Big brands turn to small blog houses for big results

In January Seagate shocked me when they decided not to do a big booth at the Consumer Electronics Show, focusing more on small, intimate, experiences for bloggers and OEMs that they needed to meet with. It was a strategy that’s paid off this year and their stock has rebounded well.

Next month HP won’t have a booth at CES. Same reason. They know that the PR they need will come from visits with Engadget and other bloggers (we’re getting briefed this week on what their major news will be in a hotel room in San Francisco).

At many events now I’m seeing tons of blog houses and other social media suites and parties opening up. I’ll be at several of them next month at both CES and the Sundance Film Festival.

Why? Well, look at last week’s LeWeb.

Chris Heuer and his wife Kristy, run the Social Media Club. They wanted to find a way to save money on hotels in Paris. They found a house for rent, which cost something around 5,000 Euros, and they got several sponsors, largely PayPal, to pick up most of the costs for the house, which they branded “the Social Media Club House.” They invited me and I stayed free for several days (along with several other bloggers and journalists, some of which are pictured in the short video above). It was a real hoot!

PayPal booth at LeWeb

What did PayPal get? Mentions on our blogs and Twitter accounts, but a private dinner where they got to know us away from the hustle and bustle of their show floor exhibit (let’s be honest, how many minutes do we spend inside such booths? Not many, let me tell you).

So, it’s a win-win all the way around. They get to build relationships with bloggers and journalists for a low investment (far lower than building an expensive booth).

Are you seeing any other examples of this trend? Let me know of your social media houses that’ll happen at conferences next year here.

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Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. Love the intimate nature of shifting values. More focused, personal meetings instead of a “broadcast” booth. Certainly the social media clubhouse sounds fun.

  2. Small start-up have done this for years much like small retailers rely on the big box retailers to bring in the crowds to the mall. My question is how can shows like CES keep going if they loose the big exhibitors? It doesn't sound sustainable.

  3. Seagate after beaten to a pulp by WD, and still reeling from missteps galore and the worst (now former) CEO in company history, decides not to play with the big Enterprise boys, forgoing the expense, rather gabfest to the twizzlehead bloggers. That's not a position of strength.

    It's a TRADE SHOW. Purchase Managers, Corporate/Gov buyers, mass Retail buyers (I mean worldwide MASS), it's not really a PR event, playing buzz games with short-attention-span bloggers is the quickest path to DOOM.

  4. And to think it all started with PodTech's legendary CES “BlogHaus” in January '07 — with John Furrier, you, Jeremiah Owyang, and tons of the blogosphere's best in attendance. That thing was a game-changer, and I'm so glad I got to experience it. No one really cared much about the showfloor — the action was in that giant 24×7 hotel suite.

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