The majority of UK PR companies are failing to identify potential negative blog posts, and aren't able to protect their online reputation and brand.
A study carried out by Distilled - the creators of Reputation Monitor, a media monitoring tool, found that only 2 of the 100 PR companies found a mention of their company on the Distilled Blog.
"A great brand can take months, if not years, and millions of dollars to build. It should be the thing you hold most precious. Don't let even one negative blog comment go unnoticed." warns Andy Beal - one of the world's most respected online marketing experts.
"What starts as a ripple in a small pond of discontent, can quickly become a tidal-wave of negative consumer sentiment, unless your company is able to quickly identify potential negative blog posts and move quickly to protect its online reputation and brand" Beal said.
Despite prizes worth over £200 (champagne, a no obligation trial of reputation monitor, and an offer to donate to charity) only two of the 100 companies listed replied to the offer. Duncan Morris from Distilled said "To be honest we weren't surprised at the lack of response. Online media monitoring is just taking off in America, and what we often see in the online world is that the UK can be years behind America."
If these PR companies aren't monitoring the online media on their own behalf, are they doing it for their clients? The very nature of a PR campaign is to generate mentions of a company. These days it is increasingly likely that these mentions will be online, and with the best will in the world some of these mentions could be negative.
"Not only is it a wasted opportunity to add an extra service to their clients, but it could prove costly to their brands. Blogs and other sources of user generated content have taken off to the extent that failing to track what is being said online could destroy the reputation of a brand. Every company should be tracking their online reputation" said Morris.
Distilled, formed in 2005 by Will Critchlow and Duncan Morris, specialises in helping companies get more business from their websites, through a combination of website design, development and search engine marketing. They regularly write on the topic of reputation monitoring on their blog.