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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Edelman’

Industry Responds to Financial Times ‘PR Is a Waste of Money’ Piece

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The week’s most-discussed article was this one, by Emma Jacobs of Financial Times, which imagines a corporate world free from the “bland message[s]” of “spin-doctors” who “[drum] up controversy simply in order to increase their fees.”

Her overly emphatic point is that certain top financial executives like Warren Buffett prefer to speak directly to journalists and shareholders (though they all have personal assistants). The killer quote, delivered by an unnamed British tech comms director:

“I have no idea what [PR does] for us.”

…and it keeps going.

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Edelman Scores #3 Spot on ‘Top 50 CEOs’ List

We’re not exactly sure which qualities make a chief executive a favorite among employees, but Richard Edelman has them: he’s the only communications chief to appear on Glassdoor’s new 2014 list of the world’s highest rated CEOs, topped by Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn.

In fact, no PR leaders appeared on last year’s list, which featured Mark Zuckerberg in the first position.

We can’t say we’re terribly surprised given the industry’s reputation for keeping things very close to its chest, but one may gain some insights from former and current employees’ reviews, which provided the data for the list. Here are Edelman’s (nice widget, BTW):


The reviews are almost universally positive, with a notable focus on company culture and career opportunities (hardly a surprise at the world’s biggest independent agency).
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Edelman Trust Barometer Results: It’s CSR Time

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The big conclusion everyone’s drawn from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is that the public’s confidence in both media and government has hit a low point. The most important metric is supposedly a jump in the gap between trust in business and trust in government, and the only three notable countries in which the latter trumps the former are South Korea, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

Hold on, though: this doesn’t mean that we’re about to enter some neo-Libtertarian utopia.

The findings can be summed up with three big letters: CSR.

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Now Is Apparently the Time for PR to Take on Advertising

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That’s according to Tom Foremski of ZDNET, who previously told us that Google doesn’t really want to kill all our press releases—it just wants to help us improve them.

His argument is that the PR industry has a “huge window of opportunity” in 2014 as the ad business splinters, traditional campaigns lose more of their power to convince and large-scale consolidation moves forward, further concentrating the talent pool and (arguably) smothering the creative urge beneath endless layers of bureaucracy.

Sounds familiar…

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Middle-Aged Man Buys Himself an Agency for Christmas

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What do successful men with decades of experience in their fields buy for themselves as mortality creeps ever closer? Some buy sports cars; some buy motorcycles and matching leather jackets; some donate millions to charity; some “buy” newer, younger wives.

Chinese mega-investor Oscar Zhao just bought 80-something percent of London digital agency We Are Social, and Richard Edelman deemed the event important enough to rank it #3 on his 10 most important events of the year list this week.

OK, but why?

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PR ‘Matriarch’ Ruth Edelman, 1929-2013

Ruth EdelmanToday brings news that in some way touches everyone in the public relations industry: Ruth Edelman, who helped build husband Daniel’s eponymous firm into the world’s largest, died this weekend at 84 after a brief battle with leukemia.

The Chicago Sun-Times describes Ruth as the firm’s “matriarch”, but of course her role went well beyond “pick[ing] out the lamps and furniture” for Edelman’s first Chicago office.

In fact, she was something of a bellwether for powerful women in the industry, and her networking skills were legendary. Son and current president/CEO Richard Edelman explains:

“She was my dad’s kind of silent partner…In the present generation, she would have been an executive, but in the ’50s she was the corporate wife. She never had a formal title while my dad was alive, but everybody knew she was the power behind the throne.”

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What Does the Publicis/Omnicom Merger Mean? (Part 2)

Yesterday we shared some of the many third-party predictions and analyses of the Publicis/Omnicom merger and what it will mean to the future of the advertising and marketing industries. To recap: On the financial front, industry revenue totals will probably stay steady—but the organization of the game will undoubtedly change.

The next question: what role will PR firms and professionals play in this new arrangement?

Richard Edelman believes that PR will act as “part of the supporting cast” in this ongoing soap opera in order to back up the newest and biggest players, Digital and Data. In other words (via The New York Times), it’s all about the mega-agencies chasing Google to reach more targeted users via Big Data number crunching.

Yet, despite this hyper-focus on math nerds, Edelman writes that individual “thought leader” voices within the PR industry will grow even more valuable as they bring crucial “small data” research and insights to the table that no Google analytics study can provide. Jack Marshall of Digiday even argues that the role of Big Data has been overstated because the numbers ultimately belong to clients, not agencies (and that the whole thing is really an accounting issue).

Back to our main query: how dramatic will the change be for PR?

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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 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 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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