I’m never 100% sure, if a corporate blog is written by a PR person, or by a genuine C-level exec. But I can have a good guess. It doesn’t have to be the CEO, but someone with passion, a helicopter view of not only the business but the sector and someone with ability to affect change in powerful ways. Because that is what makes an addictive corporate blog – the feeling you are communicating with someone who can hear, understand and make changes.

Even if they blog only once a week, dictate in a dictaphone on a plane for an assistant to type up or a copywriter to clean up, and post, and then check comments for 1/2 an hour at the end of the week, that’s OK. That was enough to make that French CEO – what was his name again, the one in Naked Conversations? – one of the most popular corporate bloggers.

My Cup of Chai, Ing Asia Pacific
This weeks 🙂 favourite corporate blogger is Jacques Kemp, CEO of Ing Asia Pacific.

Who is blogging?


Jacques Kemp,
Chief Executive Officer,
ING Asia/Pacific

David,
Regional Head of
E-Business

He shares the blog with David (no surname provided) Regional Head of e-Business. My feeling is that it is genuinely them, not some drivel out of the marketing department. Even if it’s written by a ghost writer, I think Mr. Kemp drives the subject matter.

Now I don’t know about you but I was born with a god-given talent for spending money and zero ability for saving or even counting the stuff. I still don’t enjoy the whole process of the in financial end of my business. Which is a shame because I seem to get asked to speak a lot at finance and wealth management conferences… strange no? So the last thing I would usually spend any time on, would be a finance or banking blog.

Back to the subject: Ing’s blog is not boring. It seems to touch a lot of the keypoints that make a good corporate blog. About corporate social responsibilityIng Chances for Children, or bringing Rembrandt to Shanghai. Nothing on climate control or carbon footprint yet. 😛 But I do think that if any bank was going to introduce a CSRO (Chief Social Responsibility Officer), it would be IngBank.

It has cool groovy features – slideshare powerpoint presentations, map mashups, – but they aren’t there simply to be pretty. In fact they are sort of stuffed in, in that less than slick way that we like. If it was all too pretty and web-designed, with borders and stuff, I think we’d be a lot more suspicious about how relevant and current the content is, having had to go through the web-design process and approval. No thanks, give us a messy regularly updated blog any day! Actually, this blog isn’t updated that regularly but as it has RSS turned on, and when it IS updated, it’s interesting, it doesn’t matter.

Jacques and David chat about their stuff in SecondLife – but don’t harp on, as if SL is the answer to all their web 2.0 hopes. Yes you know what I’m talking about. They totally “get” Zopa and Prosper and Social Lending too.

I found the site because I was looking for information on Insurance 2.0. So nice to have stuff from the horses mouth, not regurgitated via a journo!
EDIT: whacking their blogroll here so I can find it easily again later:

I guess having lived in Asia (I used to direct project strategy for Cisco Systems in the region) I can sense in my tummy what this sort of corporate blog could do it it takes off. Good luck to them!

Australian discussion – Business Blogging at Business Spectator:
Here’s an Australian discussion about corporate blogging at Business Spectator. I need help guys. 😛
Example from my favourite Australian venture capitalist, the man with the heart of gold bullion himself, Ramin Marzbani. Heh. :

Corporate blogs are useless

Ramin Marzbani14 Nov 2007 10:08 AM
Corporate blogs suck – except when they get the company into embarrassing trouble or get hacked by someone with a strange sense of humour. We seem to be confusing entertainment, infotainment, spin and information — just because they can be made to appear in corporate colours on a 2-D screen. Maybe that is the objective. It is amazing to think that anyone in corporate land has something worthwhile and relevant to say on a regular basis (daily/weekly/whatever). Even reporters struggle to do this well. So what is the story? Blogs, vlogs, Second Life, blah blah. All these concerned CEOs reaching out to the youth market or “Gen Whatever” by writing a daily blog? Please give me a break. Corporate blogs are for the most part irrelevant (but still ugly) PR tools and their primary audience tends to be limited to other PR flaks and reporters. So maybe they cut through a little more than a fax or an email – or maybe not.

Mr. Marzbani can always be trusted to stir the pot. I like peering over his shoulder, to see what comes out. If you have anything to add, feel free to go here. But ssshhh! don’t mention the irony of them all yelling about how they don’t ‘get’ Web 2.0 and Blogs and the Consumer Voice.