June 17th, 2009

JNJBTW and the Post

JNJBTW received a shout out the other day from one of our nation’s leading newspapers. But it wasn’t the kind of mention of the blog that I felt all that good about. The article concerned how pharmaceutical companies were turning to social media as a way to reach their customers, and listed JNJBTW as one of many examples of how companies were on the social web. It’s a trend we’ve noticed as well, and given the growing number of people who go online for health information, one that will continue. (Note to the Washington Post – Johnson & Johnson isn’t a “pharmaceutical” company – we have substantial medical device and consumer businesses as well. ) According to the paper:

Johnson & Johnson also hosts a blog (http://www.jnjbtw.com) that is largely self-congratulatory about what the company is doing (see “Giving Back Image of the Week”). But it recently had a couple of interesting tidbits, including a J&J expert on the value of corporate wellness programs and a series of tips on keeping kids safe from injury.

I’m glad the writer found the tips from Dr. Isaac and from Safe Kids to be of interest, but I was disappointed to hear that she found the blog – and in particular the Giving Back Image of the Week — to be “self-congratulatory.”

Through JNJBTW I had hoped to provide some of those folks in the corporation who are usually silent an opportunity to be heard and to engage with others online. I’ve encouraged people to use it to tell their stories, share their perspectives on different topics that are of importance to them and try to connect with others online. I don’t think the folks posting on the blog meant to give themselves a “pat on the back,” but were instead posting to share their experiences with others.

The same holds true for the Giving Back Image of the Week. When Shaun Mickus and I discussed his interest in posting the photos, I know he felt it was more about highlighting the efforts of the charitable organizations we happen to partner with than talking about our company’s support. I think our hope was that we would encourage others to learn more about the activities of these organizations.

Clearly there is room for more “interesting tidbits” and other useful information on corporate blogs like JNJBTW, but I also think there is space for people at companies to blog about what they are doing and who they are working with.

6 Responses to “JNJBTW and the Post”

  1. zayzayem says

    I’d be inclined to agree with The Post’s assessment of this blog.

    JNJBTW is about J&J. It’s a sad political climate we live in, that talking about oneself (or being accused of talking about oneself) is seen as a bad thing.

    I think the blog overall is a good thing, and raising awareness of your company’s socially responsible activities is an important goal.

    It can be difficult to strike a balance between ‘raising awareness’and ‘blowing steam up your own pipe’. perhaps one way this blog could seem more independent is to highlight charity and events that J&J is not financially involved in.

    But then again, if livejournal has taught us anything, people are more than happy to read perfect strangers rattling on about themselves …

    More thoughts and a possible conflict disclaimer can be found here.

    (also I think someone forgot to close a markup tag in there)

  2. Leighann of Multi-Minding Mom says

    I disagree.

    I think it is great to disseminate information about what a company is doing behind the scenes.

    It is all well and good for a company to say that they donate a percentage of their profits to charity, but it is even better to see where that money is actually going and how it benefits *real* people.

    I would also love to see more about JNJ’s environmental efforts. At Camp Baby, I was so surprised to learn the extent of JNJ’s use of solar power.

    In a news climate that tends to be so focused on the negative, I appreciate a company who can highlight some good.

  3. Marc says

    Thanks, guys. I do appreciate the feedback and thoughts about this. At the end of the day, I would like to provide people with information that they find of use. Please let me know if you have any other thoughts about all of this.

  4. zayzayem says

    I don’t mean there is anything wrong with it. I think the post is a little more accusatory in tone, but c’mon, can you really have a straight face and deny this blog is not somehow an initiative to market J&J (not that there is anything wrong with that).

  5. zayzayem says

    BTW I really like the new look (white with black text is almost always dissapointing*).

    However, somehow it seems different to the J&J brand image that I’m used to.

    *But now I’m having trouble remembering what the old site was, it was white with black text, wasn’t it?

  6. Marc says

    I’m having trouble remembering it too — but yes, it was black with white text with the image of an earhorn across the top to symbolize how we were trying to learn again how to listen to people, but needed some help… anyway, times have changed, and so we wanted to provide a new look and feel to the blog to symbolize that change. Again, I appreciate the feedback. Let me know if you have any other thoughts…

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