Saturday, January 06, 2007

It's about transparency, Robert

Recently, Robert Scoble asked why is Windows getting bashed, and Nokia getting a free ride? It's about transparency, Robert.

From Day 1, the official Nokia blogger relations program (which I believe Garfield is not a member of) has stressed transparency and integrity. Disclosure, again, I am part of that program.

The bloggers in the program have regularly pointed out that they have not been asked to write a review, and that they can return the phone when done with the trial. And, in the letters to the Nokia bloggers, the firm noted that they will ask for the phones to be returned at a later date, and to please use the enclosed, pre-addressed FedEx slip to return it. That's pretty much the standard in any review program - I've done a ton of them.

Nokia offered bloggers - many of whom did not have GSM service - a Cingular Go Card (with $50 of credit) but no recharging and no refreshing of the card. It was the responsibility of the blogger to put additional money on the card. Why send someone a phone with no way to use it, but rather be common sensical in showcasing the phone with a service. Integrity, transparency, honest. Yes, sending Vista alone does not make sense (unless you know the person has a hardcore PC), but the terms of the agreement were vague at best.

The two points that do not seem to be part of the Vista program, which has been under scrutiny, have been transparency and a set policy. The funny part about this? It cost nothing for Nokia to include the FedEx slips to the bloggers. It cost them nothing.

When I interviewed Andy in the past, and spoke to him recently, he noted that it was about asymmetrical marketing. That's what Nokia got, and others have failed at. Asymmetrical marketing leverages assets of others, plus the core brand, making it difficult to duplicate, hard to replicate, and a challenge to counter because it places the competition at a lopsided disadvantage. Andy talks about the use of imbalanced, off-kilter, unexpected and the fact that the roots of asymmetrical marketing have its roots in the founding of the country (the founders used the assets of their enemies to win).

All comparisons to bad examples of blogger relations refer to the Nokia program as the right way to do it. If you look at it, it was done early - and done right.

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