Edelman PR Bumps Up Online Social Engagement

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Edelman Public Relations has expanded its online aspect by adding Lisa Page, former deputy communications director for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to their California operations. According to the news, Edelman’s research has indicated that online media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have become more trusted, which obviously makes them a more viable means of impacting business.

Edelman, the largest PR firm in the United States, and in California, has been the focus of several of our articles about engagement of the Internet. Our original assessment was not unlike that for any number of larger PR entities in that Edelman was lacking in some key areas of branding itself and having the means to effectively communicate its client’s needs online as well. This move, along with subtle differences we have noted in the way the company’s web presence is focused, reveal two things actually. First, Edelman’s efforts toward engaging the Web community validate the digital realm even more. Secondly, the efforts of competitors like Waggener Edstrom and others may also be forcing number one’s hand.

This is a little speculative of course, but at least Edelman recognizes the “wired nature” of politics in California, and the potential to serve Silicon Valley’s businesses too. This move looks like a purely political one however, but one we hope is not too akin the APCO Worldwide’s influence peddling on the Hill. If Edelman could put its resources to work online, as well as they have in the physical world, the WE and other seemingly “more wired” PR firms could be in for a run for their money. In fact, given our latest conversations with WE, I was about to (and probably will still) report on just how effective they have become in what we all now call “the conversation.”

Steve Telliano, General Manager of Edelman’s Sacramento office put Edelman’s new found online philosophy in a nutshell:

“The expansion of Edelman’s online practice reflects how communication is changing…Companies at the forefront of public policy issues are feeling pressured to do something online, but often they’re not sure what to do.”

I can certainly vouch for Telliano’s statement here, but not simply for public policy movers and shakers either. Most companies we talk to, including those we review like Edelman, have not had the slightest idea what to do to enter “the conversation”, so to speak. It looks like Telliano and some others are trying to lead the company in the right direction now though. Telliano seems to understand that social media and networking is one heck of a lot more than a press release, and he said so. Working in the trenches of social media, as our team members do, is not always a glamorous or even always effective task. Waggener Edstrom and Horn Group to a lesser extent, are the only ones I know of with a substantially effective crew of people out there, at least in the sense of doing any good. It will be interesting to see how Telliano, with the help of Lisa Page, interject their strategies upon the Web.

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