Mumbrella’s PR agency of the year: Edelman

Edelman Australia has undergone something of a renaissance in 2011.

Edelman CEO Michelle Hutton

Edelman CEO Michelle Hutton

The arrival of CEO Michelle Hutton in the middle of last year was followed by an intake of strong senior operators including Matthew Gain as head of digital for Australia and Anna MacIntosh as director of consumer marketing.

The agency has kicked on since, and proved itself with work beyond traditional PR, and beyond the areas it is best known for – technology and corporate communications.

Its best work was managing the messaging around the introduction of The Australian’s paywall.

A controversial move by News Limited, Edelman reports having halved the negative conversations in social media after helping to educate readers on the reasons why they should pay for something they used to get for free.

For Samsung, Edelman set up a pop-up Samsung store next to queues outside the Apple Store on the day of the launch of the iPhone 4.

Work for Paypal and eBay has also impressed.

Other good hires, such as Grant Thomas as director of technology in Sydney, Trevor Young as director of strategy and innovation in Melbourne and Alex Lefley as an account director to aid the expansion of the Melbourne office’s digital PR services have given Edelman strength in depth.

Hutton’s legal stoush with WPP that followed her exit from Hill & Knowlton to join Edelman has, if anything, spurred the agency on, while her former employer has struggled.

Even rivals admit that Edelman has re-established itself as an industry leader through its performance this year.

New clients include Kmart Tyre and Auto Service, after a three-way pitch, and KFC, which put a PR agency on a retainer for the first time.

The agency has also come up with some new tools, such as BlogLevel, measuring the influence of blogs.

Edelman is one of Australia’s fastest growing with headcount in Sydney rising from 22 to 40 in 2011. The Melbourne office of 15 marked a year of growth by moving into its new Collins Street office.

In year when the consumer PR agencies hogged the headlines, Edelman put itself back on the map.

Commended: Mango

Mango’s transformation from an anonymous, quiet achiever within the DDB Group three years ago to a vibrant force in consumer PR was cemented in 2011.

Boss Simone Drewry has re-engineered an agency with a distinctive culture of its own, and has positioned Mango as a pioneer in experiential and consumer PR.

Revenue has grown by 11% this year, staff numbers are up to 30 in Sydney and eight in Melbourne, and Drewry has brought in Claire Salvetti from Zing as managing partner. Telstra has proved a springboard – its best work for Telstra’s 4G launch saw YouTube sensation Rebecca Black perform in a street activation campaign.

Lifestyle PR agency Liquid Ideas was also a close contender.

  • Details of Mumbrella’s selections for agencies of the year are available in The Mumbrella Annual, which goes on sale – digitally and in print – shortly

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