PR Week published a Q&A interview last Thursday with Adam Brown, director of eKetchum, as a sort of analysis of the brouhaha that blew up following Ketchum’s announcement in June of their launch of a new media practice, Ketchum Personalized Media, and the derision with which the news was greeted by the online PR community.
[…] Reading the (e-mail?) interview, one might get the idea that the only criticism toward Ketchum’s launching of KPM was that it didn’t have a blog. But there’s more than that.
Ketchum failed to understand how to step in the blogosphere, although it’s selling its expertize in advising other on how to do it. It failed to put together a coherent plan and to implement it, although it had all the right elements for a successful launch. Ketchum launched quietly a website for demonstrating its expertize in weblogs, RSS, and podcasting, but failed to use it properly by ignoring each and every of the features that are making these tools valuable. Ketchum failed to understand bloggers’ expectations and to address them. It failed to respond swiftly to criticism. It failed to communicate in real time.
When it decided to respond, it underminded its own credibility by failing to acknowledge any mistake, and by coming with “dog ate my homework“-type of excuses for the long silence.
The PR Week interview is a good read, if only to see some obfuscation of the reality behind PR bloggers’ derision. An attempt at some traditional PR spin, in other words, which doesn’t quite come off, and sinks their credibility even more – not only for the attempt at spin but also for not being successful at it.
So it doesn’t look like Ketchum is going to make it up the mountain yet. Not a very comforting thought for any Ketchum client.