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• 2,000 unique visits/day
• Library of 2,000+ posts
– Companies: All agencies, Motorola, Kodak, Mars,
Cisco, Bank of America
– Countries: Sweden, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria,
Malaysia, Fiji, etc.
– Look around; curiosity
– Develop a POV
• Shop window
• Engineering test bed
• A powerful resource
Started from a desire to harvest our
• Evolve department expression internally and
– Beyond the “deck”
– Beyond the “brief”
– Beyond the company/client press release
• Started in Jan 2006
• 600 visits/day
• Library of 1,000+ posts
– Companies: Intra-agency, all agencies, young planners
in training, news media, etc.
– Countries: UK, Arab Emirates, Brazil, Turkey, Germany,
• 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
– 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)
New questions from our clients (and
new responsibilities for agency)
• Example new questions asked of Fallon’s planning department in
– “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
– “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…
What We Did
• Asked two questions to a dozen prominent planner
• Sent out an eight-question survey to the planning
• Blogging is changing planning
• It’s creating a new dynamic environment of shared
– 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
– The “time suck”– reading hundreds of feeds and writing can
be a huge distraction
Some Baseless and Unreliable Stats
Planner survey – 38 responses!
• 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
• Why is blogging important for planners?
• How has blogging helped you as a planner?
The Dirty Dozen
Gareth Kay - Modernista
Richard Huntington - United Simon Law - WCRS Mark Lewis - DDB
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://herd.typepad.com/ http://www.lbtoronto.typepad.com/ http://russelldavies.typepad.com/
Jon Steel - WPP Noah Brier - Naked
Mark Barden - eatbigfish John Keehler - GSDM
Three Types of Planner: Blog
– Blogging is now a way of life
– Added blogs to their reading list
– Not cool
– Don’t have time for it
Good Planning Traits
“It helps you develop good planning habits: fecundity,
precis, sharing, curiosity.”
— Russell Davies
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
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
“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
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
“Other people have made me smarter! I’m probably
generating more, and better, thinking than ever before.”
— Gareth Kay
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
— 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
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 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
— 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
Become More Interesting
“With blogging I’ve met more interesting people in the
past year than I’ve met in the past ten.”
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
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
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.”
“Accepters” Seeking daily inspiration from Russell
Davies and Perez Hilton
Access to ideas–“getting “lost”
Dynamic, real-time information
A virtual planning department/ Groupthink
“ Like cheating off someone’s paper in school…”
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
“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.”
“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…
• Not essential for the day job
• Adds too much noise, at a time when they are looking
• Don’t get it
• See it as ego driven
• Not part of the “craft”– “Gonzo Planning” at its worst
“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
“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 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
“I would write about being forced to write a blog.
My objective would be to ignore the order to write
1. Make more contributions.
• More content, consistently.
– Stick and move. Stop thinking about it so hard and write
– 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”.
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).
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.
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.
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.
– Provocation raises your Digg ranks and boosts your
– Good conversation is not simply polite agreement and
– But remember, folks, let’s not hurt any feelings. And make
certain not to take it personally.
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
– Stop writing so damn seriously, dude, it’s just a blog.
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
– 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
– 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
8. Hone your persona.
• Brand yourself, hone a distinct and recognizable style
and be consistent to your brand across the
– 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.
• 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,
– Yes, they just may not agree with you.
– Give ‘em a free bite, and keep ‘em coming to you for more
– We’re not suggesting you post client secrets, nor post
– Surely the extent of your value exceeds beyond some blog
– It benefits you to elevate your thinking out of unseen decks
and into the spheres of your teams, your bosses, your peers.
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)
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
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)
• Every planner who blogs will constantly need to be
asking themselves the question…
– Am I adding value or adding noise?