Edelman (firm)


Edelman is an American
public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British ...
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

consultancy firm, founded in 1952 by, and named after, Daniel Edelman. It is currently run by his son
Richard Edelman Richard Winston Edelman (born June 15, 1954) is an American businessman, and the president and CEO of the public relations company Edelman (firm), Edelman, a company founded by his father, since 1996. Personal life Edelman was born on June 15, 19 ...
. As of 2018, it is the largest public relations firm in the world by revenue and with 6,000 employees.

Corporate history

Edelman public relations was founded in Chicago in 1952 by former journalist Daniel J. Edelman as Daniel J. Edelman and Associates. The company started with three employees and grew to serve 25 accounts by 1960. The agency opened the New York office in 1960. This was followed by a series of office openings around the globe spanning seven decades including London (1967); Washington, D.C. (1968); Hong Kong (1986); Silicon Valley (1992); and Beijing (1994). Between 2010 and 2012, Edelman continued its global expansion opening offices in Calgary, Dubai, and five new branches in India—Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune. In 2013, the firm opened its first office in South Africa with the acquisition of Baird's Renaissance. In 2015 it expanded its footprint in South America through the purchase of Position Comunicaciones in Colombia. The New York office grew from $1 million to $20 million in revenues from 1979 to the late 1980s under the leadership of Daniel Edelman's son, Richard Edelman. By 1981, Edelman had five international offices and it opened six more over the following decade. Some former employees and industry experts said its focus on financial growth led to high turnover and client service issues as a result. There was also an unsuccessful attempt by some employees to start their own firm with some of Edelman's clients. Richard Edelman was named Global CEO of the eponymous firm in 1996. He took over for his father Daniel J. Edelman, who remained Chairman of Edelman until he died in 2013 at the age of 92. In the 1990s, offices were opened in Mexico, Brazil,
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

, Spain,
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

, and
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

. In the United States, a
Silicon Valley Silicon Valley is a region in Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a U.S ...

Silicon Valley
office was opened in 1992 to serve technology clients, and in
Sacramento ) , image_map = Sacramento County California Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Sacramento Highlighted.svg , mapsize = 250x200px , map_caption = Location within Sacramento ...

, California, in 1994. It also opened offices in Florida, Georgia, and Washington. The firm grew to $70 million in revenues by 1994. In 1995, Edelman was the first public relations firm to have a website and began web-based projects for its clients. By the early 2000s it grew to $210 million with about 25% of revenues coming from Europe. In September 2010, Edelman acquired a
Houston Houston ( ) is the List of cities in Texas by population, most populous city in Texas, List of United States cities by population, fourth-most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United States, as well as th ...

-based firm, Vollmer public relations. With the introduction of Edelman Internet Services in 1995, Edelman became the first public relations firm to launch a digital practice. Edelman Internet Services would go on to become Edelman Digital. And in 2018, the 600-plus-member practice was named Global Digital Agency of the Year by PRovoke Media. An office was opened in Turkey in 2012. By 2012, it had established the 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. In January 2013, the firm launched The Daniel J. Edelman China Group. In 2012 it introduced the Business and Social Purpose division. 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 Human resources is the set of people who make up the workforce The workforce or labour force is the labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one ...

human resources
departments. Edelman launched a joint venture with United Talent Agency in 2014 that resulted in the formation of a unit called United Entertainment Group (UEG). UEG specializes in entertainment, sports and lifestyle marketing. The unit saw 10% growth in 2019. In September 2018, Edelman was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 4 in the list of 200 Most Influential PR Companies. Matthew Harrington, a 35-year Edelman veteran and current Chief Operating Officer, was named Global President of the firm in 2019. Judy John was named Edelman's first-ever Global Chief Creative Officer in February 2019. Lisa Osborne Ross was named CEO of Edelman's U.S. operation in April 2021. Ross became the first Black woman to run a PR operation of that size.

Notable work

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. When Edelman started his own firm, Toni became Edelman's first client. Toni was followed by Sara Lee, a small cheesecake company at the time, and a bowling equipment manufacturer,
Brunswick Corporation Brunswick Corporation, formerly known as the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, is an United States, American corporation that has been developing, manufacturing and marketing a wide variety of products since 1845. Today, Brunswick has more tha ...

Brunswick Corporation
. Edelman also worked with
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

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 Bowling is a Throwing sports#Target sports, target sport and recreational activity in which a player rolls a bowling ball, ball toward Bowling pin, pins (in pin bowling) or another target (in target bowling). The term ''bowling'' usually refe ...

for the National Bowling Council by emphasizing it as a way to stay in shape. The firm worked with Symantec to promote the Norton brand of
antivirus software Antivirus software, or anti-virus software (abbreviated to AV software), also known as anti-malware, is a computer program In imperative programming, a computer program is a sequence of instructions in a programming language that a computer ...
in more than 35 countries since 2008.
Heineken Heineken Lager Beer ( nl, Heineken Pilsener), or simply Heineken () is a pale lager beer with 5% alcohol by volume produced by the Netherlands, Dutch Brewery#Brewing companies, brewing company Heineken N.V.. Heineken beer is sold in a green bot ...

hired Edelman in 2012 for its U.S. corporate public relations and its
Dos Equis DOS (, ) is a platform-independent acronym for disk operating system which later became a common shorthand for disk-based operating systems on IBM PC compatibles. DOS primarily consists of Microsoft's MS-DOS and a rebranded version under the na ...
brand. In 2000, Richard Edelman launched the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual survey of trust and credibility of the world's four major institutions—government, business, media and NGOs—industry sectors, spokespeople and various media platforms. Now in its twentieth year, the annual survey is one of the longest-running pieces of intellectual property and is often cited by major news outlets, politicians and academics when discussing the topic of trust.


Microsoft antitrust

In April 1998 the ''
Los Angeles Times The ''Los Angeles Times'' (abbreviated as ''LA Times'') is a daily newspaper A newspaper is a containing written and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as , ...

Los Angeles Times
'' reported that Edelman had drafted a campaign plan to ensure that state attorneys-general did not join
antitrust Competition law is a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environmen ...
legal actions against Microsoft. Documents obtained by the ''LA Times'' revealed that the plan included generating supportive letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and articles by freelance writers. The ''LA Times'' said the plan included, "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".

Working Families for Wal-Mart front group

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 two bloggers to travel the country interviewing Wal-Mart employees, one of whom was a senior Edelman employee's sister. According to ''The New Yorker'', "everyone she talked to was delighted 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".

E.ON Kingsnorth coal power station

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. In 2009, to coincide with the weeklong "Climate Camp" range of protests, a group of naked protestors occupied Edelman's reception.

Keystone XL pipeline and climate change deniers

Edelman was commissioned by TransCanada Corporation to run campaigns supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed pipeline to carry crude from Canada's oil sands to refineries on the Gulf coast of Texas. Edelman also developed a strategy for the proposed Energy East pipeline intended to carry oil through Québec, en route to a deep water harbor at Cacouna, Quebec for export abroad in supertankers and to refineries in New Brunswick. This resulted in a major controversy when documents leaked to Greenpeace revealed that Edelman had made some unethical proposals to sway public opinion in favor of its client. TransCanada distanced itself from those proposals as soon as the "dirty tricks" were published in the press. In 2015, the firm announced that it would cease work for coal producers and climate change deniers.

News Corporation phone hacking scandal

Edelman provided crisis communications to News Corporation (1980–2013), News Corporation during the News International phone hacking scandal, phone hacking scandal. Other clients have included Vidal Sassoon, Red Cross, Cantor Fitzgerald, Royal Dutch Shell, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Starbucks, and the government of Saudi Arabia. It has used front groups to help the American Petroleum Institute reduce the perceived environmental damage caused by oil companies.

Russia and Yukos

In June 2016, Edelman was hired by the International Centre for Legal Protection (ICLP), led by Andrey Kondakov, former director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia), Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The company was hired to "turn the tide of public opinion" and "help influence U.S. opinion on a massive court verdict involving the oil giant Yukos."

Equifax privacy breach crisis control

Equifax hired Edelman for crisis control after the October 2017 privacy breach.

GEO Group private prison

Edelman supported private prison company GEO Group and helped in "laundering the reputation of private US concentration camps" in July 2019. In May 2019, executives from the Washington, D.C. office, including office president Lisa Ross and former Trump White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters, went to Florida to present the pitch. In June, when word spread across the company that the work was being pursued, debate sprang up on networking app Fishbowl (application), Fishbowl. The work was resigned by Edelman in July 2019 and announced during an all-hands meeting in Washington. On Fishbowl, an employee commented that the executives "took the opportunity to basically shame us for ruining the work for the company because they couldn't trust us not to leak it to the press." Other employees on Fishbowl made similar comments. The company's official response was that "Edelman takes on complex and diverse clients ... and ultimately decided not to proceed with this work." Edelman also refused to confirm they did similar work for another major private prison company, CoreCivic.

See also



{{DEFAULTSORT:Edelman (Firm) Consulting firms established in 1952 Public relations companies of the United States 1952 establishments in Illinois