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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