Why don’t more agencies blog?

This is not restricted to India, but globally too, there are only a handful of agency blogs. One would imagine that this being a great tool for agencies to showcase its thinkers and creative stars, there would be more.

Many of the agency bigwigs and creative stars in India articulate their thoughts through newspaper articles, interviews and sound bytes on TV programmes. Why not set up a blog? I think the dearth of blogs from agencies is the same reason why stuff like agency websites, calendars, new year cards and such always have some bottlenecks. When it comes to ‘self’ as the brand many agencies do not practice what they preach. When printed calendars were the norm, the agency calendars used to be the last ones to go out! And we would go urge the client to follow a date plan!

When it comes to telling the client to embrace social media, buzz monitoring and corporate blogs there will be no dearth of advice. But internally initiating such stuff means turf wars, bureaucracy and merry-go-round on ‘who does what’. The New York Times wrote this in 2004 (it rings true even today!):

Agencies with blogs , though, are in a minority. For many, particularly the large networks, the potential risks still outweigh the benefits.

“Blogs are in fashion, and it is easy to hop on the bandwagon and say that every company should have one,” said Linda Sawyer, managing partner and chief operating officer at Deutsch in New York, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies and an agency without a blog. “The questions any smart marketer should be asking are, ‘Does this provide a platform to connect with their most relevant audiences and how will this address business objectives?’ “

“That’s not to say we would never enter blogland,” Ms. Sawyer said, “but there is a fine line between being timely, topical and keeping current while making sure that we are doing what’s best for our business long term.”

The biggest fear is an uncontrolled message slipping out, said Steve Rubel, vice president for client services at CooperKatz & Company in New York, a public relations agency with clients including the Association of National Advertisers, J. P. Morgan Chase and Wendy’s. “Do they allow comments or do they not? Is there an implication if it is a publicly traded firm? Who is the one who should blog for us? How might that choice be received in the company?”

All valid fears. But the big agencies anyway ‘nominate’ the two or three people who are the face of the agency. They could pen their thoughts. Maybe it could be a collaborative effort between Planning, HR and the interactive team. Hmmm, I see this being postponed to week-commencing 17th April since the diaries don’t tally.

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