A recent article on BrandWeek.com highlights the challenges and successes in corporate blogging. There are a number of notable corporate blogs mentioned, David Neeleman's JetBlue Flightlog (which had a bit of a hiccup after their canceled flights), to McDonald's focus on corporate social responsibility on Open for Discussion, to the infectious Southwest Airlines' Nuts About Southwest, to Bill Marriott's ambitious and very personal approach on Marriott On the Move.
The bottom line: each one of these blogs serves a purpose, reflects positively on the brand it represents, and aligns with a larger corporate communications strategy. Blogging itself is not a strategy.
An observation from the article: larger companies are less likely to have CEOs blogging; these are typically run by PR and product management types. I can't say this is surprising - what Fortune 500 CEO has time to blog full-time? Nor is it a negative thing. As long as good content is being provided (and by "good" I mean something that is considered valuable by readers), it doesn't matter who writes it.
People want to know what goes on inside their favorite companies; they want to know what employees - from the CEO to the administrative assistants - think about the company they work for.
Why this need for near-voyeuristic information? Because to some customers, everything a company does reflects on its brand. Think this just applies to your most loyal customers? Think again. Look at what's happening to Wal-Mart because of the way they choose to handle healthcare.
We all know the buzzwords that are echoing in the marketing space right now: authenticity, transparency, responsiveness. All of these should be addressed as part of a marketing strategy, and a good corporate blog is one way to start.