exact same situation in my company and am struggling with the decision. Should I allow all our field personnel to create their own blogs and market themselves under their own names? Or should I get them to blog on our platform under the company brand? There are pros and cons of each approach but I think I'm coming to the same conclusion as Forrester. These folks are under our employment and as such are paid to promote the company and differentiate us from the competition. The little brand benefit we get from all of their individual promotion is offset by confusion created in the market by 500 different brand voices.
I need to explore a solution in more depth but my initial thought is that we need to create a standard company branded platform from which the field representatives can market themselves. This is the approach that many real estate and financial services firms take. I'm not saying it is perfect but the pros appear to outweigh the cons. Let me know how you dealt with this issue.