I’ve been reading the Barbarian Group’s GE Adventure blog for the past month, watching Noah and Benjamin document their discovery of new client General Electric. It’s a treat for us voyeurs: an inside scoop of cool technology through the eyes of people seeing it for the first time.
I think the thing that impresses me most (or makes me most jealous, I’m not sure which) is that this blog probably isn’t the work GE hired the Barbarians for. It’s the prelude to the work, if I understand things right. The Barbarians will ultimately create something cool, engaging and instructive, as is their wont. This blog is the “Free Prize Inside” as Seth Godin would put it. Totally unexpected and of great value.
But what value is it, exactly? I see three areas where GE benefits:
- Content – This is rich content, as my organic search specialists would tell me. It puts out lots of keywords combined with GE. That helps GE with both search and blog outreach.
- Conversation – This isn’t a tech blog as much as it is a marketers discover technology blog. While the level of conversation is high, it aims at laymen (us) as it starts envisioning about how this might affect us. It’s a great model and hopefully one that carries over into the final marketing product
- Visual – The best thing about this blog is all the videos. I wonder who’s creating the videos, whether the Barbarians have their video guy (or girl) shooting and editing everything or whether it’s one of the authors. I hope it’s the latter. Those video stories bring to life everything they’re talking about in an easy to understand way. It puts GE’s value proposition front and center so you can see it, not just read about it.
Image by hddod via Flickr
From an internal perspective there are other value areas. I’ve never seen any marketing group publish its research as it’s happening. We usually hide this away until, TaDa; we present it to the client. We never share this with other marketers, at least until we’ve made a white paper or case study about it. Instead, the Barbarians show us in real time what they’re up to. Ballsy, as usual.
I’m impressed by the discipline of this. Rather than watching the planner and assistant burrow in with all of the research, the Barbarians have to publish what they find on a regular basis! How great is that? It’s an amazing benefit for the team that will work on this.
If I were working on a competitor (I’m not), I’d be watching this and stealing as much as I could. Of course, it’s not really about data, it’s about what you do with that, so the Barbarians don’t have to worry so much about the stealing. But it’s out there and if the competition isn’t paying attention, they’re falling down on the job.
The only issue I have is that this is pretty guy centric. Maybe that’s GE’s target. But it’s two creative and technical guys, Noah and Benjamin, talking to a lot of guy engineers about technology. I think it could benefit from having a female perspective on this, because things like wind power have to speak to women as well as men.
In the mean time, you’ll find me following the GE Adventure and learning as much as I can about GE and the Barbarian process.