which comes first: the blog or the brand?
i should make my point/start the conversation on the front end of this post, as i'm guessing i'll lose you to the following link (coming later, keep reading). patagonia started a company blog, "the cleanest line" (still not linking). as with most things patagonia, it's darn near perfect from an execution and brand standpoint. i find very little to not like about patagonia and am continously impressed with the company's commitment to its socially-conscious roots of environmentalism and sustainable growth. so when i got the e-alert that the company was blogging, i was stoked.
after reading the blog, i got to thinking about the classic chicken or egg argument. more specifically, which comes first, the brand or the blog? you can argue successfully either way. many blogs have launched/solidified brands. many brands have beget wonderful blogs. i think we've seen that more often than not, having your brand's house in order yields better communication all around. very rarely is it the other way around.
with social media becoming a mainstream aspect of brand communication, many re-branding campaigns, product launches and company changes are introduced at least in part with a new blog. we marketers are almost conditioned to at least throw "blog" out in a brainstorm nowadays. with so many newer companies blogging about newish issues to help define the brand, the patagonia blog came well after the company has already established its brand identity and voice. and i think that's why the blog reads so well. seems darn natural and nowhere near a corporate communications tool.
i think the issue is worth discussing...in addition to the "what came first," thread, the cleanest line (still not linking) proves what many branding/communication folks have always known and seldom have the guts to tell clients: if you have nothing worth talking about, nothing we can do for you will start a meaningful conversation. patagonia proves this by its ability to first be focused on a wonderful product, innovative company and tried-and-true culture. then blog. then hold a press conference. then....
check out the cleanest line to learn more about patagonia. i can see this blog quickly occupying new media presentations as a blog/company that gets it. the byproduct of this blog is a more enthusiastic consumer base, more loyal evangelists and proud employees. who wouldn't want to work with a boss like this:
(posted on the cleanest line, e-mail from patagonia founder yvon chouinard's wife malinda)
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