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International: Brands offered protection from bloggers

19-December-2006
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International: Brands offered protection from bloggers

As companies around the world wake up to the potential reputation damage that can be inflicted by blogs, marketing services group Creston is hoping to sign them up to a brand management product.

Creston, which owns advertising agency DLKW, today unveiled details of what it claims is a unique product that scans blogs and gives companies a strategy on how to protect their brand.

"What has happened with the growth of the internet is that brands and manufacturers have lost control of their brand reputation and that is because of bloggers," said Creston's chief executive, Don Elgie.

"The problem is companies are often very unaware of what has been said about them."

Mr Elgie said that Creston will tell clients, who he expects to be Ftse 100 calibre, how to correct false information on blogs and how to deal with legitimate complaints doing the rounds in cyberspace.

Many firms have started to pay attention as a rapidly expanding slice of the web is devoted to vitriolic, often obsessive blogs listing the shortcomings of well-known companies.

Dell learned recently about the growing power of the blogosphere when it recalled 4.1m laptop batteries after a video showing one of its computers bursting into flames was posted on the internet.

There are well over 35m blogs on the net and firms struggle to stay abreast of them all, handing an interesting business opportunity to public relations experts like Creston.

However, the group will have competition from New York firm Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which has developed an expertise in monitoring blogs - it works for some 150 of America's Fortune 1,000 firms.

Mr Elgie said Creston's e-Influence scheme was unique in terms of the brand management features it pulls together. The service had been tested with Creston clients and was set to launch at the start of next year, he added.

He was speaking after Creston posted a 35% jump in pre-tax profits to £4.9m in the year ended September 30, from £3.6m the year before.

Creston also revealed it had bought specialist healthcare advertising firm PAN Advertising for a maximum consideration of £18.8m.

"Healthcare is a vibrant and growing sector," said Mr Elgie.

Source: MediaGuardian

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