For the past five years, Edelman has steadily advanced in its ambition to become a Communications Marketing firm. We believe that reputation and marketing are inextricably linked. We are guided by our conviction that trust is at the core of every aspect of commerce. We see that companies and brands must act, not simply communicate.
We have evolved our firm because the operating environment demands a broader set of skills. More than 50 percent of Americans now get their information outside of traditional media, making the use of social media platforms and direct communications with consumers a necessity. The mainstream media is still vitally important but so reduced in headcount that it has impeded our ability to deliver results. There are broader expectations of companies and brands to speak up on issues of the day, from sustainability to innovation. Brands are being thrust into a political frame as the charged daily discourse entangles celebrities and influencers. The classic pyramid of influence, with elites on the top and mass on the bottom, has turned upside down. Peers and social influencers are now more credible than authority figures.
We have made a serious commitment to helping our clients solve their problems in new ways, collaborating with them and supporting them as they Act With Certainty. In achieving this ambition, we have brought in a host of new skills. We have a 700-person social digital unit. We have added nearly 600 creatives, planners and paid media specialists. We now have a subsidiary, United Entertainment Group, dedicated to entertainment and sports. Our Edelman Intelligence business offers data and analytics so that we write our programs based on insight and instinct. And we are launching a global C-suite communications advisory business. These new members of the family now constitute approximately 25 percent of our team.
Public relations continues to be the essence of our business; we explicitly do not wish to replicate the advertising agency model. But we now can be a client’s primary communications partner, bringing ideas that are earned at the core, social by design, and work across earned, owned, shared and paid channels. With our insight, intelligence and independence, we help clients create campaigns and movements that earn attention and trust, drive sales, and make meaningful change for society.
We have a portfolio of work that reflects our new ambition, including campaigns for Heineken, REI, CVS and Dove. In some cases, we have partnered with ad agencies on executing the work. In others, such as Dove, we conceived and executed the campaigns.
We are privileged to work with chief communications officers and chief marketing officers who entrust us with their brands and reputations. The adventure, which began in 1952 with my dad and three people at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, continues.
Richard Edelman is president and CEO.