Last night, Edelman was named Global Agency of the Year by PRovoke at the 2022 Global SABRE Awards. This is a stunning achievement, a tribute to the over 6,000 people of Edelman, whose work for our clients has given us the best possible 70th birthday present.
How did this happen? Here is the story.
- The People of Edelman — Our teams are the best in the business and without them, none of what we achieve would be possible. The 6,000 strong across 60+ offices are the soul of Edelman and push us to do better for our firm, our clients and our communities every day.
- True Grit — We got knocked down in the early days of the pandemic. We endured the first ever RIF in the company’s history. We were working from home, most of us locked down. We took pay cuts to preserve jobs. Then we got off the floor and fought back. Magnificently, with character befitting a champion. We did the best work of our lives, the kind of work that promoted the use of life-saving vaccines, pursued racial justice and sustainable lifestyles.
- Focus on Existing Clients — We grew our clients by applying the full force of Edelman, from creative to planning to digital to data to experiential. We implemented a more rigorous client satisfaction process, and the business grew.
- Trust — We picked up the pace on the Edelman Trust Barometer. At a time of confusion and incoherence, we were able to offer data driven advice. A perfect example is the study on Racial Justice that we did in the weeks following the murder of George Floyd. We were able to show clients that all Americans, whether Democrat or Republican, wanted brands and companies to stand up and lead against racial injustice. We were doing a study a month, on climate, on health, on brand, on Gen Z.
- Creative — We brought ideas that were game-changers. For Unilever, the Dove #LETHERGROW campaign, which brought to light the issue of forced haircuts for young girls in Thailand and was intended to bolster self-confidence and autonomy among the country’s girls. For Ajinomoto, we did the #TakeOutHate campaign to counter anti-Asian sentiment by encouraging consumers to patronize Chinese restaurants. The Asics Eternal Run campaign won a Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions, a brilliant metaphor for a world struggling with COVID-19, showing elite runners on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah competing with no finish line.
- Public Service — We did important campaigns for the City of Chicago, notably UNSPOKEN, a mental health effort encouraging citizens to seek help, and ImmUNITY, a campaign encouraging pediatric vaccination. We were engaged by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth for the Stronger Than Violence campaign, which provided information and support against domestic violence in supermarkets during the pandemic, when a rise in domestic violence occurred.
- Health — Our health business became the agency’s largest component. We did stunning work advancing education to address vaccine hesitancy. We went direct to pastors, pharmacists and other local heroes to leverage their community relationships. We also did influential work to advance vaccine access in vulnerable communities in the U.S. and in low and middle-income countries across the world.
- The Battle for Truth — We were first to recognize the importance of company media in a polarized time. Edelman Digital provided CEOs with channels for direct communication with their workforce through LinkedIn and other social options. Frequency mattered more than ever.
- Invested in Advisory Business — We created distinct entities for our Public Affairs and Financial Communications offerings with the launch of Edelman Global Advisory and Edelman Smithfield, respectively, so that they could compete with the boutiques as specialist firms. We worked on important transactions and counseled clients on trade and regulatory issues.
Paul Holmes and Arun Sudhaman have been important figures in the development of Edelman. As I noted in my acceptance speech last night, Paul properly criticized our firm when we had excessive turnover or insufficient attention to excellence. Arun has noted our stumbles as we have built a global network brick by brick over decades. That is why we take such satisfaction in being recognized as the best firm in the business for 2022. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to our clients who enable us to serve them with bold ideas and top-level advice. And to the people of Edelman, you are the most magnificent team ever assembled, bold and ambitious, rising every day to the challenge of informing the public and driving change and action in society.
Richard Edelman is CEO.