Type 'Nike reports' into Google and you get at no.4: altfunction. A small (but one would hope, almost perfectly formed) weblog with a certain focus. Someone visited altfunction through Google from that search yesterday. In fact, type 'corporate responsibility technology' in and at number no.1 you get altfunction.
Congratulations, you may be muttering: so what?
a) Nike's CSR report got a lot of coverage in the press recently. If someone wants a non-Nike opinion they might Google and find this site. When Google is probably the first port of call for the inexpert, that puts me in a minor, but nonetheless, not insignificant position. Just imagine what the other links are brought up by the search. Hey, don't imagine, take a look yourself.
Lesson one: on the web businesses have little control over what people are saying about them. And it's not just the big media organisations making the running. Small blogs can have an impact too.
b) There are many organisations working around the issues I discuss here. As are many people, well-known in their fields, but they don't show up quickly in Google.
Lesson two: blogs are the profile-builders of the 21st century. I wouldn't yet say that if you don't blog you don't exist (many a wit has coined blogito ergo sum), but you don't have the profile you could do where it matters more and more. Online: where, increasingly, the other stakeholders are.