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Edelman

Edelman’s New ‘Creative’ Position Marks Shift Toward a More Assertive PR

Edelman PR Today Edelman PR announced the appointment of Jackie Cooper to the newly created role of global chair, creative strategy. Cooper previously served as global chair of brand strategy; she is now also a member of the firm’s executive committee.

What does this new title mean? It’s part of a larger strategic shift for the Edelman organization, which aims to “be the lead creative resource” for clients by expanding upon the role PR teams play within the creative process while simultaneously differentiating PR from other marketing disciplines. By leveraging the power of its internal Strategic and Creative Guild and its newly assertive creative strategy team, Edelman will “further empower” its more than 4,500 employees to address the challenges clients face in earning the loyalty of their customers.

The heart of this shift stems from the fact that, in the words of president and CEO Richard Edelman, “PR needs to have a better self-image” and avoid “[assuming] that the job is to advance advertising’s creative work”. In order to facilitate that change, the firm plans to begin “[hiring] more people out of advertising” and cooperating more closely with creative departments on new digital/multimedia content campaigns.

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Edelman Trust Barometer Uncovers ‘Crisis in Leadership’

Edelman PR just released its annual “Trust Barometer” for 2013–and its findings contain both expected and surprising results. The study’s theme is “crisis of leadership”, and its most significant finding is that fewer than one in five respondents (out of more than 30,000 worldwide) believe that “a business or governmental leader will actually tell the truth when confronted with a difficult issue.”

And yet, despite this conclusion and the fact that “banks and financial services” remain the least trusted industries, consumer trust in both “business” and “government” in the abstract is higher this year than last. Confused?

A couple of interesting points:

Daniel J. Edelman, 1920-2013: Public Relations Pioneer

Today brings sad news for the entire PR worldDaniel J. Edelman, 1920-2013: Daniel J. Edelman, industry innovator and founder of Edelman PR, died of heart failure in Chicago this morning at the age of 92.

Edelman, born in New York City on July 3, 1920, displayed an interest in journalism early in his life: He produced a community newspaper with a friend at age 11 and quickly became a sports writer/editor before earning his master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1941.

Edelman’s introduction to public relations came during his service in the armed forces. Drafted to serve overseas in 1942, he produced a newspaper for fellow soldiers before being assigned to, in his own words, “write an analysis of German propaganda” and advise the United States military on counter-messaging efforts.

Upon his return from the service, he got a job writing for CBS News before working as a music publicist at a record label representing Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie and other stars of the era. According to Edelman, his real PR breakthrough came when he devised a brilliant promotional campaign for a radio show hosted by Mel Torme and sponsored by home hair care brand the Toni Company: he packaged Torme’s latest album in a cover designed to resemble a hair care kit and sent it around to local DJs to earn press attention.

The company was “so impressed” that it hired him before sending him to Chicago to work as its PR director. His first project for Toni further revealed his PR instincts: Toni’s promo campaign involved two twins, one of whom had received an expensive salon perm and one who had performed her own at-home perm with a Toni set. Edelman encouraged the company to take the “Toni twins” on tour, challenging women in the audience to guess which one had done the job herself.

Edelman held the Toni role for four years before deciding to start his own firm (and scoring his former employer as Edelman PR’s first client).

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Edelman Switches Sides, Joins the ‘Paid Content’ Team

Edelman PRIn a sign of the (changing) times, yesterday saw Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman PR, perform something of an about-face on an issue crucial to our industry’s ongoing “PR vs. Advertising” debate. In a blog post on the firm’s site, Edelman declared his newfound (if somewhat grudging) support for “paid” media/content as a valuable element of the PR arsenal.

Why did he change his mind? What led him to accept the idea that PR professionals must simultaneously pitch and create content? In short, promotional trends like sponsored stories and native advertising have changed the media game as companies scramble to develop new revenue streams to replace the dwindling profits of traditional advertising sales.

We’ve all read stories asserting the same, but recent months have clarified the fact that PR firms must aggressively make the most of the shift or risk losing opportunities to “media buying firms” that work directly with brands in another iteration of the traditional advertiser/client relationship.

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Roll Call: Edelman and PR News

Edelman PR announced the hire of Denis Edwards, formerly head of IT at Milwaukee’s “workforce solutions” provider Manpower Group, as the company’s new global chief information officer. Edwards will work from Chicago to oversee the firm’s internal and client-facing information technology systems and infrastructure around the world.

Edwards managed IT operations for Manpower Group in more than 80 countries, working with the company’s marketing department to create “award-winning social media career development solutions”.  He was recognized by both Forbes magazine and ExecRank as one of the world’s most innovative CIOs and social media experts. Prior to working with Manpower, Edwards held top IT positions at companies large and small including Kraft, Marriott International and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. (Release)

PR News re-hired Matthew Schwartz as group editor at the expanding content brand. Schwartz served as editor of PR News from 2003 to 2005 before leaving to write for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines and editing BMA Buzz, a newsletter published by the company and the Business Marketing Association.

Schwartz says that he is “eager to get back to covering the PR industry” and helping to grow the PR News brand. He will be responsible for managing content on the company’s website in addition to its newsletters and guidebooks; Schwartz will work closely with PR News editor Scott Van Camp and events editorial director Steve Goldstein to deliver the brand’s trademark news and tools to public relations professionals around the world. (Release)

Edelman Names Robert Phillips to New Global Engagement/Strategy Role

Robert Phillips of EdelmanToday Edelman PR named Robert Phillips to the newly created position of global chair, Public Engagement and Future Strategies; the purpose of the new position is to “ensure that the firm is at the forefront of communication innovation”. Phillips describes the job as “an and, not an or”; he will also continue to work in his current London-based role as head of the agency’s EMEA (Edelman Middle East and Africa) division.

Phillips will report directly to CEO Richard Edelman. In an interview with PRNewser, he outlined the thinking behind his new role:

“The communications landscape is moving forward at a huge speed. At Edelman, we want to continue to be able to take a 3, 5, or 10-year view of what that future landscape will look like and make sure that our services are fit to purpose.”

“The communications world is increasingly bottom-up, social, transparent and values-led. Businesses need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. This shift finally defeats the myth that PR can’t be insights-led and evidence-driven.We’re not saying that we’re not PR–we’re just codifying the new reality. ”

Richard Edelman clarifies: “We’re not going into advertising. But we see the future battleground existing between ourselves, digital firms and media-buying firms.”

When Phillips and Edelman look ahead, they see a world in which the power of positions like that of chief communications officer illustrates a convergence of marketing and classic PR–all driven by the growing influence of data. Phillips says that “PR always under-invested in measurements and data, but search and measurement belong in all areas of corporate reputation and brand marketing. We need to be ahead of the curve.”

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Roll Call: Edelman, NPR, and Shine America

Edelman has announced the formal opening of Edelman Turkey, its 66thoffice. Edelman Turkey, located in Istanbul, was established in April of this year as an organic start-up operation. The office will now be led by Serra Türk Büyükfirat, who joined Edelman this week as general manager, Turkey. She will report to Chris Dobson, managing director for strategic & emerging markets, EMEA, who has led the operation until now. Edelman’s move into Turkey was driven by the increasing focus this dynamic market now receives from the company’s international network clients. Edelman Turkey’s service offering will mirror that of the global Edelman network, fusing traditional public engagement with an array of digital and mobile services for international and local companies alike. (Release)

NPR has hired Miami-based marketing executive Emma Carrasco as its new chief marketing officer, and has also named PBS executive Loren Mayor as senior vice president of strategy. Carrasco, who currently serves as executive vice president of the creative agency Republica, will begin on Dec. 3. Mayor, the vice president of strategy at PBS, will assume her position Dec. 10. (NPR)

Former Walt Disney Studios Chairman and Disney Channels Worldwide President Rich Ross has been named chief executive of Shine America, a production company owned by News Corp. In his new role, Ross is returning to his small-screen roots. Best known for producing reality TV shows including Fox’s “MasterChef” and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” Shine is run by Elisabeth Murdoch. (LA Times)

More Charges Filed in Penn State Case

Another chapter in the long, sundry case of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky further emphasizes the challenges faced by Edelman PR, La Torre Communications and the institution itself as all work to restore the school’s previous reputation for greatness in both sports and academics.

Unfortunately, this latest update will undoubtedly inflict more damage on the school: it concerns staff attempts to cover up, deny or, at the very least, minimize the scandal. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly just announced charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, and failure to report suspected child abuse against former University President Graham Spanier.

That’s quite a list–and we didn’t even mention the additional charges brought against the school’s former athletic director and vice president of business and finance, both of whom await trial in January.

Spanier’s greatest offense? After stepping down, he claimed that no one had ever mentioned the possibility of ongoing child abuse during his time at Penn State–but the email trail told a very different story.

Penn State’s board members and PR reps have been wishing Spanier would slink away and disappear for some time: first they argued over whether he’d resigned on his own volition after “going rogue and altering a press release that had been a collaborative effort”, and then he participated in this very ill-advised interview for some unknown reason.

Penn State and its PR organizations will never have to defend Graham Spanier again. Unfortunately, the law is far from done with him–and his case will expose the public to yet another angle on a tragic tale that can never be untold.

Poll: Public Respects Marketers, Ad Men Less Than Politicians

In somewhat surprising and discouraging news, an international study conducted by Adobe and Edelman Berland found that the public values the work of marketers less than the work of bankers and politicians. Sigh.

The worst part about the study (and its handy infographic PDF)? A quarter of its participants were themselves marketing professionals—and they were twice as likely as members of the general public to name their own profession as “least valuable”! Why did Edelman choose to arrange the sample in this way? They must have had a hunch that marketers don’t think too highly of themselves.

Other revealing/contradictory findings:

  • Despite the fact that 53% of participants call marketing “a bunch of BS”, well over 90% also say it’s “strategic to business” and “paramount to driving sales”. So the public hates it but agrees that it is both necessary and effective? Those are some conflicting emotions right there.
  • The public’s favorite place to view ads is “in their favorite magazines”–and their least favorite place seems to be “on their favorite TV shows”. Way to screw with the dominant business model, guys.
  • A majority of participants call online ads “annoying”, and a paltry 3% like to see paid spots on social media. Oh and, yes, Facebook “likes” almost never drive them to buy stuff.

See, but here’s the thing that really irks us most about this poll…

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Roll Call: Edelman Turns 60; H&K; Global Capacity; ProPublica; more

The nation’s leading PR firm Edelman turned 60 today, and in honor of the occasion the organization and its CEO, Richard Edelman, released a package of materials elaborating on the history of the PR industry, its current state and its future. Content includes a letter from Mr. Edelman on the history and purpose of the company his father founded 60 years ago, a blog post , and an infographic laying out ten basic “rules to live by” for PR pros.

Hill + Knowlton Strategies announced that it is promoting chief operating officer Andy Weitz to co-chair of the agency’s global corporate advisory practice alongside co-chair Andrew Laurence. In his new role, Weitz will focus on managing corporate efforts for H+K’s US clients while Laurence will handle international accounts. (Release)

Global Capacity, a leading telecommunications information and logistics company, announced today that company co-founder and CEO Patrick Shutt will transition to a new position as vice chairman of the board. COO Jack Lodge will serve as the company’s new president. In his new role, Mr. Shutt will continue to help guide the strategic direction of Global Capacity, while also pursuing new entrepreneurial ventures in the Cloud space. Mr. Lodge, who joined the company in 2006 through the acquisition of CentrePath, has acted as COO since 2008. He will now assume responsibility for all aspects of the strategy and execution of the Global Capacity business. (Release)

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