New Edelman hire suggests big things for PR measurement

The world’s largest PR agency has created a distinct entity to focus on research and analytics with Michael J. Berland at the helm. The entire industry should take notice.

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The world’s biggest public relations firm on Wednesday announced that Michael J. Berland will lead a new research and analytic business called Edelman Berland, which will include the company’s established research entity StrategyOne.

Berland most recently served as the president of Penn Schoen Berland.

The new business will integrate a research component into the work the firm does in the five regions where it operates—Latin America, Canada, U.S., Asia Pacific, and Europe/Middle East/Africa—to help determine whether PR efforts have influenced behavior and changed attitudes.

“It’s a different kind of research model,” CEO Richard Edelman told PR Daily.

According to Edelman, StrategyOne has spent the past 14 years performing research for corporate reputation and public affairs. “We want to do that, and we want to do more brand-oriented work,” Edelman said, later adding: “[Clients] have been getting their [research] elsewhere, and that drives me crazy. … We can do this for our clients.”

The investment in research and analytics is similar to Edelman’s investment in digital media, which in a matter of years has become an $80 million-plus business for the firm, representing 12.5 percent of its revenue, according to Edelman.

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