Edelman (firm)

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Edelman
Type Private
Industry Public relations
Founded 1952
Founder(s) Daniel Edelman
Headquarters New York City and Chicago
Number of locations 67[1]
Area served Worldwide
Key people Daniel Edelman
(Founder and Chairman)
Richard Edelman
(President and CEO)
Revenue $644.7 million (2012)[2]
Employees 4,500
Website edelman.com

Edelman is a public relations firm founded and named after Daniel Edelman (July 3, 1920 – January 15, 2013)[3] and currently run by his son Richard Edelman. Founded as a team of three in the postwar boom, today the company has revenues of over $600 million annually, employs 4,200 people with co-headquarters in New York City and Chicago and is the world's largest independently owned public relations firm.[2]

Corporate history[edit]

Edelman public relations was founded in Chicago in 1952 by former journalist Daniel J. Edelman[3] as Daniel J. Edelman and Associates.[4] The company started with three employees[5][6][7][8] and grew to serve 25 accounts by 1960.[9] Edelman established a second office in New York that same year and a third in Los Angeles in 1967.[10]

The firm opened offices in London, Canada, Asia and Europe in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[10] The New York office grew from $1 to $20 million in revenues from 1979 to the late 1980s under the leadership of Daniel Edelman's son, Richard Edelman.[11] By 1981, Edelman had five international offices and it opened six more over the following decade.[12] Some former employees and industry experts said it was so focused on financial growth that it encountered some high turnover and client service issues as a result.[11] There was also an unsuccessful attempt by some employees to start their own firm with some of Edelman's clients.[10]

In 1985, the firm's founder, Daniel Edelman, retired and his son Richard Edelman became the new CEO.[13][14][15] In the 1990s, offices were opened in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, South Korea, China, and Belgium. In the United States, a Silicon Valley office was opened in 1992 to serve technology clients, and in Sacramento, California, in 1994. It also opened offices in Florida, Georgia, and Washington[clarification needed].[12] The firm grew to $70 million in revenues by 1994.[11]

In 1995, Edelman was the first public relations firm to have a website and began web-based projects for its clients.[12] By the early 2000s it grew to $210 million with about 25% of revenues coming from Europe.[12] In September 2010, Edelman acquired a Houston-based firm, Vollmer public relations.[16]

An office was opened in Turkey in 2012.[17] By 2012, it had a digital an Edelman Digital division with about 600 staff and about half of its work was social media-related. It acquired technology public relations firm, A&R, in 2006.[18]

In January 2013, the firm launched The Daniel J. Edelman China Group.[19]

Services[edit]

Edelman has eight practice areas:[20][21]

  • Business + Social Purpose
  • Consumer Marketing
  • Corporate
  • Crisis and Risk
  • Digital
  • Health
  • Public Affairs
  • Technology

As of 2012, its largest clients were Unilever, Starbucks, Microsoft, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung.[22]

In 2012 it introduced the Business and Social Purpose division.[20] It also introduced the Employee Engagement Connections Index, which helps users evaluate employee engagement through data collected in employee surveys, social media conversations, and feedback from human resources departments.[23]

Operations[edit]

Edelman is considered the only remaining large, independently owned public relations firm.[24][25] Eighty-two percent of the company is owned by the Edelman family, while 18 percent is owned by executives.[9] The firm is known for remaining private, despite a market trend towards consolidation and offers for an acquisition.[6][7] Daniel Edelman turned down an acquisition offer by DDB Worldwide in 1978 and instead persuaded his son to work at the firm so he could carry on the family business.[9] Two competitors offered to purchase the firm in 1997 and were rejected.[12]

According to Edelman's 2012 corporate social responsibility report, it donated $5 million to charitable causes through pro-bono services, rewards to employees that do volunteer work and cash donations.[26]

Notable work[edit]

Edelman's founder, Daniel Edelman, is credited with inventing the corporate media tour for his work with his previous employer, Toni Home Permanent Co. He toured the country with "The Toni Twins", a set of twins, where one used a professional salon and the other used Toni's home hair-care products.[3][4][27] When Edelman started his own firm, Toni became Edelman's first client.[10] Toni was followed by Sara Lee, a small cheesecake company at the time,[28][29] and a bowling equipment manufacturer, Brunswick Corporation.[30]

Edelman also worked with Finland to improve its image in part through the Finnfacts Institute it founded in the 1960s. It promoted wine for the California Wine Institute and promoted bowling for the National Bowling Council by emphasizing it as a way to stay in shape.[12][31]

In April 1998 the Los Angeles Times reported that Edelman had drafted a campaign plan to ensure that a dozen state attorneys-general did not join antitrust legal actions against Microsoft. Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times revealed that the plan included generating supportive letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and articles by freelance writers.[32] USA Today responded to the astroturfing saying, "the elaborate plan hinges on a number of unusual and some say unethical tactics, including the planting of articles, letters to the editor and opinion pieces to be commissioned by Microsoft's top media handlers but presented by local firms as spontaneous testimonials".[33]

In the 2000s, Edelman created a front group called the Working Families for Wal-Mart, which said it was a grassroots organization, but was actually funded by Wal-Mart. It paid for two bloggers to travel the country interviewing Wal-Mart employees, one of which was a public relations representative's sister. According to The New Yorker, "everyone she talked to was delited with Wal-Mart". In 2006, BusinessWeek reported that the public relations effort, which was positioned as a grassroots blog, was actually paid for by Wal-Mart. The New Yorker called it a "blatant example of Astroturfing".[34] The firm is also known for working with organizations like the American Petroleum Institute and deploying front groups that create the appearance of a grassroots organization that are actually corporation-sponsored.[34]

Edelman has helped Starbucks through a rebranding and provided crisis communications to News Corporation during the phone hacking scandal.[35] In 2008 Edelman's work with E.ON, which planned to build a coal power station at Kingsnorth attracted protests at Edelman's UK headquarters.[36] In 2009, to coincide with the weeklong "Climate Camp" range of protests, a group of naked protestors occupied Edelman's reception.[37]

It worked with Symantec to promote the Norton brand of antivirus software in more than 35 countries since 2008.[41]

Heineken hired Edelman in 2012 for its U.S. corporate public relations and its Dos Equis brand.[42]

Publishing[edit]

Edelman publishes an annual Trust Barometer report. In 2009 the report found that trust in corporations had reached a ten-year low.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Global Network, Edelman 
  2. ^ a b "Worldwide Fees of Top Independent PR Firms With Major U.S. Operations". O'Dwyers. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Daniel Edelman 1920-2013; Public-Relations Pioneer Began with 'Toni Twins’ Stunt". The Wall Street Journal. January 15, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Wisner, Franz (2012), Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations, Edelman 
  5. ^ Channick, Robert (November 7, 2012). "Public relations scion Richard Edelman, subject of an upcoming book, shares his take on the business in the digital age". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Inc.". North of Neutral. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Kirk, Jim (June 18, 2002). "Edelman savors nearly 50 years of independence". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Ruth Edelman, behind scenes force at PR firm, 1929-2013". Chicago Tribune. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c Bertagnoli, Lisa (January 30, 2012). "PR firm Edelman rises to No. 1 under second generation". Crain's Business. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Tina Gant (25 June 2004). International Directory of Company Histories. Gale. 
  11. ^ a b c Feder, Barnaby (August 17, 1994). "A family-run public relations firm in transition keeps its place near the top of the industry heap". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Company Histories & Profiles: Edelman". Funding Universe. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Son Moves up as Edelman President". Chicago Tribune. June 17, 1985. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  14. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (1983-12-20). "Advertising - People". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  15. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (1985-06-14). "A Promotion At Edelman". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  16. ^ Kaplan, David (September 27, 2010). "Vollmer Public Relations acquired by Edelman". The Chron. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  17. ^ Sudhaman, Arun (October 30, 2012). "Edelman Launches In Turkey". The Holmes Report. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Media Agency of the Year: PR, Edelman: Focus on international, digital puts world's largest PR agency at the center of the social buzz". AdWeek. January 23, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Edelman to expand in China|Economy|chinadaily.com.cn". Usa.chinadaily.com.cn. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  20. ^ a b Elliott, Stuart (April 26, 2012). "At Edelman P.R. Agency, ‘Purpose’ Gets Put Into Practice". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  21. ^ Practices, Specialties & DJE Holdings, Edelman 
  22. ^ Edwards, Jim (October 1, 2012). "60 Years In 60 Seconds: Q&A With Edelman CEO Richard Edelman". Business Insider. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  23. ^ Kiefer, Brittaney (October 30, 2012). "Edelman unveils employee engagement tool". PRWeek. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  24. ^ Nancy Flynn (2006). Blog Rules: A Business Guide to Managing Policy, Public Relations, and Legal Issues. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-0-8144-2950-1. 
  25. ^ Al Ries; Laura Ries (17 March 2009). The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-174273-6. 
  26. ^ Kiefer, Brittaney (September 21, 2012). "Edelman emphasizes anti-poverty pro bono work". PRWeek. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  27. ^ Krishnamurthy Sriramesh; Dejan Vercic (10 September 2012). The Global Public Relations Handbook, Revised Edition. Routledge. pp. 994–. ISBN 978-1-135-84554-4. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  28. ^ Crain, R. (2010). Industry legend Dan Edelman reflects on the birth of a public-relations giant. Advertising Age, 81(27), 15.
  29. ^ Emily, L. (1). Pioneer revolutionized public relations. Washington Post, The.
  30. ^ Daniel J. Boorstin (9 May 2012). The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 189–. ISBN 978-0-307-81916-1. 
  31. ^ Dobnik, Verena (January 15, 2013). "NY Public Relations Pioneer Edelman dies in II". The Associated Press. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  32. ^ "DOJ/Antitrust". Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  33. ^ Jim Drinkard; Owen Ullmann (2000-05-30). "Microsoft leans creatively on levers of political power as breakup decision looms, 'stealth' lobbying efforts aim for survival". USA Today. 
  34. ^ a b Goldberg, Jeffrey (April 2, 2007). "Selling Wal-Mart". The New Yorker. 
  35. ^ Bruell, Alexandra (January 23, 2012). "Edelman Is No. 8 on the Ad Age Agency A-List". AdAge. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Activists target Edelman in climate change protest". PR Week. July 17, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Edelman discovers the naked truth". Communicate magazine. September 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  38. ^ Ian Hall, "Edelman, Burson Land Global Deals With Unified Shell", PRWeek.
  39. ^ "Public relations: Dan the (Not Mad) Man", The Economist.
  40. ^ "Edelman Reps Saudi Arabia". Odwyerpr. March 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  41. ^ Kiefer, Brittaney (June 27, 2012). "Symantec picks Edelman as global consumer AOR". PRWeek. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  42. ^ Bruell, Alexandra (July 19, 2012). "Heineken USA Makes PR Agency Changes". AdAge. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Edelman Trust Barometer: Trust in Business at 10-year Low in U.S.". Media Bistro. January 22, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 

External links[edit]