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Burson-Marsteller Retooling for PR Profession That Is ‘Changing Dramatically’

October 15, 2013

In the race to keep up with continuous changes in technology and consumer behavior, another PR giant is reassessing how it presents itself to current and potential clients and employees.

As The New York Times reports, Burson-Marsteller is launching an initiative it calls “Committed to Being More,” a push within the firm for “greater creativity, being more strategic about what we’re doing,” says Donald A. Baer, the company’s chairman and chief executive.

Along with hiring more senior managers, revamping employee training and redesigning brand-identity materials, Burson-Marsteller is aiming for “a much closer integration between public relations and advertising and promotion and direct marketing,” says Harold Burson, APR, Fellow PRSA, who co-founded the agency with William Marsteller in 1953.

“The people in this business have known for generations that the most effective communication is word of mouth,” says Burson, now 92 years old. “I see word of mouth as the basis of today’s social media. The fact you can multiply word of mouth by thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, has made social media a very potent tool.”

PR agencies are “moving from publicizing ideas to creating content, content that drives those ideas,” Baer says. “The field is changing dramatically.”  — Greg Beaubien



Joe says:

Saying this as someone who has worked at Burson-Marsteller and other agencies, it seems like being creative, strategic and integrated is what all agencies should be (a mid-size agency I worked for has been doing this since the '70s). I'm surprised that B-M would seemingly admit that it hasn't been (or, at least, hasn't been sufficiently) creative, strategic and integrated. And not to pile on, but the social-media-is-word-of-mouth-amplified comment by HB seems fairly obvious in 2013. That may have been forward-thinking in the early 2000s (or perhaps for some, even earlier), but not today. This entire post suggests this firm - which I'm glad to have worked for - is playing a major game of catch-up.

Oct. 18, 2013

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