Yesterday on his blog 6 A.M., Richard Edelman responded with dissent to Fleishmann-Hillard’s (FH) announcement that they are transforming from a PR firm to a full-service marketing communications provider.
In doing so, he outlined his plans for Edelman, his namesake PR firm, to expand the definition of public relations rather pursue an approach similar to FH. But he does this at the expense of the advertising profession and I cannot let this lie without rebuttal.
I disagree with Richard’s contrast of advertising ideas and PR ideas. How can he credibly state that only PR ideas stimulate discussion and have the potential to play out over years? And that PR ideas start with relevancy and newsworthiness, but not ideas from an ad agency? This is patently false. Richard is selling here. Selling Edelman, a PR agency adept and celebrated for its social media prowess, and I applaud him for it. As he states, he is expanding the definition of PR and re-framing the case for his business. But making a sweeping statement that PR people are the only professionals in our industry who possess a mindset to listen to consumers, the capability to develop engaging, quality and evolving content, the ability to act in credible and rapid manner, and best to leverage social media platforms is simply wrong and damages the broader marketing communication industry overall. The reality is there is no difference between Fleishman-Hillard (FH) stating they are becoming a full-service provider, or Richard stating that Edelman is expanding the definition of PR, or an ad agency developing a social media-centric approach with 24/7 content creation. What it comes down to is who delivers results for their clients within our new communication landscape. And that may be a PR firm, an ad agency or even non-traditional provider like a publisher.