Today’s excursion into the wide halls of power PR provided invaluable insight into the industry again. On a mission to find just the right PR firm for an acquisition, most of O’Dwyer’s PR firms data base came briefly into view. It’s been quite some time since we shined our light on big PR digital engagement – let’s spotlight where the top 25 are today.
The Top 25 May Not Be Tops At Everything
At number 25 on the 2009 list of most profitable PR firms, Atlanta’s Jackson Spalding efforts digital engagement better than most. All the buttons and bells are there; Facebook connect, Twitter, RSS, the company blog (Thinkstand- which I like). These guys do a really good job in some areas. They evidently learned to put faces and real people out front (on the blog at least) to convey human interaction – but then the last post was over a month ago – ho hum.
“As a full-service image creation, cultivation and communications firm, Jackson Spalding is always thinking about today’s headlines and tomorrow’s trends.”
Evidently something happened between September 22 and now? Besides a little AdAge sucking up over a week ago, the broadcasting Twitter account has not been used in a week. On closer observation, Everything PR’s 1600 something fans dwarf the 25th largest PR firm in America on Facebook – and we don’t even push it. Go figure? What does it take for people to like or dislike you? We needn’t get into the fine particles of dust on this communications company’s digital awareness – just finding out who their people are – it’s as if they think the site visitor has all week. “Here, click on these 500 names, you may find a football player! Say what? Next.
Number 24 on O’Dwyer’s list is Crosby Marketing Communications. Founded in 1973 by CEO Ralph Crosby, this firm netted almost $9 million last year – during a recession. Their client list reads like a laundry list of the industrial mighty. It’s a tad unfair to gauge Crosby with other online entities, they are fairly traditional in their areas of expertise – but they claim social marketing expertness.
“Our experience ranges from national PSA and public affairs campaigns to grassroots outreach and online social media programs.”
Following 18 people on Twitter and tweeting about once a week, this is not a company with any intention of engaging a conversation. Unless that is, you want to call the office and speak to the receptionist. Here is the contact person and number, in case you think I am being mean. “To talk about our Social Marketing capabilities, contact Raymond Crosby or Tammy Ebaugh at (410) 626-0805.” Enough said, no need to get into their C.O.R.E strategies for connecting. Next.
Lobbyists Need Not Apply
O’Dwyer’s 23rd most successful PR or communications firm for 2009 was Rasky Baerlein. If we tried to find a poster child for limited online footprints, we could not have done better. I hate bad news actually, and I remember hammering the likes of Webber Shandwick and others early on – they made changes like smart people do. This firm could have saved their time and money and just put up the two stones you see in the image below. (I am even now lost in the symbolic meaning of those). Creativity is, I guess, in the mind of those who possess it.
Lip service is duly paid over at their pebbles and Bam Bam blog. A post a month keeps the community and Google away. Why do they bother? It was nice to see the President, Joseph Baerlein , add a post or two to the blog a year ago. It was about a Patriots game, but who’s being critical here? Let’s not go to the video page. I could not find Twitter or Facebook, a contact email seems impossible, and contact period is a phone number. Why is there a website up here at all? Oh, to reveal the Flickr account. Well, the photo of two of the principals at the White House kind of says it all. Lobbying is not done digitally.
In conclusion, Rasky Baerlein is a good example of powerful people and the way some of them perceive – or consider the public. Maybe I am being too harsh, but everything is symbolic. Their latest posted news speaks of lead the National Flea Market Association’s federal public affairs efforts with Congress. Announced back in August, one has to wonder what else these guys have been up to. It sure hasn’t been carrying on a two way digital conversation.