Agency Profile: Edelman Vancouver

CPRS Vancouver is bringing you the first of several agency profiles in a new initiative which aims to create awareness about existing PR agencies in Vancouver. We want the PR community to become familiar with other influencers and give PR agencies – large and small – the opportunity to share their story and successes. Here is Edelman Vancouver's agency profile to kickstart the series. 

When was Edelman Vancouver established? Who founded Edelman?

Edelman Vancouver, started as a one-person home-based social policy consulting service called Karyo Communications, founded by Patti Schom-Moffatt. In 1995, Paul Welsh joined Patti as her business partner and Karyo Communications continued to thrive and grow in number until a pivotal point in 2007 when Edelman bought a majority interest in Karyo. Patti and Paul stayed on as co-general managers and have played an influential role in the communications industry across Western Canada ever since.

As of April 1, Edelman welcomes Kim Peacock as the new GM of Edelman Canada West (encompassing both Edelman’s Vancouver and Calgary offices) and Patti and Paul have assumed national positions with the company as Chief Client Officer and Chief Commercial Officer respectively.

What was the concept behind the formation of the firm?

The firm was initially founded as a social policy research firm, to take advantage of Patti’s academic background (Masters of Social Work, Policy, Carleton University). Following several large national research projects conducted by Karyo in the area of women’s employment and childcare, Patti found it as important to ensure research results were being disseminated to the public in a way they could understand and absorb. Over time, the firm shifted its focus away from conducting the research to disseminating it, and began to offer a full service approach to communications.

 How big is your agency?

Edelman Vancouver has 49 full time staff members – a combination of senior strategists, writers, project managers, branding, social media and media relations personnel and programmers who work as a seamless and integrated team. Included is a 10 person creative and digital services department to be able to offer Edelman clients a fully integrated and holistic approach to their communications needs. 

Edelman Vancouver has been recognized as British Columbia’s biggest PR firm by Business in Vancouver for each of the past five years.

What does a typical day at Edelman Vancouver look like?

There is no ‘typical day’ at Edelman Vancouver, which is what makes it such an exciting and inspiring environment to work in. There is a constant buzz of activity whether staff are participating in brainstorms for existing client initiatives or new business projects, leading communications strategy sessions, media training clients, working on the launch of a new client campaign to taking advantage of Edelman’s professional development resources to ensure we’re at the top of our game and keeping our pulse on the industry.

 How has the definition of PR changed for Edelman Vancouver? Has it changed any of the work your agency does?

Today, public relations has transformed into public engagement – and our job as PR professionals is to find authentic ways to tell our clients’ stories to their audiences in ways that engage them and move them to action. Search and content are at the core of public engagement – having creative ways to tell the story and ensuring our clients’ stories can be easily found online and off. In the past, we relied almost exclusively on media gatekeepers to help tell our clients’ stories and today, we are working with our clients to become their own media channels.

What sets your agency apart from the others in Vancouver?

At Edelman Vancouver, we push the boundaries of traditional PR, using the latest social media and digital tools to establish a new era of public engagement between organizations and their constituents. We are also an integrated firm that provides services right across the communications spectrum. Thought leadership and being at the forefront of our industry as far as trends or what the future holds is also a key component of what Edelman stands for, and we take this position on a local level when sharing the results of Edelman’s Annual Trust Barometer, holding Edelman GWEN (Global Women’s Executive Network) events or devoting 48hrs of time to giving back to local community organizations as part of Edelman Vancouver’s Little Give, an annual CSR challenge that all staff members participate in.

What would you say Edelman Vancouver “specializes in”?

Edelman Vancouver takes pride in providing innovative 360⁰communications solutions that lead our clients down a path of public engagement. Providing service across seven focus areas – Corporate, Consumer Marketing, Crisis and Issues, Health, Digital, Technology and Public affairs, we offer a full-suite of services in each area. We also focus on digital grassroots advocacy, which in today’s climate is essential for large infrastructure development projects to ensure their story has the opportunity to be told effectively.

 What would your employees say makes Edelman Vancouver appealing to work for?

Employees of Edelman Vancouver would agree that there is an incredible amount of opportunity to take advantage of, no matter where you are in your career. A supportive and trusting local team, paired with the support and opportunity to take advantage of a global network, enables and encourages employees to push themselves and discover new interests to expand their role.

Edelman’s integrated communications model also provides employees with firsthand experience to work on all aspects of a campaign, to truly see it come to life from a 360⁰perspective.

Edelman Vancouver’s office environment is positive, creative, inspiring, hardworking and most importantly, we know how to have fun.

Tell us about a campaign Edelman Vancouver is most known for or proud of.

When the Vancouver Airport Authority was looking to increase profile and esteem with local stakeholders, we went beyond and proposed an out-of-the-box, unexpected big idea:  “[email protected],” a community relations program built on a contest to select an in-house storyteller to live, eat, sleep and report from YVR for 80 days and 80 nights in recognition of the airport’s 80th anniversary.

The program combined media and public relations, content development, social media engagement and more, and ran from June-October 2011. Resulting in more than 200 million media impressions and hits with the BBC, MSNBC and The National, to name a few, social media engagement with the storyteller topped all metrics with more than 3,500 Facebook fans during the life of the contest. The campaign saw YVR act as its own media company by sharing stories about its operations directly with thousands of viewers a day.

What does your current client portfolio look like and who does it consist of?

Edelman Vancouver’s client portfolio spans all key sectors – Corporate, Public Affairs, Consumer Marketing, Digital, Technology, Health and Not-for-Profit. We work with large infrastructure development projects, on national health campaigns, and on issues such as skilled training.

Edelman Vancouver won an award for the The Real Housewives of Vancouver Campaign at the 2013 CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Gala. Can you tell us what the campaign is all about?

Edelman Vancouver was brought in to provide publicity support and strategic counsel to both Lark Productions and Shaw Media (Slice) for the inaugural season of the hit television series, The Real Housewives of Vancouver, the first show from the Real Housewives franchise to come to Canada.  To generate buzz for the premier launch, Edelman worked with Slice to develop a social media strategy to launch the show’s social pages and led a cross Canada media tour with the show’s cast. 

The campaign resulted in over 554 media stories and 216 million impressions, reaching the average Canadian six times over.  The show premiered to unprecedented audience numbers, making it the highest-rated premiere in Slice’s history and trumped ratings of all other Real Housewives series premieres to date on Slice.  Slice’s website doubled in traffic during the first episode and The Real Housewives of Vancouver was the number one trending topic in Canada during the premiere and trended in the top 10 worldwide on Twitter.

Do you have anything new and exciting coming up?

The Edelman Vancouver team has had a busy first half of the year so far. In addition to welcoming Kim Peacockas the new GM of Edelman Canada West, our growing team has moved into a new office space at 1500 West Georgia which will be celebrated soon.

Visit Edelman Vancouver or contact GM Kim Peacock at [email protected] (or 604-648-3421) for more information.