Dan Edelman, Founder of Edelman PR, 1920-2013
I was going to write my usual post on “humpday help” and silliness and getting you a job and all that business, but then I got devastating news yesterday: Edelman PR founder, Dan Edelman, passed away, aged 92.
Now, as a young PR pro, you might not know exactly who Dan Edelman is, or the huge contributions he made to this industry; and if you don’t, then I’m here to educate you. In 1952, Dan Edelman started a small agency (with just 5 employees and a monthly retainer of $500, just $4,500 in today’s money) that sought to connect the public with brands. Now, if you have ever looked at my “What is PR?” page, then you know public relations itself, isn’t new, but Mr. Edelman had a new idea for PR, one where the firm wouldn’t only launch campaigns for its clients, but it would be with them day in and day out, paving the way for what we now know as “brand recognition” by handling media relations, launching recurring campaigns and positioning the brand within the public’s mind.
By 1960, the small firm had over 20 accounts, including the country of Finland (the entire country!) and Edelman had pioneered many of the practices we still use in the industry today. Edelman wasn’t just a publicist, he was a WWII vet, a former reporter and a true innovator. During WWII, Edelman studied German propaganda to get an idea of just how influential messaging can be, and how he could utilize that knowledge to position brands to the forefront of their industry.
Today, Edelman PR is not only the largest PR firm in the world, it’s also the largest independently-owned firm in the world–because Edelman refused to compromise his beliefs and practices to sell to a larger company, no matter what the offer price. Without the genius of Daniel Edelman, the PR industry would not be where it is today; he paved the way for many independent agencies to make a name for themselves and he positioned many companies that are now household names (Sara Lee, KFC and Wal-Mart…just to name a few). So please, take the time honour this late, great PR innovator and listen to a few of his past lectures, I bet you’ll learn something. RIP Dan Edelman.
For More information, please visit:
Edelman PR: About Us
Chicago Tribune: PR pioneer Daniel Edelman dies
Bloomberg Business: Daniel Edelman, Founder of World’s Largest PR Firm, Dies at 92