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I'm trying to convince my client to use a blog to communicate with his audience and promote his site. However, I'm still unsure whether this blog should explicitly advertise the brand as in Nike Blog or appear discretly as a sponsor, should anyone read the 'about us'.

The reason I'm concerned is because the purpose of this blog is to produce articles about subjects that is of the brand's audience interest, not an institutional blog that would eventually publish news, promotions and what not. There's already a news bulletin for people who are directly interested in the brand and we're trying to reach another audience: the people who'd probably leave if they noticed the blog is institutional.

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Are you asking for an opinion on the best approach? Can you explain how someone could correctly answer this question? –  JMC Jul 22 '11 at 20:38
    
Definitely seems like opinion-gathering more than anything else. While I don't think there's really a "factual" answer, it is interesting as a practices discussion. Maybe should be make a wiki item? –  Su' Jul 22 '11 at 20:51
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If it really isn't intended as direct promotion for the business, there's nothing wrong with having the blog live on its own and just putting a "brought to you by" blurb or similar somewhere in the layout. Maybe a longer explanation on a dedicated page.

Just how discrete to make this is up to you, but I'd suggest having at least a basic call-out someplace consistently visible(header, sidebar), rather than only stashed away on an about page. Even if the site isn't specifically about the brand, it's likely that references will be made on and off, and people will pick up on it. There's nothing wrong with that, but the more "hidden" the disclosure is in the eyes of anyone who may object, the worse the reaction will likely be.

A particularly successful example of this I can recall is the We Love You So blog maintained by the people who were working on the Where the Wild Things Are movie. As things wound down in the final entries, they were addressing the movie production directly, but if you dig into the archives a bit, it was mostly just a big collection of things that inspired and influenced them.

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+1 for mentioning an interesting case –  Renan Jul 22 '11 at 22:15
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