Though I consider myself a marketing-guy at heart … the past few years of my career have been spent working first in advertising agencies, and most recently in a large public relations agency.  Ok, I know they’re all connected – but today I’m glad that I’m in public relations.  With the rise of blogs, and the entire world of consumer generated media – this idea of personal influence in the digital world intrigues me.  But more importantly, I love the opportunity to join and become a part of it through the discussion of my PR peers through blogs.  Somehow, I feel the online PR community has embraced this medium more than other marketing disciplines, perhaps due to our affinity for the written word.  In any case, I think our place as [interactive] PR professionals uniquely qualifies us to advise clients on the topic of digital influence online.

Based on our initial successes in working with several of our clients on this subject, today Ogilvy PR formally launched our expanded 360 Degree Digital Influence capability.  As John Bell notes in the press release (and blog post):

The growth of personal media-blogs, wikis, podcasting-combined with the exploding importance of search have kept us busy throughout the year. We actually see these trends as part of an overall shift in digital influence.  With our new expanded offering we have a more sophisticated approach to help our clients really connect with a whole new breed of influencer.

Of course, I know you could look at our new offering as the latest announcement from yet another PR agency on how to "harness the potential of blogs."  Let me say for the record that there is currently no "Ogilvy Blog" (though we are planning one and have jokingly called it the "Blogivly" internally).  But if you look at our team, you will find that we are bloggers, and we do understand what makes influential communications messages online.  We routinely read, analyze and discuss blogs with clients, we are already helping clients become involved in the blogosphere – and most significantly we were recently able to use blogs (with the help of several generous individuals from the online PR community) to spread the word about our dying colleague Shari Kurzrok in order to help her get a new liver.  That experience continues to inspire our team to build our capability in helping clients use blogs and more consumer generated content for social marketing, awareness, eAdvocacy, as well as consumer marketing, or healthcare communications.  360 Degree Digital Influence is about all that.