How Sony Electronics Reaches Online –and Offline– with Bloggers

Although many brands forget that what happens offline echoes online, Sony is using a combination of digital and in person evangelism for a powerful concoction. Last night, I had dinner with Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow and Top Blogger, Rick Clancy who publishes on the Sony Electronics Blog.

Head or Corp Comm spearheading Blogging Efforts
Rick, who is actually the head of Corporate Communications has decided to establish himself in the front (read his bio) as the lead blogger. This is unique, as in many cases corp comm folks find the product experts to come front and center in the blogs rather than themselves.

Outreach: Visiting 42 Stores in 40 Days
Now, in many cases, blogs created and run by corporation communications folks tend to be sterile rehashes of press releases, and feature pro-corporate content. While the Rick’s blog is certainly squarly on the party line, he’s doing something that many do not, he’s getting out in front of the browser and actually meeting customers. He’s on a cross country tour to visit 42 stores in 40 days, the goal? to learn from customers at Sony Style stores, and to evangelize their latest offerings such as PlayStation, HDNA, Vaio, DSLR cameras, Blu-ray players and whatever cutting technology leaps forth.

Taking a closer look at the blogging efforts
I’m not the only one to enjoy Rick’s blog, as Heart Interactive’s CTO Mike “Glemak” Dunn proclaims via Friendfeed: “i think he’s excellent – a great example of using a true voice as a corporate blogger – he was good from day 1, a natural – “.

I enjoyed how they have a flickr stream (but should embed flickr pics directly into the post) and have a Google Map Mashup to track his future locations.

While Rick is certainly heading the right way, I made a few suggestions to him over wine, since he’s incorporating this as live event, I recommended he use Twitter to help pre-announce where he’s going to be (for example, today he’ll be in Portland) to help encourage technology early adopters to show up and meet and greet. Although I didn’t mention it, uploading pics in real time with Sony Ericson phones as well live streaming from the Vaio line could only help draw the connective tissue.

Lastly, I just reviewed some of the incoming links to the Sony Blog on Technorati and see that their successful Mommy blogger event was covered by an influential mommy blogger –Rick should link back into the conversation.

A room full of journalists and one Twitter user
Perhaps it’s a sign of the time, but the room was filled with journalists from the top newspapers, (this was a press and analyst event) who were scribbling furiously during dinner. While the quality is by no means a comparison, I was live-tweeting the highlights in real-time, getting feedback from you all, in 140 characters or less on my twitter account. Is it game changing? Maybe if I took it more seriously, but then again, reporting isn’t my job.

Sony’s vitual/real blogging outreach a good model
Good wishes to Rick and the Sony team on their outreach, a good example of social media as an overlay to the real world –and important story for a company who captures these stories and displays them with digital devices.