Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spreading the Word - Chief Corporate Evangelists

Spreading the Word
Corporate evangelists recruit customers who love to create buzz about a product

When Google hired Vint "Father of the Internet" Cerf last September, it gave him the ecclesiastical-sounding title of "Chief Internet Evangelist." His job, as Cerf himself has explained, is "helping people understand--both inside and outside of Google--what Google's potential is." Now to nontechnophiles or those residing outside Silicon Valley, the move might have seemed like another New Agey gesture by the search-engine superpower. This is, after all, a company with the it's-hard-to-keep-from-rolling-your-eyes corporate mantra of "Don't Be Evil." So, is chief Internet evangelist just an effort to apply a quasi-spiritual gloss on some glorified marketing position?

Don't be cynical. Google is only one of many companies, mostly in the technology sector, designating certain employees as "evangelists." Microsoft has technology evangelists reaching out to developers and consumers through company-sponsored Internet forums such as Channel 9 and The Hive. Some companies, such as Sun Microsystems, have even created the overarching position of "chief evangelist" who focuses more on trumpeting core values and vision. The word "evangelist" comes from the Greek word eu-angelos, meaning "bringer of good news."

But the job of a corporate evangelist is about way more than preaching the wonders of a company to customers and clients. "Evangelism is about selling your dream so that other people believe in it as much as you do," says Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple Computer and one of the key people responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984.

"Those people then, in turn, get even more people to believe. Just like Jesus was an evangelist who recruited 12 more evangelists."

Keeping the Faith - always,
Stephen Rene
Have You Heard The Truth Today?
TOGETHER - We ARE Making a Difference - EVERYDAY!

No comments: