Recognizing the importance of the blogosphere, SAP, a provider of business software solutions, wanted to get more involved in that arena.
But, "given there's been a number of very public issues arisen from addressing bloggers in a less-than-appropriate manner," says Mike Prosceno, SAP VP of marketplace communications, SAP wanted to explore how best to address those influencers.
SAP tapped global PR AOR Burson-Marsteller to help create a program during SAPPHIRE, its most prominent annual customer event.
SAP wanted to create a formal blogging network around the company, explore the blogosphere, and gain experience "both from a communications perspective and a larger organizational perspective," notes Prosceno, exposing SAP to an audience that may not understand the company.
SAP invited bloggers from diverse backgrounds to the event and permitted them to post whatever they wanted. "All we asked is that if they were critical of SAP, they allow us to post a reply and share our side," Prosceno explains. SAP dedicated an area of the show's press room to bloggers, dubbing it "bloggers' corner." "We badged them as bloggers," he says. "We let them have full rein of the conference, from one-on-one meetings with executives to roaming the show floor talking to partners and customers." SAP quickly learned that the bloggers preferred group meetings to one-on-one interaction. "So, we directed our spokespeople to the bloggers' corner and let them have a group discussion there," Prosceno adds.
SAP succeeded in creating a virtual community of trusted, credible bloggers, with those who attended the show continuing to collaborate and post on SAP. The effort also drew the attention of other bloggers, who expressed interest in attending future events.
SAP continues to work with Burson and incorporate the bloggers' corner concept into other events.
PR team: SAP (Walldorf, Germany) and Burson-Marsteller (San Francisco)
Campaign: Engaging the Blogosphere
Duration: May 2006
Budget: About $25,000