Blogging the Agency
Aki Spicer – Fallon, Ed Cotton – BSSP
AAAA’s Planning Conference 2007




August 2007
“Favorite blogs: Mr. Wolfe, quot;weary of narcissistic shrieks and baseless
 'information,' quot; says he no longer reads ...
Flow
• Introductions

• Share Our Stories

• Share Our Learning

• Thoughts on the Future

• Hear from You

• Blog about It
Introductions
Influx Insights
Started as a Client Magazine
Some Facts
• 2,000 unique visits/day

• Library of 2,000+ posts

• Visitors
   – Companies: All agencies, Motorola, Kodak,...
Why?
• Discipline
   – Look around; curiosity
   – Develop a POV

• Connectivity

• Shop window

• Engineering test bed

•...
Fallon Planning Blog
Started from a desire to harvest our
collective intelligence
• Evolve department expression internally and
  outwardly
   ...
Some Facts
• Started in Jan 2006

• 600 visits/day

• Library of 1,000+ posts

• Visitors
   – Companies: Intra-agency, al...
Why?
•   If the world is networked, so too should planners (agency)
     – Widen distribution of information/conversation
...
New questions from our clients (and
new responsibilities for agency)
•   Example new questions asked of Fallon’s planning ...
What We Did
What We Did
• Asked two questions to a dozen prominent planner
  bloggers

• Sent out an eight-question survey to the plan...
Key Learning
• Blogging is changing planning

• It’s creating a new dynamic environment of shared
  conversation
   – Wher...
Key Learning
• Dangers
  – The “time suck”– reading hundreds of feeds and writing can
    be a huge distraction
  – Groupt...
Survey Findings
Some Baseless and Unreliable Stats
Planner survey – 38 responses!

Findings

• An average of 6.5 years of experience

• 34...
Where They Go
Two Questions


• Why is blogging important for planners?

• How has blogging helped you as a planner?
The Dirty Dozen



                                     Gareth Kay - Modernista
Richard Huntington - United               ...
Three Types of Planner: Blog
Relationships
•   “Passionates”
    – Blogging is now a way of life

•   “Accepters”
    – Ad...
“The Passionates” Blogging is a way of life
“The Passionates”
• Blog religiously

• Understand the multiple benefits

• Makes them better planners

• See “sharing”, i...
Three Benefits for “Passionates”

1.   Consistent with the “craft” of planning

2.   Community

3.   Connected to the chan...
1. Consistent with the “Craft”
Good Planning Traits
“It helps you develop good planning habits: fecundity,
precis, sharing, curiosity.”

                ...
An Idea Test Bed and Depository
“It's given me a chance to test out theories and to learn to write better — nothing like p...
Helps You Stay Curious
“Because I have an outlet for my thoughts and ideas, I am constantly
searching for interesting insi...
Free Research

“Blogging is important for planners because it’s the
best free research tool ever. You get to experience
th...
A Hatchery for New Thinking
“New ideas, however ill-formed at first, spread with ferocious speed at the moment, making you...
“Other people have made me smarter! I’m probably
generating more, and better, thinking than ever before.”

               ...
2. Community
A Unifying Force
“I have often joked that it is only planners that blog in advertising because account people
have nothing...
A Support Group
“It provides a general sense of camaraderie where it’s
easy to feel isolated as the only/one of a few plan...
An Access Point
“I can have conversations in the office with my peers, but blogging can engage you
in conversations with a...
Become More Interesting
“With blogging I’ve met more interesting people in the
past year than I’ve met in the past ten.”
3. Connected to the Changing World
Understanding a Changing World
“Consumers are adopting technologies at a much faster rate than agencies or our
clients. I'...
Get the 2.0 World

“You only get Web 2.0 by living in it. It is one of a series of basic
activities (belonging to social n...
Net Result: Galvanizing the Discipline



“Planning is better, smarter, more informed and
more vibrant than it’s been for ...
“Accepters” Seeking daily inspiration from Russell
Davies and Perez Hilton
Healthy Skepticism
                                  Wasting Time
Access to ideas–“getting “lost”

                       ...
A New Research Tool
“Reading all of my friends’ blogs tells me more about planning than
I could ever learn from school or ...
Validation
“It provides a way for us to confirm our own thoughts.
The wisdom of the crowd can be reassuring.”
“In some ways I think it might homogenize our
thinking…which could kill our profession.”
“Rejecters” There’s something not quite right about it…
“Rejecters”
• Not essential for the day job

• Adds too much noise, at a time when they are looking
  for filters

• Don’t...
“I think blogging is generally a waste of time. If anyone
working for me spent as much time pontificating online
as some d...
“I regard most of the ones I have seen as self-
indulgent business development devices.”
“Most people who write blogs (or anything for that
matter) shouldn't be writing. It’s ego masquerading as
content and our ...
“I would write about being forced to write a blog.
My objective would be to ignore the order to write
one.”
Nine Ways to a Better Blog
1. Make more contributions.
• More content, consistently.
   – Stick and move. Stop thinking about it so hard and write
  ...
2. Add more voices.
• Leverage the many POVs within your organization.
   – Take less pressure off yourself to deliver bri...
3. More WWE, less Harvard.
• Blogs should NOT be academic.
   – Get left-of-center with your topics.
   – Keep it interest...
4. Put your unique spin on it.
• It’s easy for us to just post the quick news bite.
   – Progress to more personal explora...
5. Start a fire.
• If you’re afraid that what you may say will not be liked
  by readers—that is probably the signal to ju...
6. Make it a treat to read.
• If you ain’t having fun, then quit. If your readers ain’t
  having fun, then quit.
   – Use ...
7. Serve yourself, first.
•   Make your blog useful to yourself first, others will find their own
    value for themselves...
8. Hone your persona.
• Brand yourself, hone a distinct and recognizable style
  and be consistent to your brand across th...
9. Jump.
• If you’re gonna do it, do it all the way. Otherwise, just
  step off the ledge.
   – Yes, they just may steal f...
Bonus: Training wheels
• If you’re still afraid to fly (but feel compelled to try)
   – Start small:
       •   Microblogg...
Where Next?
Where Next?
1. Media Legitimization
   –   Advertising Age and the “Power 150”

2. Agencies Always Follow Clients
   – Gre...
Where Next?
4. Blogs Will Meet Basecamp and Facebook
   – Blogs will evolve to more collaborative networking centers;
    ...
But…
• Every planner who blogs will constantly need to be
  asking themselves the question…
   – Am I adding value or addi...
Over to You
Questionnaires?
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Ed Cotton of Butler Shine + Stern/Influx Insights and Aki Spicer of Fallon Planning Blog presented "Blogging the Agency" at AAAA Planning Conference 2007 in San Diego

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AAAABloggingtheAgency.pdf

  1. 1. Blogging the Agency Aki Spicer – Fallon, Ed Cotton – BSSP AAAA’s Planning Conference 2007 August 2007
  2. 2. “Favorite blogs: Mr. Wolfe, quot;weary of narcissistic shrieks and baseless 'information,' quot; says he no longer reads blogs.” — WSJ, July 14th, 2007
  3. 3. Flow • Introductions • Share Our Stories • Share Our Learning • Thoughts on the Future • Hear from You • Blog about It
  4. 4. Introductions
  5. 5. Influx Insights
  6. 6. Started as a Client Magazine
  7. 7. Some Facts • 2,000 unique visits/day • Library of 2,000+ posts • Visitors – Companies: All agencies, Motorola, Kodak, Mars, Cisco, Bank of America – Countries: Sweden, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Fiji, etc.
  8. 8. Why? • Discipline – Look around; curiosity – Develop a POV • Connectivity • Shop window • Engineering test bed • A powerful resource
  9. 9. Fallon Planning Blog
  10. 10. Started from a desire to harvest our collective intelligence • Evolve department expression internally and outwardly – Beyond the “deck” – Beyond the “brief” – Beyond the company/client press release
  11. 11. Some Facts • Started in Jan 2006 • 600 visits/day • Library of 1,000+ posts • Visitors – Companies: Intra-agency, all agencies, young planners in training, news media, etc. – Countries: UK, Arab Emirates, Brazil, Turkey, Germany, Tokyo, etc…
  12. 12. Why? • If the world is networked, so too should planners (agency) – Widen distribution of information/conversation – Culture of collaboration - each one teach one – Collaborative problem solving - tap hidden resources within your dept/agency/discipline – Research Work Tool - valuable bank of ideas – “Don’t bother me” - self-service resource of info/case studies • Hone individual voice -practice authorship daily • Feet Wet In The Future - the Hive Mind • “Pudding” - maintain image as culture of innovation (and thinkers)
  13. 13. New questions from our clients (and new responsibilities for agency) • Example new questions asked of Fallon’s planning department in 2007: – “Should we have a blog?” – “Who should write and maintain our blog, if we start one?” – “Can your agency help us manage it?” – “Help us raise our Digg profile!” – “Are we being chatted about in the blogosphere? How may we boost our blog chatter?” – “We need a plan for blogger outreach (Can our PR person do that? Can you help her?).” – “Our exec director wants to make herself available to answer questions in a press conference exclusive to bloggers. May you outline what she may expect, what are the protocols to note and pitfalls to avoid?” • Fallon Planning Blog has informed our responses…
  14. 14. What We Did
  15. 15. What We Did • Asked two questions to a dozen prominent planner bloggers • Sent out an eight-question survey to the planning community
  16. 16. Key Learning • Blogging is changing planning • It’s creating a new dynamic environment of shared conversation – Where there’s constant addition and development of thinking and new ideas – It’s forcing planners to contribute and think • At its best, it’s making planners better. At a minimum, it’s providing new sources, resources, a community and a peek behind the curtain
  17. 17. Key Learning • Dangers – The “time suck”– reading hundreds of feeds and writing can be a huge distraction – Groupthink
  18. 18. Survey Findings
  19. 19. Some Baseless and Unreliable Stats Planner survey – 38 responses! Findings • An average of 6.5 years of experience • 34% are bloggers • Spend 5.8 hours a week reading blogs • Read an average of 23.5 blogs/day
  20. 20. Where They Go
  21. 21. Two Questions • Why is blogging important for planners? • How has blogging helped you as a planner?
  22. 22. The Dirty Dozen Gareth Kay - Modernista Richard Huntington - United Simon Law - WCRS Mark Lewis - DDB http://garethkay.typepad.com/ http://www.adliterate.com/ http://www.simon-law.com/ http://planning-outside-in.blogspot.com Faris Yakob - Naked Mark Earls - Herd Consultancy Jason Oke - Leo Burnett Russell Davies - Open Intelligence Agency http://farisyakob.typepad.com/ http://herd.typepad.com/ http://www.lbtoronto.typepad.com/ http://russelldavies.typepad.com/ Jon Steel - WPP Noah Brier - Naked Mark Barden - eatbigfish John Keehler - GSDM http://www.noahbrier.com/ http://www.randomculture.com
  23. 23. Three Types of Planner: Blog Relationships • “Passionates” – Blogging is now a way of life • “Accepters” – Added blogs to their reading list • “Rejecters” – Not cool – Don’t have time for it
  24. 24. “The Passionates” Blogging is a way of life
  25. 25. “The Passionates” • Blog religiously • Understand the multiple benefits • Makes them better planners • See “sharing”, instead of “ego”
  26. 26. Three Benefits for “Passionates” 1. Consistent with the “craft” of planning 2. Community 3. Connected to the changing world
  27. 27. 1. Consistent with the “Craft”
  28. 28. Good Planning Traits “It helps you develop good planning habits: fecundity, precis, sharing, curiosity.” — Russell Davies
  29. 29. An Idea Test Bed and Depository “It's given me a chance to test out theories and to learn to write better — nothing like public exposure to focus the mind!” — Simon Law “It gives me a place to think and talk.” — Russell Davies “I think the pressure to post forces you to get down your thinking that you used to forget or lose in a notebook…” — Gareth Kay “The biggest thing has actually probably been the search feature on my site. I have some 700 entries and 4,000 bookmarks saved and being able to search across my brain over the last three years has helped me considerably.” — Noah Brier
  30. 30. Helps You Stay Curious “Because I have an outlet for my thoughts and ideas, I am constantly searching for interesting insights and possible topics. This aligns quite nicely with the skills a planner needs—They need to constantly have their eyes open and be ready to receive inspiration from anything around them.” — Noah Brier “At its most mundane, blogging—contrary to popular opinion—helps you to become more interesting, because doing at least a weekly post encourages you to become less of an ivory tower/agency-bound planner... and look hard at the world (David Hockney does a good line about how looking is a highly underrated skill).” — Mark Earls
  31. 31. Free Research “Blogging is important for planners because it’s the best free research tool ever. You get to experience the real poles of debate on an issue where the interesting stuff always lies.” — Gareth Kay
  32. 32. A Hatchery for New Thinking “New ideas, however ill-formed at first, spread with ferocious speed at the moment, making you aware of all sorts of thinking and giving you the ability to contribute to it. Transmedia Planning from Faris and Brand Enthusiasm from John being two clear and very recent examples.” — Richard Huntingdon “Given how understaffed most planning departments are, it’s very easy for the day to disappear in meetings, briefs, etc., leaving little time for thinking through or researching bigger issues or ideas from different fields. Committing to writing a blog is my own commitment to make time to think about wider (sometimes more academic) issues.” — Mark Lewis “We are all lazy and prone to falling back on old ideas. Only a constant stream of new info can save us from ossifying. If you write a blog, you are always looking for new stories.” — John Grant
  33. 33. “Other people have made me smarter! I’m probably generating more, and better, thinking than ever before.” — Gareth Kay
  34. 34. 2. Community
  35. 35. A Unifying Force “I have often joked that it is only planners that blog in advertising because account people have nothing to say and creatives have better places to say it, but maybe it’s more that blogging was built for us. Blogging has given us planners a way to show we are good and create influence.” — Richard Huntingdon “I think blogging now does for planners what conferences and training used to do, but in Internet time. We come together, share ideas, get feedback, meet each other, learn from each other. Perhaps, if anything, more than even the APG in some ways, blogging has given planners a sense of collective identity.” — Faris Yakob “Blogging has created a planning community online that provides introductions and builds close ties within the discipline based primarily on the commodity we value most highly - how people think. Indeed, as a bunch of people who often shy away from traditional networking and schmoozing, it has filled a very valuable need amongst planners.” — Richard Huntingdon
  36. 36. A Support Group “It provides a general sense of camaraderie where it’s easy to feel isolated as the only/one of a few planners in an agency.”
  37. 37. An Access Point “I can have conversations in the office with my peers, but blogging can engage you in conversations with an immense number of people. The opinions are diverse and never-ending.” — John Keehler “By having access to brains outside planning, in other depts, different kinds of agencies, in client organizations, in other industries. By getting people I would never otherwise meet excited about something that interests me. By helping me find those people in the first place.” — Faris Yakob “We can get closer to the thoughts of other planners and experts in other fields. What other way could there be to peer into the thoughts of people like Henry Jenkins or Steve Johnson unless you flew out and spent time with them in person.” — Mark Lewis
  38. 38. Become More Interesting “With blogging I’ve met more interesting people in the past year than I’ve met in the past ten.”
  39. 39. 3. Connected to the Changing World
  40. 40. Understanding a Changing World “Consumers are adopting technologies at a much faster rate than agencies or our clients. I'm not sure if we were ever leading the pack, but the distance between us is growing ever-further. I see it as my responsibility to close that gap…” — John Keehler “Blogging forces you to do two things... Firstly, to think about the digital world by becoming involved in it. And, secondly, to reconsider everything that is easy to take for granted. Overall, there's more information circulating and more discussion taking place—that's a great thing for all of us.” — Simon Law
  41. 41. Get the 2.0 World “You only get Web 2.0 by living in it. It is one of a series of basic activities (belonging to social networks is another) which allow you to understand how the current emerging culture works, intuitively. Many core concepts of new marketing flow from this: collaboration, community, advocacy, the folksy culture, gift economics, habit formation, marketing enthusiasm, the wisdom of crowds, lots of small ideas, transmedia planning, brand utility, always in beta... If you don't get this your strategies, your approaches to research and innovation will be anachronistic. If you do get it you will know more strategic angles: tricks and twists.” — John Grant
  42. 42. Net Result: Galvanizing the Discipline “Planning is better, smarter, more informed and more vibrant than it’s been for ages and it’s the (global) conversation that’s happening via blogs which is the main cause.”
  43. 43. “Accepters” Seeking daily inspiration from Russell Davies and Perez Hilton
  44. 44. Healthy Skepticism Wasting Time Access to ideas–“getting “lost” Truth? Dynamic, real-time information A virtual planning department/ Groupthink cross-pollination Sharing/Training Stealing “ Like cheating off someone’s paper in school…”
  45. 45. A New Research Tool “Reading all of my friends’ blogs tells me more about planning than I could ever learn from school or the industry alone.” “Blogs give us a peek into the world of the passionate members of the audience… without having to pay people to tell us what they think… They are more honest than much of the research we do.” “It can be a source of ideas and vocabulary from real individuals. I used blog opinions on “alpha-males” and it was more colorful than any formal research could be.”
  46. 46. Validation “It provides a way for us to confirm our own thoughts. The wisdom of the crowd can be reassuring.”
  47. 47. “In some ways I think it might homogenize our thinking…which could kill our profession.”
  48. 48. “Rejecters” There’s something not quite right about it…
  49. 49. “Rejecters” • Not essential for the day job • Adds too much noise, at a time when they are looking for filters • Don’t get it • See it as ego driven • Not part of the “craft”– “Gonzo Planning” at its worst
  50. 50. “I think blogging is generally a waste of time. If anyone working for me spent as much time pontificating online as some do, I would probably fire them. It used to be that planners would gather to engage in intellectual masturbation only once a year, at the APG conference. Now they can do it every day, and it can't be good for productivity. I say stop blogging and read a good novel.” — Jon Steel
  51. 51. “I regard most of the ones I have seen as self- indulgent business development devices.”
  52. 52. “Most people who write blogs (or anything for that matter) shouldn't be writing. It’s ego masquerading as content and our industry has too much of that already, the world has too much of that already. I am missing nothing by not reading blogs.” — Mark Barden
  53. 53. “I would write about being forced to write a blog. My objective would be to ignore the order to write one.”
  54. 54. Nine Ways to a Better Blog
  55. 55. 1. Make more contributions. • More content, consistently. – Stick and move. Stop thinking about it so hard and write more. – Force yourself to say something on the blog frequently - a one sentence comment, 5 minutes in-and-out… – Stop intimidating yourself with “the time it takes”.
  56. 56. 2. Add more voices. • Leverage the many POVs within your organization. – Take less pressure off yourself to deliver brilliance on every post by inviting contributions from collegues. – Post vodcast interviews with people that interest you (consumers, forward thinkers, entrepreneurs, authors).
  57. 57. 3. More WWE, less Harvard. • Blogs should NOT be academic. – Get left-of-center with your topics. – Keep it interesting by presenting your ideas in fresh ways.
  58. 58. 4. Put your unique spin on it. • It’s easy for us to just post the quick news bite. – Progress to more personal explorations of the news bite. – Note: Adding your POV doesn’t have to mean more time to write, simply work to make the newslink your own.
  59. 59. 5. Start a fire. • If you’re afraid that what you may say will not be liked by readers—that is probably the signal to just say it. Loudly. – Provocation raises your Digg ranks and boosts your comment responses. – Good conversation is not simply polite agreement and groupthink. – But remember, folks, let’s not hurt any feelings. And make certain not to take it personally.
  60. 60. 6. Make it a treat to read. • If you ain’t having fun, then quit. If your readers ain’t having fun, then quit. – Use photos to arrest attentions. They just may speak more to your point than additional text will anyway. – Great headlines can invite readers in and telegraph what will be discussed. – Stop writing so damn seriously, dude, it’s just a blog.
  61. 61. 7. Serve yourself, first. • Make your blog useful to yourself first, others will find their own value for themselves. – Ask (and answer) questions that occur daily on a project you’re working on. – Share posts with your teams - propagandize if you want, add fuel to an internal debate. – Post a chart you’re working on and solicit input. – Build case studies for your later use. – Make your blog posts into ongoing addendums and footnotes to the creative briefs. – Google Analytics, Statcounter, Feedburner, Technorati, MyBlogLog, Blogpulse, EgoSurf, Walk2Web all provide you FREE code to track your performance in the mirror (and see who’s looking at you).
  62. 62. 8. Hone your persona. • Brand yourself, hone a distinct and recognizable style and be consistent to your brand across the blogosphere. – Write to topic(s) you are strongest in. – Your posts build on your expertise and re-enforce your online character. This persona is of value for readers. – Being yourself demands less effort to write insightful posts.
  63. 63. 9. Jump. • If you’re gonna do it, do it all the way. Otherwise, just step off the ledge. – Yes, they just may steal from you (charts, analysis, comments, POVs). – Yes, they just may not agree with you. – Give ‘em a free bite, and keep ‘em coming to you for more expertise. – We’re not suggesting you post client secrets, nor post classified activities. – Surely the extent of your value exceeds beyond some blog posts. – It benefits you to elevate your thinking out of unseen decks and into the spheres of your teams, your bosses, your peers.
  64. 64. Bonus: Training wheels • If you’re still afraid to fly (but feel compelled to try) – Start small: • Microblogging (Tumblr, Meshly) • Scrapbooking (de.li.ci.ous, Flickr) • Lifestreaming (Facebook, Twittr) • Social Networking (Plannershere, Facebook, LinkedIn)
  65. 65. Where Next?
  66. 66. Where Next? 1. Media Legitimization – Advertising Age and the “Power 150” 2. Agencies Always Follow Clients – Greater transparency and Web 2.0 will impact clients and create expectations for agencies to have blogs – Is it a planning blog or an agency blog? – Direct channel into client desktops, daily 3. The Blog as New Business Tool – Once a blog proves itself as a new business-winning tool, management pressure will create a domino effect: all agencies will have blogs, just like planners
  67. 67. Where Next? 4. Blogs Will Meet Basecamp and Facebook – Blogs will evolve to more collaborative networking centers; more sharing and building 5. It Will Become Easier – Micro blogs will make it easier for new entrants – More Twitter and Tumblr applications will turn some “Accepters” into “Passionates” 6. Agencies invent web 2.0? – Measurement tools (TubeMogul) – Software development (Fallon staff invent Meshly.com)
  68. 68. But… • Every planner who blogs will constantly need to be asking themselves the question… – Am I adding value or adding noise?
  69. 69. Over to You
  70. 70. Questionnaires?
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