Uncluttering Your Brand: Why The Ariba Exchange is The Same Old Song with an Ineffective Beat

Posted on March 17, 2010


Second, it seems to me that the advantage of the stand-alone blog (versus a broader platform) is that it is uncluttered. I struggle to bother with things like LinkedIn and Twitter, I have so rarely found anything useful on either of them. The blog can be more like the daily news headlines, once you trust the source (and again, that brings us back to either one or few authors and strong editing).

Tim Cummins, CEO IACCM commenting on the March 16th Supply Excellence Post “What’s next for Supply Excellence? (Part 2)

Before sharing my own response to today’s post on Supply Excellence, I have to say that the exchange between different blogs within the purchasing and supply chain community is the perfect illustration of the power of conversational marketing.

I would hazard a guess, and quite by accident I am certain, Supply Excellence’s Justin Fogarty has done more to draw attention to both Ariba and the new Ariba Exchange than any traditional broadcast “look at me” advertising campaign costing thousands of dollars would have done.

He accomplished this by focusing on a much broader, non-branded issue facing many companies . . . how to leverage both social media and social networking (and yes they are two different albeit related elements), to establish a brand presence in an increasingly cluttered market.

What percentage of the readership, listenership or viewership from Procurement Insights actually visits or ultimately subscribes to the Supply Excellence blog is irrelevant at this stage.  What is important is that they have now heard of Supply Excellence and the Ariba Exchange.  The same can be said regarding Charles Dominick’s readership from his Purchasing Certification Blog.  This cross-pollination within the blogging realm is the first important step to going viral.

The critical next step in creating a distinguishable brand presence through multiple venues would be the extension of this discussion to social networks.  This would include an open Q&A forum post with a link back to the original article in a network such as LinkedIn, as well as the either a Q&A or News post within certain LinkedIn strategic groups.

From there I would do an Internet Radio interview or show under a catchy segment title such as “Branding The Supply Chain: How Software Vendors Can Stand Out in Huxley’s Sea of Irrelevance.”

Once again, there would of course be interconnecting venue links between the blogs, social network sites and the Internet Radio show, however it is the collective reach (one that services such as Alexa fail to connect and measure) that creates real traction.

Like the outward ripples of a single pebble dropped in a placid pool of water, you expand the story out to where the audience is, versus trying to force them to a single, all-encompassing, bells and whistles, cluttered platform (re Ariba Exchange).

That said here is my follow-up comment regarding Tim’s feedback on the Supply Excellence post:

Tim (Cummins) hit the nail on the head in terms of his reference to a stand-alone blog being uncluttered. In fact this is one of the problems I have with the Ariba Exchange.

A stand-alone blog as part of a collective network that includes Internet Radio, Internet TV and strategic social network interaction through venues such as groups enables you to meet the audience where they are most comfortable.

For example, I posted an article to the Procurement Insights (PI Window on Business) Blog on the recent Congressional hearings centered on the Toyota acceleration problem.  While I received some comments directly through the blog, I had approximately 35 answers in the LinkedIn open forum alone. I of course provided a link back to the original post in the Procurement Insights Blog (re cross pollination).

I also aired a 30-minute special on the topic with author and ADR CEO Bill Michels on the PI Window on Business Show on Blog Talk Radio. The blog post of course provided the link to the On-Demand broadcast – cross pollination.

The key is that I did not force the audience to come to a “central exchange” but engaged them at their point of interest and comfort.

That is the strength of a collective social media network . . . interconnecting, yet individual and uncluttered venues.


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