Interesting one this. It's a post that is a long time overdue, I have to admit.
Tho from time-to-time, if it's any consolation, I have thought about how to put the reporting of the results of the "most admired agency" poll.
So first of all, I don't actually think that in all truth, this is a most admired agency poll.
It's a bit more the "most influential agencies" versus "agencies with quite a lot of staff who are stupid enough to get them to vote for themselves".
Which, in a social media context, is kind of interesting really.
While some agencies (Ketchum for sure) simply sent their offices an email and asked their staff to vote (seriously, the numbers went too far too fast to make it genuine), others (including our winners and some select others) simply have a great influence network that they were able to rally and garner support from.
It would appear that you can't beat the network, which at least gives some hope.
This became something of a topic of debate. Mark Borkowski added his two-penneth in a bid to get the PR agency world to clean up its act in a world where we're under more scrutiny than ever. Then the Daily Telegraph chipped in with a perspective. Which was quite funny.
SO ... is this REALLY a poll of the Most Admired Agency in the UK today?
Probably not. The agency concerned is certainly doing some interesting stuff. And are being credited as one of the first to make a name for itself in wider agency-land as a social media shop.
But do they really have enough work on their books to be able to say that they are worthy of most admired? They claim Stephen Fry's social media success is in some part down to them. They did some cute work for Ford and more recently for Unilever. There are a handful of other stand-out pieces in the portfolio.
But even I would say that there are more admirable shops out there.
Before too long, I can see this year's winners taking the mantle on those terms, but right now, I would say not so.
SO ... We Are Social are our winners.
But I would say that they can certainly claim to be the most influential agency right now. And by that I mean they are the agency with the biggest and best network that they can mobilise in their own interests and the interests of their clients (tho I am sure that's not the only reason they mobilise the followers they've garnered).
Congratualtions to the whole team at WAS. A well-deserved and well-engineered win. Given that PR Week are unlikely ever to give you the award for agency of the year, please do accept one from Spinning Around as a very distant second best.
For those who are interested (but can't be arsed to click on the link to the poll), WAS came top with 16% of the votes, followed by an iffy late-run from Ketchum who closed with 14%. Taylor Herring managed third spot with 12% closely followed by Frank with 11% (who made fourth in spite of a fine effort from Andrew to muster support). Fifth spot was taken by a Mike Mathieson Tweeted charge from Cake.
UPDATE: this poll was conducted and this post written before the fiasco that was Eurostar. If the relevance of this is lost on you, you might search #eurostar on Twitter and scroll back a couple of days. Or you could read this post. So I've been umming and ahhing about hitting "publish".
In the end, I came to the conclusion that, having had a read, WAS were perhaps a bit naive in going into social media with a client before they had covered the basics, rather than pressing their case that their client should get their shit together across the business before marketing themselves in social media.
But given the circumstances are they culpable and therefore is all the criticism thrown their way legit? I think on balance not. Would they win this poll if it were run today? Possibly, possibly not. Who knows? Maybe their star will fall as a result of circumstances (I for one hope not).
The rest of the social media community have learnt a lesson at Eurostar and WAS' cost. But it's a lesson that one big disaster was needed to teach and make people really sit up. And often it's people who are at the front of curves (like WAS have certainly tried to be in this area) who have to try things and see them fuck up so the rest of us can share those lessons in ways that will make our clients listen.
In the meantime, congrats guys. Some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an on-coming train. Tho a few on-coming trains would be a pretty welcome development right now, I suspect.