After reviewing some of the most powerful communications firms in the world here, it has become evident that many are not really interested in being a presence on the Web. I took a brief look at O’Dwyer’s 7th most successful firm Schwartz Communications earlier today, and their Web presence is, well, awful. For a PR firm that took in over $30 million in fees in 2007, Schwartz has a website indicative of Zero Internet engagement. I have asked before, “why bother?” for other companies, but in this case it is as if someone just threw up a site in their spare time.
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What We Say and What We Really Mean
Schwartz was founded back in 1990 by Steve Schwartz and his wife Paula Mae. Steve is notable not only for his status a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Bowdoin College, but as the former speechwriter for General Electric’s CEO Jack Welch. If companies are reflections of the people behind them, then Schwartz Communications is not short on gusto. Steve is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, and has essentially hiked across our planet to demonstrate this. However, from this writer’s point of view, in the case of Web interjection, it might have helped Schwartz to have “surfed” over part of the globe. As a website, the Schwartz example is indicative of “on the ground” philosophy as much as the founder’s climbing and trekking.
A Podcast Does Not An Internet Mogul Make
Adding a podcast lineup and a few blogs is not exactly what anyone would call “an Internet takeover attempt”, and in the case of Schwartz, even their attempt conveys absenteeism in the digital realm. How the company won the prestigious Holmes Award for Technology of the Year in 2006 is a mystery. Perhaps a post by VP Laura Kempke answers some of my questions, and I quote:
“Consumers trust corporate blogs less than any other information source included in the survey. Tops were, naturally, info from friends or groups of other consumers.”
Social Media Smeedia!
Though corporate blogs are not the most visited in the world, as far as search engine traffic is concerned, they can play a vital role in increasing it. I do not think Schwartz or many of the other large firms consider this, or have the time to even bother to be honest. In fairness, Schwartz has made a name for itself in representing clean-tech and bio-tech companies, and these are not actually as conducive to online presences as other entities obviously. It is however, a given that these and more companies will require expertness in Web communicative aspect at some point. For us, the point has long passed in that the Web is a superb communicative device for our clients. Technology as a category of industry is almost certainly inclusive of a Web element.
As in other cases, Schwartz has interjected its brand on the Web. Once a company, any company, does this, they essentially set up shop in the Web market. No PR firm can long afford mixed or confusing signals, let alone false imagery. Schwartz joins a growing list of massive PR firms who have set up monuments and messages on the Web that convey little of their true abilities. Symbols are crucial in human communication. Conveying who we are correctly and even forcefully sometimes requires a good deal of effort. It is apparent that even the world’s great communicators are neglecting one of the most widely used tools ever devised.