Adam Brown of eKetchum has been barraged with inquiries from PR bloggers since Ketchcum publicly announced its “Personalized Media” practice (I have been one of them). Ketchum doesn’t have its own blog or RSS, how could it advise on blogging, RSS and SEO, is the most common complaint. Brown gave an interview to prominent PR blogger Jeremy Peppers to address these issues. But the questions keep coming.
From the perspective of a PR professional who has worked for large and small agencies, I empathize with Brown. He does an excellent job of defining Kethum’s position in the new practice, and he clearly defines the challenges of blogs, RSS and SEO in the context of PR. He doesn’t give many details but why should he? Ketchum has its clients and their own methodology to protect and Browns job is to serve the firm’s clients, not eat up non-billable time answering pesky PR bloggers. Sometimes the best PR strategy is not to respond.
Online communication is a new frontier for public relations. Agencies are learning how to negotiate the line between transparency and openness and serving their clients best interests and protecting the proprietary methods of the firm. PR people have traditionally operated behind the scenes. Now, Brown and others are being forced to step out to explain themselves and their methods. It’s a tricky business. One wrong statement and Brown could lose his job and damage the firm. Of course he needs to proceed very carefully.