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12

That’s a broken model.

“Communications marketing” vs. "marketing

communications,” as we see it, marks a return to

more substantive storytelling. And it favors holistic

thinkers who have a PR mindset, an approach that’s

social by design and an intense focus on measurable

business impact.

This approach – “communications marketing” – is more

than semantics. It stresses relevant, substantive

storytelling, stakeholder engagement, trust and, above

all, shared value for customers, organizations and

shareholders. It does not favor classic advertising or

media buying.

Now, when you combine the quantitative/financial view

of the marketplace and my more qualitative/

philosophical view, I hope you will see the huge

opportunity for PR agencies like Edelman. By carefully

expanding “into the suburbs,” if you will, by picking our

spots, we will not only expand the remit of PR but also

create new career options for your students.

So what does “communications marketing” look like in

action? At its core it is about becoming what we call a

“living brand.” This requires that brands/corporations

be purposeful in how they act, be attuned to multiple

voices and stakeholders and be participatory and social

by design rather than as an afterthought.

A great example is Starbucks, our client. They have

a clear brand platform/purpose, a continuous

connection with key customers/stakeholders, an

emphasis on powerful storytelling at the core and a

belief in personal, human, trusted communications

that’s social by design. They neatly stitch all of

these activities together and think, act and then

communicate accordingly.

The recent move by Starbucks to subsidize their

baristas’ college tuition costs is just the latest example

of this ethos at work. It starts with the CEO but is

pulled through the domain of the CMO and the CCO.

So, given this, what is the role of the PR agency? In

my mind, it’s simple. We lead with communications

to evolve, promote and protect both brands and

reputations. This is the natural evolution of the PR

agency and it’s the framework for everything

we’re doing as a company, and arguably, as an

industry today.

Here’s what I mean by that:

• Evolve:

We help position and transform companies

like GE, Starbucks, eBay, Pepsi, Unilever and

their brands.

• Promote:

We help launch products for Samsung,

Kellogg’s, SC Johnson and Activision. We create

demand, spark conversations, generate visibility, drive

retail traffic and trigger purchase.

• Protect:

Finally, we engage in the intellectually

challenging work required to manage crises in real

time, as we did with Penn State and more recently in

Malaysia with MH370. We help to repair sentiment as

we’ve done for PayPal and HP, and we help clients

navigate reputational attacks like those facing

Chevron and Walmart.

To be sure, media relations and community

engagement remain core capabilities our clients want.

However, in this era of blurred lines – between

marketing and communications, between CCO and

CMO, between paid and earned – we aren’t standing

still. We are folding it under a more holistic view as we

expand into the ‘burbs.

That’s an update on “what’s now” – themes that

emerged since we last convened.

What’s Next

Now let’s turn our attention to more of what’s next. I

promised earlier I would assign homework. Here we go.

As you listen and participate in the sessions here at the

Academic Summit, I’d like you to begin thinking about

three ways we can continue our partnership as we

evolve from “marketing communications” to

“communications marketing.” We need you to:

Encourage new kinds of talent to enter the

PR profession

In the last year, Edelman added over 1,700

people worldwide. Many of these certainly are

classically trained PR professionals who are deep

experts in industry sectors, practices and various

geographic markets.

However, we also added lots of people who have

never worked in PR – some of whom you’ll meet

this week.

They include people like Adam Hirsch, who is an

expert in emerging technology and was once the

COO of Mashable; our new global head of paid

media, Chris Paul, who joined from Publicis’ Vivaki;

Tyler Gray, who came from

Fast Company

to run our

creative newsroom in New York, and our new head

of global strategy, Glenn Engler, who was president

at Digitas, the largest global digital agency.

Within Edelman, there’s now a growing sense of

urgency to onboard all kinds of specialists who are