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Edelman

New Edelman Advisor: ‘PR Needs to Grow Up’

edelmanBack in March, Edelman advisor Steve Rubel told us that upcoming PR professionals need to “look at the bigger picture” and “orient [themselves] toward both creating and distributing content”. The firm’s newest tech advisor Burghardt Tenderich recently gave The Holmes Report a more direct version of that statement:

“PR needs to grow up and become real content creators.”

Edelman picked Tenderichwho is an Associate Professor/Associate Director of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center at USC Annenberg, to advise clients tech clients; his specialty will be “transmedia storytelling” campaigns like this one which include both paid and earned media across platforms.

The quote may seem obvious now, but remember that Edelman was a little late to the paid content game. The firm’s sponsored content partnership with Reuters on Twitter had a bit of a rocky reception, but we’ll be watching to see exactly how they put Tenderich and Rubel’s statements into action.

*Photo via Edelman Digital

What Does the Publicis/Omnicom Merger Mean?

We’ve all heard enough about this weekend’s Publicis/Omnicom merger to know that it’s too big for our limited minds to even fathom, much less evaluate.

So many questions followed: will it lead to mass layoffs or protracted battles over antitrust laws? Will it doom boutique agencies that don’t get picked up by major “holding company” conglomerates? Will it change our jobs in profound and permanent ways?

These are all valid, fascinating issues that must be considered—and for now we’ll let other people do the thinking for us, starting with those smartasses at The Onion.

Surprisingly accurate! That headline stings a bit, though we finally understand why they didn’t hire us for the grad school internship we wanted so badly (should’ve learned to code in high school, dammit). On a more serious note, Richard Edelman is skeptical of this supposed sea change, writing:

Bigger does not mean better. My 84-year-old mother’s first reaction yesterday was that this reminds her of AOL’s* merger with Time Warner. “They were all screwed up for years,” she said.

In other words, don’t freak out…at least not yet. But there will be blood.

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Edelman’s Content Strategist Explains the New ‘Content Marketing’ Model

Steve RubelThis week we posted on Weber Shandwick‘s decision to publicize its new content-creation wing, Mediaco, and what that means for the future of PR. This morning we had the opportunity to speak with Steve Rubel, chief content strategist at Edelman PR, to go over how his firm is addressing this newest chapter in the ongoing “PR vs. marketing vs. advertising” debate.

How does the Weber Shandwick announcement relate to recent “creative” moves by Edelman?

There’s a lot of hype in the never-ending hunt for shiny objects in marketing, but the bigger picture here is that the economics of the industry have changed – demand side platforms (ad exchanges) have made advertising more efficient, which caused the price of CPM (cost per impression) and ads themselves to plummet. This is good for the industry but bad for publishers, because media outlets squeezed by tech developments can’t make the leap to other revenue streams like subscription, video, etc.

This has led to a greater willingness to open their platforms to branded/sponsored content, thereby empowering marketers to make good on their longtime desire tell their stories their own way on some of world’s largest websites (Ed. note: see The Washington Post). That is the big change here.

Some people say this is all old news. How do you respond to that point?

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Edelman Reboots Its Russian Operations

Edelman PR LogoWe’re fascinated by the very concept of public relations in a formerly closed society like the one now run by Russia’s Vladimir Putin. But the practice certainly does exist, and this weekend Edelman PR announced plans to continue the scheduled reboot of its Russian operations after facing some challenges that led the firm to liquidate its Russian acquisition Imageland.

In 2012 Edelman “ran into some problems” due to pushback from Russia’s Solidarity trade union, which encouraged laid off Imageland employees to form their own union and take legal action against the firm. That spat appears to have resolved itself; in an interview with The Holmes Report, Edelman Russia general manager Kerry Irwin confirms that the office’s staff will include several former Imageland executives who stuck around through a wave of departures.

Edelman represents brands like HP, Wrigley and Mars in Russia. The firm apparently does not plan to work directly with Putin’s government like Ketchum sometimes does, but the Kremlin could certainly use the help: Edelman’s own 2013 “Trust Barometer” study found that Russian citizens unsurprisingly report some of the world’s lowest rates of trust in their own government and media outlets. We’d suggest more Boyz II Men concerts as a good way to start winning the public back, because if there’s one thing pretty much everyone around the world can agree on, it’s the healing power of 90′s R&B.

Trojan’s ‘Condom Cab’ Stunt Might Not Make It Past City Hall

Trojan Safe RidesTrojan‘s promotional stunts just never seem to get off (yep, bad puns already) without a hitch. This time, the company’s Valentine’s Day plans have hit a road block.

Trojan arranged to have its fleet of three Safe Rides taxis pick up passengers in the Greenwich Village and New York University areas of New York City on the nights of February 14 and 15. Passengers would not only enjoy free rides to their love day destinations, but would also be quizzed on sexual-health topics on the way — because nothing gets couples in the mood like a thorough refresher course on VD (venereal disease, not Valentine’s Day. Try to keep up, people).

Unfortunately, if you were hoping to woo your date with a ride home in a condom cab, you may be out of luck. The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission says that neither the purveyor of prophylactics nor its PR company (Edelman) cleared the promotion–and the plans may violate regulations in the first place.

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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)

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