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September 25, 2014
Edelman Chicago's Mushy Merger of Disciplines
One could wish that Edelman Chicago would find more public relations business and leave advertising out of it. But no, Edelman has hired four former ad agency executives and is discussing the move, one gathers from the Chicago Business Journal, with a mouthful of gobbledegook. "We recognized we needed to change ourselves," says Edelman Chicago President Jay Porter, "strengthening the nature of our offerings to clients with professionals that offer new and innovative skill sets."

Let's try to keep things clear. Advertising is about selling and public relations is about relating. They're two different disciplines, even though related ones. Doing what Edelman Chicago is doing, however, seems to blur the distinction virtually beyond recognition, and that's a loss for relating. You need to relate even when, especially when, you're not selling. Relating is about talking with people, seeking to be understood, not constantly issuing sales pitches (ads). There's a difference, and we hope there always will be, but Edelman Chicago seems to be blurring it into mush. 

Winning a Grand Prix Award at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Advertising seems to have gone to Edelman's head. 

(Photo: Edelman Chicago's view of Chicago)

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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