Edelman was recognized by PRWeek last night as the Agency Dynasty of the Past 25 Years (full write up below). Our sister agency Zeno was recognized as Outstanding Large Agency of the Year. We deeply appreciate the recognition by Editorial Director Steve Barrett and our peers in the industry. I was there with Edelman stalwarts: John Edelman, Renee Edelman, Matt Harrington, Vic Malanga, Lisa Sepulveda, Nancy Ruscheinski and Edelman alums Leslie Dach, Mike Morley and Judi Mackey. Here is the story of the past quarter century.

First, we took the path less traveled. We remained private and independent, family owned and managed while the others became part of large communications holding companies. We were told that our day was done because clients would be doing cross-holding company pitches that included PR. We have proven to clients that we are a superior partner and worth making the exception to an efficiency play.

Second, we have been relentless in reinvention of our offering. For example, we went into digital in the mid-90s with the online version of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. We have built a large research unit, DxI, which now has a trust management system that is the basis of executive compensation at two large financial services companies.

Third, we compete broadly, against our fellow PR firms, but also against ad agencies, digital firms and media buying houses. We can do so because we have invested in creative, planning, digital, production and data. We won a record nine Cannes Lions in 2023. We have become agency of record for several clients. The resulting work is stunning, including REI’s #OptOutside for Black Friday in 2016, Ajinomoto’s #TakeOutHate to support Asian restaurants during COVID-19, the eBay Sneaker Drop and Up the Antibodies for AstraZeneca.

Fourth, we have done the Edelman Trust Barometer for the past 24 years, enabling us to advise clients at the highest level on complex issues of geo-politics, race, and sustainability. This thought leadership allows us to compete with consulting firms and advisory firms. We have accelerated our study of trust, now with specialized reports on health, technology, sustainability, race, employees, investors and brands plus our global 28 country report for Davos. Now we have the Gen-Z Lab, 150 Edelman employees who help clients understand this new consumer. Our study of trust has led to our thesis that Trust Drives Growth and Action Earns Trust.

Fifth, we do work of significance. Surprising the skeptics, we led strategic communications for the COP28 presidency, playing our small part in 200 countries agreeing to the world’s first negotiated agreement to a just, equitable and orderly transition away from fossil fuels. We worked with CVS to take cigarettes off the shelves, enabling the company’s transformation into a health care provider. Our counsel to Starbucks through its system wide employee training on creating a welcoming environment for all turned around a potentially explosive incident at a store. Our impact goes beyond the work we do with clients and into our communities. We volunteer, advise and have driven $42 million in investments since the launch of our Global Citizenship function in 2010.

I brought two generations of the Edelman family to the event to represent the present and the future. We heard a story from Ron Culp, our former client at Sears, about a ride to the Lyric Opera with my dad at the wheel. He asked Ron about the Edelman performance on the account. Ron told Dan there were some service issues. Dan promptly ran the car onto the curb, turned his head and assured Ron that he was on the case. A phone call from a chastened senior Edelman person ensued the next morning; the problems were resolved. This generation of Edelman and Zeno colleagues and the next understand that we are here to serve the clients, to push them to think expansively and to dare to do great work. I am so grateful to my colleagues who work tirelessly to deliver on the founder’s promise, “It is great to be the largest firm. But we must always strive to be the best firm.”



It would be easy to say Edelman, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2023, earns this honor on financial might, as the industry’s first billion-dollar PR firm. But in the past 25 years, its impact has been far greater, focusing on the importance of trust and its commitment to creating movements, not moments.

It is led by Richard Edelman, the longest-tenured CEO in the marketing services sector, who himself turns 70 this year, and a thought leader in the industry. In 2000, he launched the Edelman Trust Barometer, which has earned its reputation as the preeminent intellectual property on trust in societal institutions. Under his direction, revenue has increased 11.5 times, becoming an award-winning creative powerhouse.

The mission remains the same: partnering with clients to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. But Edelman’s prowess continues to grow. Memorable campaigns include systemwide training for Starbucks baristas, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, taking cigarettes off CVS’ shelves, boosting REI’s #OptOutside Black Friday initiative or combating anti-Asian sentiment during the early days of the pandemic.

Judges especially admired the impact of See My Skin, a 2022 effort for Vaseline, with Edelman guiding the start of the only database designed to search conditions on skin of color.

To keep up with generational changes, it introduced the Gen Z Lab, a consortium of 150 Gen Z employees. It appointed the world’s first ZEO, gender-fluid fashion icon Harris Reed, to help clients tap directly into this consumer cohort.

It also stands out for its generosity, driving more than $42 million in community investments since launching its Global Citizenship function in 2010, including $1.5 million in grants and over $300,000 in volunteering, pro bono and board advisory support.