Thursday 08 December 2016

Edelman is No. 7 on the Ad Age Agency A List: Why PR is a Threat to Digital and Creative Agencies

Ad Age A List

I’ve only been with Edelman for a short period, having merged my previous consulting businessparkyoung into the firm’s Melbourne office some 10 weeks ago. However, I was interested (and heartened) to see this piece in the bible of America’s advertising industry - Advertising Age.

The headline says it all: Edelman is No. 7 on the Ad Age Agency A List.

According to Ad Age:

The frenzy over the social-media sphere has created a debate over who should “own” the space — digital shops, traditional shops or the marketer itself. Ironically, what tends to get lost in the noise over tools and ownership is the focus on conversation. But it’s just that focus that has put PR giant Edelman in the center of the action.

Edelman’s competitive set has been broadened as companies seek a more digitally based, authentic, two-way conversational approach to marketing. So much so in fact that it wasn’t unusual last year for an exec at a creative or digital shop to say they were concerned about losing business to Edelman because of its capabilities and approach.

Over the years I have actively promoted the fact public relations should be at the heart of a brand’s overall communications effort. I’ve blogged and tweeted about it constantly and included my theories in numerous presentations.

Strategic public relations well executed can be incredibly effective in helping to build a trusted brand from a holistic, multi-stakeholder perspective. Importantly in today’s hyper-connected environment, PR practitioners are becoming important in reaching out to a brand’s ‘publics’ and creating cost-efficient content that gets people talking about - and interacting with – a company or organisation.

That’s why it gladdens the PR Warrior’s heart to see public relations and communications being applied in intelligent fashion by my peers at Edelman as well as others in major PR firms and smaller independent shops – and, importantly, being recognised for it.

Here are some points Edelman Global CEO Richard Edelman makes in the video interview above:

  • “I think we’re more centre stage in the communications mix.”
  • “The line is evaporating between brand and corporate reputation.”
  • “We (Edelman) have gone from classic ‘small box’ media relations to define public relations really as public engagement…we are able to manage a stakeholder universe”.

Is having a PR company represented in the Ad Age Agency ‘A List’ a one-off or a sign of things to come?

I’m tipping the latter because PR firms have always been about relationships, two-way dialogue and bringing brands to life with relevant stories, content and event-based experiential activity.

And guess what?

Marketing today is all about relationships, two-way dialogue and bringing brands to life with relevant stories, content and event-based experiential activity.

Interesting times ahead!

FURTHER READING: Here’s the full Ad Age A List Agency List