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Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick/CPRF Chair Polansky Talks Digital, Measurement, and Firm Business

Among the current top priorities at the Council for Public Relations Firms (CPRF) is helping firms make a way through the world digital and social media, says Andy Polansky, president of Weber Shandwick and chairman of the organization.

Calling social media “a real growth driver for agencies,” Polansky said, “The budgets associated with public relations programs are seemingly getting larger. If you think about marketing spend from a historical perspective, there was a lot of money flowing to advertising and the various other disciplines. I think now there’s more of a jump-ball mentality; whoever brings the best ideas is going to win the day.” An October 27 event with guests Robert Gibbs, former Obama press secretary, and Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, will dig into these social media topics even further.

We had the chance to sit down with Polansky recently to discuss the industry issues that the Council is tackling, and business at his own firm. The Council’s members include more than 100 PR firms of all shapes and sizes. Talent and diversity was another important issue on CPRF list.

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L.L. Bean Chooses Weber Shandwick

L.L. Bean has chosen Weber Shandwick for its centennial anniversary campaign, launching January 2012. The work will include events, social media, cause marketing (looks like environmental issues will be play a big role here), retail activities, and collaboration with L.L. Bean’s advertising agency GSD&M in Austin, TX.

Weber’s Boston office will take the lead on this account with support from New York and Chicago.

Weber Shandwick Appoints First African Regional Director

Weber Shandwick has named Jill Hamilton regional director for Africa, the firm’s first. Hamilton will be based out of Johannesburg, South Africa reporting to the firm’s EMEA CEO Colin Byrne.

She will lead business development and client management efforts, as well as partnership and affiliate relationships in the region. Hamilton, who is originally from the U.S., has lived in Africa for a decade. She started Weber’s African PR firm network, ZK Public Relations, in 2003 while living in Tanzania. The network has spread across more than a dozen African countries.

Weber Shandwick says it has built up its business in Africa over the years, with a strong presence in countries including Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.


Bloggers Jump In To Army Coverage

The United States Army is inviting bloggers to tag along with Army training sessions in exchange for writing and tweeting about the experience.

And the bloggers are getting some unique material:

“In the past year, bloggers participating in the program have jumped with the Golden Knights parachute team, experienced part of basic training at Fort Benning, attended the Army’s annual Culinary Arts Competition, toured Brooke Army Medical Center, and gone behind the scenes at the Joint Training Counter-IED Operations Center (JTCOIC) combat simulations unit,” said Elaine Norton, a Weber Shandwick account executive working with the Army team via email.

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Weber Shandwick Announces Three New Execs

Josh Rose has joined Weber Shandwick as chief creative officer for multi-platform campaigns, a role that will focus on expanding the firm’s digital services and providing counsel to clients. Rose joins after spending a decade at Deutsch Los Angeles, and with 17 years of experience in working online to develop brands, their content, communities.

Rose will be based in L.A. reporting to vice chair Gail Heimann.

Also today, the firm announced two promotions: Josh Gilbert is now EVP of strategy and Alan Kercinik has been named EVP director of engagement for North America. Gilbert will be based in New York working across practice areas and helping clients to develop ideas and strategies to build reputation and accomplish other goals. Kercinik is based in Chicago, leading, developing, and launching campaigns.

Ballock Joins Weber Shandwick as EVP

Carol Ballock is joining Weber Shandwick as EVP in the firm’s corporate practice, overseeing the Voiceboxx and Scoreboxx programs, which use speaking engagements and various rankings to raise executive and corporate brand visibility. She will report to Paul Jensen, the North American corporate practice chair.

Previously, she was MD of the corporate and financial comms practice at Burson-Marsteller. She’s also contributed to the book Wisdom of the CEO, 29 Global Leaders Tackle Today’s Most Pressing Business Challenges.

Research: Companies Say Crowdsourcing Is Key For CSR Awareness Building

Research from Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact group shows that crowdsourcing and social media have become important tools for raising awareness and engagement in CSR programs. Nearly all respondents (95 percent) to the study thought crowdsourcing was useful for CSR efforts.

Thirty-six percent of respondents thought crowdsourcing was useful for gathering a variety of opinions, 25 percent thought it was a great way to build relationships, and 16 percent thought it brought fresh energy to the process.

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Study: Davos is Tops for Executive Speakers

Pepsi chairwoman and CEO Indra Nooyi at the World Economic Forum in 2008. Photo: Remy Steinegger

Weber Shandwick’s fifth annual “Five-Star Conference Study” found that the World Economic Forum in Davos is the leading platform for business executives. However, only 29 percent of industry-leading chief execs are speaking at one or more business events. This year’s Forum is taking place this week.

Rounding out the list of top conferences are the Clinton Global Initiative, and, tied for third place, the Fortune Most Powerful Women’s Summit and The Wall Street Journal CEO Council.

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