Big Agency: Social Cred Scorecard

Big news this week from the land of the big agencies (where this PR pro spent a good chunk of his career). A-list social media pro Stephanie Agresta ankles Omnicom’s Porter-Novelli to join IPG’s Weber-Shandwick as NY-based EVP for digital strategy reporting to LA-based digital communications prexy Chris Perry.

This is clearly a loss for Porter-Novelli in that Steph is that rare PR professional who’s fully engaged in the social graph. In fact, I’ve been wondering of late whether one’s level of social media engagement is an increasingly vital determinant of employability in the digital communications space. I mean if you’re not active on Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook (or Plancast, Hashable and Paper.li), how much cred do you really have when advising socially curious clients?

This is not to say that Steph’s connectivity to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and elsewhere is the sole determinant of her talents as a social communications counselor. It just seems that many big agencies of late are gobbling up those with large numbers of followers on Twitter. As digitally astute as he is, how much of a factor was David Armano’s social connectivity (31k+ Twitter followers) in Edelman’s decision to hire him as 2009 came to an end? Probably less than you’d imagine. (See comments below.)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take the recent meme about agency CEO’s social habits and compare the degree of social media engagement among the digital leads at the larger WPP, Omnicom and IPG-owned agencies, as well as that independent juggernaut Edelman, which may have presciently started the trend in 2006 when it enticed Steve Rubel away from Cooper-Katz.

I’m sure I missed a few socially engaged senior execs, so please feel free to forward additions, and correct any inaccuracies in the stats below. I know when I revisit this two years from now, the four parameters used below to gauge one’s social connectivity will be inadequate.

Hill and Knowlton

Julie Atherton, Worldwide Director, Digital
Twitter: (?)
Facebook: (?)
Foursquare: Check-ins (27), Badges (3) ?
Personal Blog: (?)

Ben Trounson, SVP, Director of Connected Marketing
Twitter: Followers (113), Following (191)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: ?
Personal Blog: ?

Burson-Marsteller

Jay Leveton, CEO, Proof Digital Media
Twitter: ?
Facebook: ?
Foursquare: ?
Personal Blog: ?

B.L. Ochman, managing director, Proof Digital Media
Twitter: Followers (7689), Following (1032)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-in (57), Badges (5)
Personal Blog: Yes

Ogilvy

John Bell, managing director, Global 360o Digital
Twitter: Followers (5639), Following (1170)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (408), Badges (13)
Personal Blog: Yes


Rohit Bhargava
, SVO, Strategy & Marketing, 360 Digital Influence
Twitter: Followers (16,728), Following (3241)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (216), Badges (22)
Personal Blog: Yes

Fleishman Hillard

David Bradfield, Global chair of digital practice
Twitter: Followers (1219), Following (764)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (575), Badges (17)
Personal Blog: Yes

Ketchum

Jonathan Kopp, Partner and Global Director, Ketchum Digital
Twitter: Followers (579), Following (211)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (777), Badges (17)
Personal Blog: ?

Porter Novelli

John C. Havens, SVP, Social Media
Twitter: Followers (1958), Following (1143)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: ?
Personal Blog: Yes

Joel Johnson, SVP, Director of Integrated Planning
Twitter: Followers (233), Following (181)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (31), Badges (6)
Personal Blog: Yes

Weber Shandwick

Chris Perry, president, Digital Communications
Twitter: Followers (2194), Following (877)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (63), Badges (6)
Personal Blog: ?

Stephanie Agresta, EVP, managing director, Digital Communications Practice
Twitter: Followers (16232), Following (17548
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (219), Badges (18)
Personal Blog: Yes

Golin Harris

Idil Cakim, SVP, Interactive Media
Twitter: Followers (496), Following (401)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: ?
Personal Blog: Yes

Michael Slaby, Executive Vice President, Global Practice Chair, Digital
Twitter: Followers (1269), Following (881)
Facebook: ?
Foursquare: Check-ins (490), Badges (12)
Personal Blog: ?

David Armano, SVP, Edelman Digital
Twitter: Followers (31,985), Following (7432)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (621), Badges (21)
Personal Blog: Yes

Steve Rubel, SVP, Director of Insights
Twitter: Followers (47,512), Following (2525)
Facebook: Yes
Foursquare: Check-ins (164), Badges (12)
Personal Blog: Yes

7 Comments

  1. Peter Himler
    October 29, 2010

    Rick,

    Thanks for validating something I knew in my heart. (How’s your new gig there?)

    Jonathan,

    As usual, you hit the nail on the head when you say too much emphasis is put on these kinds of scorecards. The quality, creativity and authenticity of the messages we develop for our clients are the keys to their successful engagements. Now, how do you measure that?

    In the interim, I do believe that in order to help clients navigate the social graph, it might just be important to be engaged in it yourself.

    Thanks. Hope to see you soon,

    Peter

  2. Jonathan Kopp
    October 29, 2010

    BTW, Peter, when i first tried to post my earlier comment, Blogger rejected it with an err msge saying it was too long. I thought that was strange, but in any case, I went ahead and posted my comment on the Ketchum Blog [ http://bit.ly/b4oDbt ] with links to direct readers back here to your blog.

    Thanks again for the thought provoking post!

  3. Jonathan Kopp
    October 29, 2010

    Hey Peter,

    I get the meme, and like you, I feel the weight of the emphasis so many around us place on quantity — whether that’s the number of site visits, fans, friends, followers, tweets, or even impressions or column inches, among other data points. Quantitative measures are no doubt a part of the equation – and an important part, at that. (I’m not sure how my 879 FB friends factor in, but FWIW, you can feel free to add them to my scorecard.) The beauty of the digital era is that we have access to just about any data point we could possibly want. It’s a quant jock’s paradise!

    But don’t you agree that a critical part of our job, as arguably evolved digital citizens and counselors, is to help our clients and colleagues look beyond the numbers and focus more on the QUALITY of the thinking (actual thought leadership), the richness of the engagement, and the value that it generates for our organizations and causes?

    As you point out, it’s way too easy to pump numbers. Moreover, even a lazy thinker can pose as a player and engage in superficial self-promotion by merely linking to and/or reposting what others are saying.

    Unfortunately, the result is that too much of the social web has devolved into an echo chamber clogged with too many self-styled “gurus” quoting, reposting and linking to each other rather than offering new ideas that propel the conversation forward in a meaningful way.

    Here’s an ironic twist: even within the context of your post and our collective comments, we’ve essentially got a bunch of us talking to each other about ourselves and how much we’re talking (or not). It’s the mirror looking back at the mirror. If that’s engagement, I think we have to admit that it’s also a bit of navel gazing.

    Again, numbers are a part of the story. But, to my mind, the meatier matters – which are, albeit, more difficult to measure — include strategy, insight, ideas, innovation, message, creativity, and depth of relationships.

    So I say it’s time for a time out on the numbers obsession. If we can’t keep the focus on quality over quantity, I don’t know how we’ll ever help our clients and colleagues to do the same.

    Who’s with me? Can I get a head count? ☺

  4. Rick
    October 28, 2010

    Hey Peter,

    I can assure you that my decision to hire David had nothing to do with his base of followers at that time, and everything to do with why those people, you among them, chose to follow him.

    Cheers,

    Rick

  5. Peter Himler
    October 27, 2010

    David (and Clay) –

    I amended the post to minimize the implication that your # of twitter followers was the primary determinant for your gainful employment at edelman. I’m one of those followers, and believe you me, it’s clear you bring MUCH more to that agency than that.

    Best,

    PH

  6. Clay
    October 27, 2010

    Hey Peter,

    Interesting post, but I’ll disagree with the point about David Armano & Edelman.

    In addition to his industry experience, David has a very successful blog (Logic & Emotion is ranked #21 on AdAge Power 150), writes for Harvard Business Review, is an renowned public speaker, etc.

    Anyone can game # of twitter followers. You can’t game AdAge’s Power 150 and David’s other experience.

    Edelman knows this and hired him for these things…..not his 31K twitter followers.

    -Clay

  7. David
    October 27, 2010

    Interesting post indeed. I like to think that my 14 years of professional plays a nice sidecar to my 31+k followers, but hey whatever works. 🙂