Tweet. Welcome to the world of self harm - agency branch

How strange. Agencies spend a bucket-load of time (and cash) building up their reputations, their credentials and their client base. Then along comes a relatively new and spangly thing that the very same agencies seem desperate to be seen to be using before a) fully understanding its implications and b) setting any kind of guidelines to staff. So desperate in fact, that all sensibility seems to have been knocked off its perch. Yes, I’m talking Twitter.

Now I guess this is aimed mainly at MDs, Board members and other seriously committed individuals within the organisation but I’m afraid it’s time to get a grip. The amount of tweets I’ve witnessed chirping from agencies all branded up with their lovely logo (a logo that, knowing how agencies work on their own work, also probably took a bucket-load of time, and tears to design) but are actually voiced by individuals expressing their own thoughts and opinions beggars belief.

Obviously, no names mentioned here but recent tweets, badged up with agency emblems, using agency names have included, “Oh no, Monday already”, “Feel like 5hit today, creativity’s gonna suffer” and “Can’t believe the X Factor result last night.”

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of individuals out there representing their organisations brilliantly. And I’m freelancing right now so why should it bother me? Because the feeling I have for this industry runs as deep as I was when I was knocking out 12-14 hours a day as a Creative Director; because it hurts to see an industry that’s already suffering giving itself one more kick in the budgies and because… hello… you should know a damn sight better. You’re in marketing right? Brand perception?

The solution? Communication. Remember that? It’s what you do. Get everyone together and lay down a few ground rules:

  1. Tweet by all means as an individual who just happens to work at an upbeat, lively and radical agency
  2. Make it obvious your tweets are YOUR tweets and not those of your company
  3. Decide whether you are actually tweeting as a fully branded up organisation and set up the following:

  • At least two key stakeholders who can vet each other’s outpourings
  • A consistent tone of voice
  • A clear reason as to why you’re using this medium in the first place
  • Objectives for what you want your tweets to achieve
  • An understanding that once it’s out there, it’s out there for all to see and, perhaps more importantly, for clients and potential clients to form their own perceptions.

Because guess what: I’m guessing they don’t give two hoots about your views on the X Factor but they may be very interested to hear that a heavy weekend has lead to your staff not feeling as chirpy about their account as they should be.