Ketchum Personalized Media Practice launched... with a few hiccups...

Last Monday I read on Micropersuasion about the launch of Ketchum's new "Personalized Media" practice:
Ketchum, a leading marketing and corporate communications firm, today launched Ketchum Personalized Media, a global service that advises organizations to know how, why and when to integrate the growing roster of online and wireless media – from blogs and podcasts to mobile marketing – into their overall communications strategy.

Ketchum Personalized Media“With Ketchum Personalized Media, organizations can reach individuals with the right message at the right time in the right format,” explained Paul Rand, Ketchum Partner, Chicago Managing Director, and co-leader of the development team that oversees the service. “A lot of conflicting information and anxiety exists about how to incorporate these new online technologies into ‘traditional’ communications programs. But Ketchum has the technological expertise to help dispel that uncertainty.”

Always when I read about a big agency starting to offer blog-related services to their clients, my first reaction is to look for their blog. For me, that is a good litmus test for how serious they really are about blogging. How can they help clients to understand what is going on in the blogosphere if they are not part of it; if they just talk the talk, but don't walk the walk ?

At first, I didn't find a Ketchum weblog, only blogs writing about Ketchum and so it all looked like, as B.L. Ochman put it, another press release from hell from an agency with no RSS feed and no blog. But now David Parmet points to a site called Ketchum Ideas and hey - that seems to be a Ketchum Weblog !!

At least, it looks a little bit like one and it runs on a real weblog software. But Ketchum got a lot of things wrong which are essential to turn a simple website into a real blog, for example:
  • No comments or trackbacks. Instead Ketchum wants you to write them an email with your feedback and is offering the chance to win a free iPod, if you do - strange thinking !? On the other hand, we all know how dangerous open comments are, don't we ?
  • No links to the RSS feed. Instead you have to check out the page's source code to find the URL to the feed. My guess is, the feed was automatically generated by the blog software without the Ketchum people knowing about it.
  • No links to time based archives or categories. Instead there is a "fancy" flash based calendar, which lets you access exactly one posting per day! But who wants to write more than one blog posting per day ? Btw, you can get to the pages, but Google et al. can't ! So these pearls of wisdom probably won't be indexed by search engines any time soon...
And what about the content ? Well, the postings are not very blog like; just a series of short articles which explain the basics of blogging. But they are quite informative for someone who doesn't know anything about blogs. Every article ends with key takeaways like these...
  • "Search engine optimization is critical to driving people to your Web site."
  • "RSS makes all of our lives easier. Talk to a specialist to explore the application that best suits your needs."
Of course, they are absolutely right ! Only problem: if you read this on a site, where the user can't find a link to the RSS feed and search engines are locked out by bad web design, you start wondering, wether the authors are reading their own (?) blog postings !? In the coming days, it will be interesting to see how good Ketchum's blog monitoring works and if they are able to handle those "determined detractors" the right way. As Technorati knows, there are quite a few out there !

Btw, in Germany, Ketchum seems to have realized that they don't have the necessary know-how inside the agency. So they decided to cooperate with a well-known blogger from outside: Klaus Eck from He surely knows how to use weblogs for marketing and corporate communications. Perhaps they should have consulted him before going live with this...

Other interesting blogs postings on this subject:

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