Penn Schoen Berland
|Founder||Mark Penn and Douglas Schoen|
Don Baer, ChairmanCurtis Freet, CEO
|Services||Market research, strategic communications, advertising|
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) is a market research, political polling, and strategic consulting firm based in the United States. The firm is named for partners Mark Penn, Douglas Schoen, and Michael Berland. PSB was founded in 1977 and acquired by the British-based WPP Group in 2001. The company is known for its political polling on behalf of Bill Clinton and, since the 1970s, PSB has worked on behalf of numerous political campaigns in the U.S. and internationally, contributing to the election of more than 25 political leaders worldwide. Its founders are also credited with the introduction of overnight polling. PSB's notable corporate research and communications work includes research for Microsoft during the 2001 United States v. Microsoft antitrust case and advising McDonald's in the UK to focus on food quality in 2005.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate overview
- 3 Campaigns and elections
- 4 Corporate work
- 5 Entertainment and media
- 6 Research
- 7 Selected awards
- 8 References
- 9 External links
1970s and 1980s
Company founders Mark Penn and Douglas Schoen met at the Horace Mann prep school, where they were both students, and they later attended Harvard University together. After attending a class on polling taught by Bill Schneider, Schoen asked Penn to go into business with him. In 1974, Schoen brought Penn into Hugh Carey's campaign for New York governor and in 1977, they established the firm.
In 1977, Penn and Schoen were hired by consultant David Garth to carry out polling for Ed Koch's campaign for mayor of New York City. The company introduced overnight tracking polls and computer analysis of results, which informed the campaign's media strategy and helped Koch win the election.
Penn and Schoen focused on political polling in the early years of the company. In the 1980s, they first began working with international clients including Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. According to the New York Times, the firm's use of computerized polling analysis and specialized personnel for direct-mail were key innovations in political campaigns of the period.
1990s and 2000s
Michael Berland joined the company in 1990 and it became known as Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. During the 1990s, the company increasingly focused on corporate clients but in 1995, Schoen and Penn began working with Bill Clinton, using their experience from the corporate world and previous political clients to advise on his day-to-day communications and his 1996 reelection campaign.
In November 2001, Penn Schoen Berland was acquired by the London-based media and communications company, WPP Group plc. Later that year the company founded its media and entertainment practice. In 2005 Penn was named the worldwide chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, a public relations agency based in New York also owned by WPP. Following Penn's appointment, he retained his role as president of Penn Schoen Berland. The company became a division of Burson-Marsteller and part of the Young & Rubicam group of companies.
In July 2012, Mark Penn left both Burson-Marsteller and Penn Schoen Berland for a position with Microsoft. Company chairman Donald A. Baer, a former White House communications director and speechwriter for Bill Clinton, led Penn Schoen Berland following Penn's departure. In October 2012, Burson-Marsteller executive vice president Jay Leveton was named PSB's interim CEO.
PSB provides strategic research, communications, advertising, and creative services for political clients, non-profit organizations, and corporations. In addition to its political and corporate business areas, the firm has an entertainment and media practice that provides market research and communications for the entertainment industry.
The firm has American offices in New York City, Washington, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco, and international offices in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Dubai, and Delhi. Worldwide, PSB has more than 200 consultants. Key personnel includes chairman Don Baer and president Michael Berland.
Campaigns and elections
Through its work on various political campaigns, the company has helped more than 25 political leaders to be elected in the Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.
Early political campaigns on which Penn and Schoen worked include Hugh Carey's New York gubernatorial campaign in 1974 and Ed Koch's New York mayoral campaign in 1977, for which the company supervised the direct-mail campaign and polling. Initially, Penn and Schoen manually input data from surveys onto punch cards, which was labor-intensive and subject to errors. For Koch's campaign, Penn built and programmed a computer to process the survey results, allowing them to analyze polling data much more quickly. According to Penn, there were no other pollsters who could do this at that time. The company also pioneered the use of overnight tracking polls, the results of which helped Koch to win the election. The following year, the company worked on Luis Herrera Campins' successful campaign for presidency in Venezuela, for which they won a Pollie award.
1980s international political work
In the 1980s, the company worked on a number of international campaigns, including Menachem Begin's 1981 prime ministerial reelection campaign in Israel. Schoen and Penn provided political consultation and polling, introducing overnight polling to Israel with the campaign, which led to Begin's reelection by a narrow margin. In 1984, PSB assisted Ezer Weizman in establishing a new centrist political party in Israel.
PSB was hired by the Clinton administration in 1995 to help change the White House political strategy leading up to the 1996 election, replacing the previous polling team. The firm significantly increased the administration's use of public opinion polls, which were used to inform policy decisions. The hundreds of polls carried out by the company helped Bill Clinton to develop his "new Democrat" language and policies. For example, the terms "bridge to the 21st century" and "soccer moms" were developed with help from Penn, who advised Clinton to begin using such market-tested phrases.
In 1996, the company worked on Clinton's successful re-election campaign, helping him to win on an updated platform. In particular, Penn advised Clinton to take credit for the upswing in the country's economy and to focus on family values. For the firm's work on the 1996 election, Time magazine dubbed Penn and Schoen "Masters of the Message" in an article focused on the campaign and their influence.
During Clinton's second term, PSB continued to provide polling and advice. According to The Washington Post, Penn became "Clinton's most important political adviser in the second term", and met with the President and aides on a weekly basis to review polls and strategy. The company provided polling on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment crisis. One notable PSB poll led directly to the policy of placing Social Security first in priorities for spending the budget surplus of 1997. In Clinton's 1998 State of the Union address he called for Congress to focus first on Social Security in allocating the surplus funds.
In 2001 and 2005, PSB provided polling for Michael Bloomberg's New York mayoral campaigns. In the 2001 campaign, the firm carried out polling to gather information about New Yorkers' opinions. The opposing candidate, Herman Badillo, claimed that the polls were a "push poll", however this was denied by Bloomberg's campaign aides. In 2005, PSB was hired again by Bloomberg, for his re-election campaign. The firm provided "voter-list development" and created "the most sophisticated database ever developed for a municipal election", according to The New York Post.
Penn was hired by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005, to provide advice for the upcoming UK general election. He became part of the Labour Party's election team, working on strategy to gain voters who would traditionally have voted for the Conservative Party. The strategy helped Labour, with Blair in leadership, to win a third term for the first time in the party's history.
PSB first worked with Hillary Clinton on her successful campaign in 2000 to become New York's junior senator. The company carried out polling, the results of which were provided to Clinton by Penn, in his role as the campaign's pollster and chief adviser. Although Clinton's consultants in New York disagreed with advice from Penn to focus only on the issues, rather than her personality, according to The Washington Post this advice led to her win by 55 percent of the vote.
In 2007 and 2008, PSB provided Clinton with polling, direct mail, and other services for the Democratic presidential nomination. As part of services provided by the firm, Penn became Clinton's communications adviser, employing a team of 20 employees to carry out the routine campaign work. In April 2008, it was disclosed that, in his role as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, Penn had met with Colombian government representatives to discuss promoting a free-trade agreement opposed by Clinton. Penn stepped down from his role as chief strategist but he and PSB continued to poll and provide advice for the campaign.
PSB organized polling during the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004 of President Hugo Chávez and released poll results on election day predicting that 59 percent of voters were in favor of recalling Chávez. The following day, the referendum results were almost the exact opposite of the poll results: the results showed that 58 percent opposed recalling the president. Schoen stated that he believed the referendum "was a massive fraud" and Penn noted that PSB's two previous exit polls in Venezuela had correctly predicted the final results. The results of the referendum were endorsed by César Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States, and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who monitored the vote. Leaders of the opposition refused to accept the results, citing PSB's exit poll as proof of fraud.
The 20,000 responses in the exit poll produced a large amount of data, leading to an extremely low sampling error. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, because the chance of sample error in the exit poll was so low and observers did not find any signs of fraud, it may have been the survey's methodology that led to the discrepancy in results. PSB was criticized in the press for how the poll was carried out because the company used members of a Venezuelan group called Súmate for fieldwork. The group had been involved in organizing the recall and were considered anti-Chávez by the Venezuelan government. In a paper published in academic journal Latin American Perspectives, Daniel Hellinger stated that the results of the poll "were very likely skewed by overrepresentation of voters in areas where [Súmate] volunteers were willing to conduct their interviews." However, at the time, the company stated that the issues were with the voting, not the exit poll. Following the exit poll, Penn replaced Schoen as PSB's representative for Venezuela.
Other campaigns and elections
In 1999, the firm carried out polls in Serbia, commissioned by the National Democratic Institute of Washington in support of Slobodan Milošević's democratic opponents. The polls found that the majority of voters disapproved of Milosevic's performance and wanted him to resign, supporting the view held in the U.S. that he was unlikely to win re-election.
In 2004, PSB organized an exit poll in Ukraine for the presidential election. The poll was commissioned by the Ukrainian ICTV television channel. The firm also conducted polling in Italy in 2006, on behalf of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. Berlusconi stated that in final polls before the election he was tied with opposition leader Romano Prodi, although polls carried out by other firms had shown that Prodi would win by approximately 5 percent. In the final results, Prodi won by less than 0.1 percent of the vote.
PSB has provided corporate research and communications services since the 1980s. Its corporate work has focused on using the experience gained in political campaigns to guide its research, advice, and communications for companies. The company's major corporate clients have included American Express, AT&T, BP, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Microsoft.
Notable corporate work
In 1993, PSB advised AT&T and analyzed its advertising strategy in order to help refocus the phone company and to compete with MCI Inc. The research by PSB, including use of polling data on lifestyle and behavior, found that AT&T had previously not included niche groups such as immigrants making calls to their home country. Following PSB's advice, AT&T used niche-market details in commercials and specially targeted offers to gain these customers.
Microsoft has been a client of PSB since the 1990s. Penn advised Bill Gates on the campaign to prevent Microsoft from being broken up as mandated by the 2000 court decision in the anti-trust case brought by the U.S. Justice Department. The company also provided key research into consumer opinions about Microsoft following the court case.
In 2004, PSB carried out research for McDonald's in the UK when the fast food company was concerned about negative public opinion following the release of the film Super Size Me. PSB's surveys of consumers and stakeholder groups found that food quality was a high priority. The results led to the initiation of an advertising campaign focusing on food quality.
From the early 1990s, PSB has conducted surveys of fans for Major League Baseball. According to MLB commissioner Bud Selig, the research led to changes in the structure of the sport including expansion of playoffs and interleague play. In 1997, while MLB was deciding whether to pursue geographic realignment of teams, PSB carried out research including surveys and focus groups of fans. The company found that a majority of fans were in favor of such realignment.
The company conducted research for Ford in 2009 and 2010, focused on its in-car electronics. A 2009 PSB poll to support Ford's sales case for built-in electronics found that 93 percent of those surveyed agree with the idea of a nationwide ban on texting while driving. In 2010, Ford introduced technology to allow parents to prevent teenage drivers listening to explicit radio content based on PSB survey data.
Entertainment and media
The company's entertainment and media practice was founded in 2001 and provides research for magazine publishers, film studios, and video game publishers, including marketing positioning, test screenings, focus groups, creative advertising testing, and box office tracking. In 2012, PSB expanded this area of its business with the acquisition of First Movies International, an entertainment market research company. Major entertainment and media clients of PSB include Disney, Paramount Pictures, and Condé Nast, for whom the company carried out research to decide on a name for its former business magazine, Condé Nast Portfolio.
ImagePower Global Green Brands Study
Since 2006, PSB has produced an annual consumer survey called the ImagePower Global Green Brands Study, in partnership with Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates, and Esty Environmental Partners. The company polls over 9,000 individuals in eight countries on environmentally responsible brands and products. The survey is one of the largest for green brands.
Aspen Institute studies
PSB has also conducted studies for the Aspen Institute and the related Aspen Ideas Festival. In partnership with Time magazine and the Aspen Institute, in 2011 PSB polled Americans on their opinions of the decade following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The following year, the company conducted polls on Americans' attitudes towards the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This research was commissioned by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute.
Global Corporate Reputation Index
In 2012 the company released its "Global Corporate Reputation Index" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The index listed the top 25 consumer companies by reputation. The research for the index was conducted in partnership with Burson-Marsteller, Landor Associates, and Brand Asset Consulting, and consisted of 40,000 interviews in 6 countries, focusing on the qualities associated with nearly 6,000 companies.
Mark Penn was named Pollster of the year in 1996 and 2000 by the American Association of Political Consultants, for the company's political polling. PSB received a Telly Award in 2008 for its work on Dominion's "Every Day" Campaign, a Pollie Award in 2009 for Television Advertising for its "3AM" commercial for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and a Reed Award in 2011 for Best Radio Ad from Campaigns and Elections magazine for work done for the National Association of Convenience Stores. In 2012 PSB was awarded a David Ogilvy Award from the Advertising Research Foundation for its work on "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never".
- Elisabeth Bumiller (11 February 1998). "PUBLIC LIVES; Taking Pulse of the President's Pulse-Takers". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Jason Horowitz (1 August 2007). "Rumpled Mark Penn, Clinton Pollster, Goes Back to Battle". The New York Observer. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Michael McAuliff (18 December 2007). "Hill's Political Ace". Daily News. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Johnson, Dennis W. (2016-11-07). Democracy for Hire: A History of American Political Consulting. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190272692.
- Anne E. Kornblut (20 April 2007). "Clinton's PowerPointer; With Data and Slides, a Pollster Guides Campaign Strategy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- James Bennet (18 June 2000). "The Guru of Small Things". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Jason Horowitz (19 June 2010). "Big winner of horse-race polls". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Frank Lynn (17 August 1985). "Koch Makes Big Push Through Mail". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Dennis Johnson (2008). Routledge Handbook of Political Management. ISBN 0415962250. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Erica Morris (5 January 2010). "Berland rejoins PSB as president". PRWeek US.
- John F. Harris (31 December 2000). "Policy and Politics by the Numbers; For the President, Polls Became a Defining Force in His Administration". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Greg Johnson (19 November 2001). "WPP Group nabs Clinton poll firm". Daily Deal. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Alex Ben Block (18 April 2012). "Penn Schoen Berland Acquires First Movies International". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Julie Bosman (8 December 2005). "Burson-Marsteller Appoints Political Consultant as Chief". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Allen, Mike (19 July 2012). "Don Baer to head Burson-Marsteller; Mark Penn to Microsoft". Politico. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Penn Schoen Names Jay Leveton Interim Chief Executive". The Holmes Report. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "About PSB - Winning Knowledge". psbresearch.com. Penn Schoen Berland. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Contact Us". psbresearch.com. Penn Schoen Berland. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Don Baer". psbresearch.com. Penn Schoen Berland. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Erica Morris (5 January 2010). "Berland rejoins PSB as president". PR Week. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Gouri Shah (9 April 2011). "Govt must unambiguously show it is on the side of eliminating corruption". Mint. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Mark Penn - The comeback kid fights on". PR Week. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Aaron Leibel (5 February 2009). "Bigger threat than bin Laden". Washington Jewish Week. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Beth Herskovits (12 December 2005). "Burson hires pollster Penn to become firm's next CEO". PR Week. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Richard Stengel; Eric Pooley; Melissa August; Jeffrey H. Birnbaum; Michael Duffy; J.F.O. McAllister; Viveca Novak; Tamala M. Edwards (18 November 1996). . Retrieved 9 July 2012.. Time
- John F. Harris (26 January 1998). "White House Assessing Damage; Advisers Urge Clinton to Publicly Repeat Denials of Affair". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Jessica Kowal (4 July 2001). "Bloomberg Accused of 'Dirty Tricks'; Badillo says poll is a smear campaign". Newsday. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Diane Cardwell (4 July 2001). "Badillo Accuses Bloomberg of Conducting Smear Campaign in Mayor's Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- David Seifman (12 March 2005). "MIKE SPENDS QUICK $5M IN RE-ELECT BID". The New York Post. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Patrick Hennessy; Philip Sherwell (23 January 2005). "Blair recruits Clinton poll mastermind in drive to capture more Tory voters". Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Arena Profile: Mark Penn". The Arena. Politico. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Timothy J. Burger; Kristin Jensen (24 May 2007). "CLINTON STRATEGIST RETAINS P.R. FIRM'S CORPORATE CLIENTS". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "CLINTON'S TOP ADVISER ENDS CAMPAIGN ROLE". Sun-Sentinel. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Michael Barone (20 August 2004). "Exit polls in Venezuela". US News and World Report. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Pollsters predicting recall under fire". Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- David Rosnick (19 August 2004). "Polling and the Ballot: The Venezuelan Referendum" (PDF). cepr.net. Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Daniel Hellinger (2005). "When 'No' Means 'Yes to Revolution': Electoral Politics in Bolivarian Venezuela". Latin American Perspectives. 32 (8): 8–32. doi:10.1177/0094582x05275530. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Phil Gunson; Steven Dudley (3 December 2006). "Sudden change at U.S. polling firm startles Venezuelan opposition". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- John Lancaster (19 September 2000). "U.S. Funds Help Milosevic's Foes in Election Fight". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- John Donnelly (4 November 1999). "Opposition in Serbia gets vow of US support". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Ukrainian private TV commissions exit poll". BBC. 24 December 2004. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Flavia Krause-Jackson; Alessandra Migliaccio (24 March 2006). "Italy's Prodi Holds Lead as Polling Ends Before Vote (Update1)". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Steve Scherer; Alessandra Migliaccio (19 April 2006). "Prodi Wins Italian Election, High Court Confirms (Update2)". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Catherine Bennett (3 February 2005). "Blair's most prized advisers: the admen". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Merrill Weighs a Giuliani Role". The New York Times. 4 June 2002. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Richard Lee (22 February 2007). "Speaker finds political remedies for PR problems". The Stamford Advocate. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Clare O'Connor (8 February 2008). "How McDonald's took on its critics". PR Week. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Phil Rogers (18 December 2001). "Baseball's flaw: Lack of competitive balance". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Hal Bodley (4 August 1997). "Survey says fans favor realignment proposals". USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Hal Bodley (29 August 1997). "Baseball fans oppose radical realignment". USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Dan Roth (20 September 2009). "OMG LOL: New study says 93% of Americans favor banning text messaging while driving". Autoblog. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Alisa Priddle (30 December 2010). "Ford lets parents control the radio". The Detroit News. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Premier PR sells First Movies to Penn Schoen Berland". Screen International. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Dave McNary (19 April 2012). "First Movies sold". Daily Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Katherine Q. Seelye (5 June 2006). "The Buzz of Magazineland Now Has a Name". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Dawn Killough (19 June 2011). "Green Building 101: Where Is The Market For Green?". Green Building Elements. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Burt's Bees Tops Green Brands List". Penton Insight Supermarket News. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Time Poll: Two Thirds Believe US In Period Of Decline". The White House Bulletin. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Ten Years After: How America Has Changed since 9/11". aspenideas.org. Aspen Institute. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Graham, David A. (29 June 2012). "4 Charts That Show Obama's Failure to Sell Health-Care Reform to the Public". The Atlantic. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Teixeira, Ruy (6 August 2012). "Public Opinion Snapshot; Public Still Backs Government Role in Health Care". Center for American Progress. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Penn, Mark (3 February 2012). "Davos 2012: The great transformation". PR Week. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Global brands need to work on citizenship performance, finds Global Corporate Reputation Index". The Drum. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Penn, Schoen, and Berland Exit Poll Shows Chavez Victory". PR Newswire. 4 December 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Winners: 29th Annual Telly Awards". tellyawards.com. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "The 18th Annual Pollie Awards & Conference" (PDF). theaapc.org. The Association of Political and Public Affairs Professionals. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Penn Schoen Berland Wins Best Radio Ad of 2011". psbresearch.com. Penn Schoen Berland. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "The ARF 2012 David Ogilvy Awards". Advertising Research Fountation. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.