When I talk to people about corporate weblogs, I often discuss how an informal, open, honest voice is very compelling to customers. They've spent their lives reading well-spun marketing speak (which, as a writer of said speak, has its own place). When somebody from your company speaks directly and frankly to them, they're immediately sucked in. Johnathan Schwartz, COO of Sun Microsystems, gets this. Check out his aside to the OpenOffice community at the end of a recent weblog post:
Please do not listen to the bizarro numbskull anti-Sun conspiracy theorists. They were lunatics then, they are lunatics now, they will always be lunatics. We love the open source community, we spawned from it. We'll protect that community, that innovation, and our place in it, with all our heart and energy.
Just think, next to J2ME, OpenOffice is the single highest volume product we've ever delivered. In the history of our company. You know my views on volume. Dorking that up is not in our strategic plan.
OpenOffice matters. Moreso every day.
People love and thrive upon that kind of honest, direct communication. It's not always possible, but when it is, shoot from the hip.