Agencies are experimenting with Web logs and debating their relevance as a business tool

by John Butler and Edward Cotton

'I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.'

-- Mark Twain, Wearing White Clothes speech, 1907

Unfortunately, Twain's comment back in 1907 is probably closer to the truth today then it was then, when it comes to the thousands and thousands of blogs out there.

However, since Influx is a blog from an advertising agency, we try to stick to the facts as closely as we possibly can. Oh sure, each blogger has a voice, and undoubtedly you can hear ours loud and clear if you frequent our humble little blog. But, in the end, we are here for one reason, and one reason alone.

You can't create great advertising in a vacuum. You need to have a constant stream of relevant, current and interesting stimulus. Jay Chiat understood that over 20 years ago when he became the first American to embrace Planning as we know it today.

And in fact, that's what our blog actually is: planning. Or more appropriately, a forum for those annoying smart kids who used to screw up the grade curve, known today as planners, to essentially do a bit of trend forecasting for our clients. Or to be brutally honest, for those who aren't our clients. Yet.

It's a tool that is used internally for new business, but also one that touches each one of our clients, businesses daily. So for us, it's really much more than a marketing tool, it's become a discipline. The blog is a way for our planners to remain diligent and vigilant about the world of branding and culture, and an opportunity for them to share this info throughout the agency and with the world. Although it started out as an internal tool, we now use our readers as a yardstick. We try to think what would interest them and what they might find useful.

Those readers include planners and creatives in many of the major agencies and design shops, students, our clients, and of course, large corporations who are not yet our clients. We've even had the CIA pay us a visit. (We have no idea why). The blog draws readers from around the globe, as well as distant lands like the Seychelles, Mozambique and Belarus, and has even been picked up by The New York Times.

Blogging forces us to be aware of the world and most importantly, to provide a point of view or some kind of perspective. A good blog requires discipline. It's hard work, you need to keep posting, and you need to constantly be thinking about an angle. Here at BSSP, in this quaint little fishing town (overrun with tourists and dot-com millionaires smart enough to sell pre-2000), we've been blogging for years, or at least a couple of years, which feels like a century in Internet time. It has been an interesting challenge, starting our little blog, and we?ve gone through a steep learning curve.

To read more about our story by John Butler and Ed Cotton, pick up a copy of the Winter 2005 issue of one. a magazine, available in February.

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