Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

And the number of FTSE 100 companies with a corporate blog is…

Posted by Graham Hayday on November 26, 2007

… Zero. Yep, that’s a bit fat nothing.

I should point out that my definition of a corporate blog is strict.

I’m talking about one that is written either by a CEO or by a company’s employees; one that represents the voice of the corporate entity, rather than its various sub-brands; one that is about ongoing activities rather than one-off events; and one that is updated regularly.

By these strict criteria, Carphone Warehouse gets closest to achieving a score. CEO Charles Dunstone is a well-known blogger, but given how long it’s been since he bothered to put virtual pen to paper – his last post was in April 2007 – I’m not sure we can say his blog is live.

Some others that get close include:

  • Aviva. It has set up blogs for discrete projects, such as a solar car race it sponsored, but there’s no ongoing effort to engage the blogosphere.
  • Intercontinental Hotels. It has a blog called Travelogue, but it consists of travel reviews. You don’t find out much about the company itself.
  • Reuters. It publishes a lot of blogs – but they’re written by journalists, and have nothing to do with Reuters itself. I believe ITV also uses blogs, but only to support its programme brands.
  • Scottish and Newcastle. It has a blog – but no comments are allowed, we don’t know when the posts appeared, there’s no personality to be seen and it’s only about one topic – responsible drinking.
  • Shell. It too has one – but weirdly enough it’s written by its ‘artist in residence’. And it’s got a grand total of four entries, none of which are date-stamped.
  • Vodafone. The mobile phone giant deserves some credit for its very ‘bloggy’ R&D resource, even if there’s no blog there as such.
  • Cadbury Schweppes and HSBC should be commended for giving some of their recent graduates a blogging platform. Recruitment is one potential benefit of a blog, and these two organisations clearly recognise that. Again, though, these aren’t true corporate blogs.

The big question is, does this matter? The FTSE 100 companies are all highly successful and are hardly stupid. Maybe they’ve all considered blogging and decided it would be a waste of time.

The counter-arguments to that are well-rehearsed, so I won’t go into them here. But one thing I will say is this: I spent a couple of hours of my weekend doing this research, and by the end I was crying out to hear a human voice. I wanted someone, anyone to reach out to me and say ‘hello’. A video address from the CEO about the latest financials simply doesn’t cut it.

Notes: I should point out that I’m not the first person daft enough to carry out this exercise – a company called Iconcertina Creative undertook a similar study in April, and came to the same conclusion.

Chris Anderson and Ross Mayfield have set up a wiki to complile the numbers for the Fortune 500. That suggests that there are 40 of them blogging – that’s 8% of the total.

I should also admit that I may have made mistakes in my rather haphazard survey. Please do let me know if that is the case. I visited the corporate home pages of the FTSE 100 and, if there was no link to a blog, used the sites’ search engines (where available) to search on the word ‘blog’. When and if that came up with a blank, I did a Google search on ‘company name + blog’ for most, but not all, of them, just in case they were blogging on another platform. They weren’t…

I will also go back and add links to the blogs mentioned in this post at some point – I didn’t keep a record of them while I was doing the research (silly me), and wanted to get this post up while things were fresh in my mind. I shall now go and have a lie down in a darkened room…


2 Responses to “And the number of FTSE 100 companies with a corporate blog is…”

  1. Mark said

    Interesting stuff.

    It might be, as you say, that these companies have looked at blogging and concluded that it wouldn’t be worthwhile. At least, not for the coporate entity. And I’d tend to agree. I think that blogging can be a great way to engage smaller, niche audiences. A FTSE 100 company, as a corporate, has so many different audiences that it would be very difficult to create a single corporate blog that could effectively engage them all. Far better to look at sub-audiences.

    Though that isn’t to say they’re doing that either..!

  2. Idetrorce said

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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