My father, Dan Edelman, passed away on January 15, 2013 in Chicago. It is now five years since his death, an appropriate time to take stock of what has happened in the interim. In a sense, this is my way of doing a progress report for him as if I were about to visit his office in Chicago. So Dan, if you are listening up there (and Ruth of course leaning in for information), here are the important points:
1. Stayed True to Your Marketing Heritage - Edelman started as a consumer marketing PR firm. You always talked about that as our identity, going back to the Toni Twins and Sara Lee and California Wines. We are still 60-plus percent in the marketing business, but now the CPG and food business is about a quarter of the revenue, the balance from technology, health, financial services and B-to-B.
2. Became a Global Player - This was your dream, from the first office in London in 1967 to the most recent expansion into Colombia in 2016. We honored your longtime colleague and friend Mike Morley in our expanded UK office in December. We also honored David Davis in New York at the PR Museum in November. Our non-U.S. revenue is now 42 percent of the total.
3. Everyone is an Account Executive - Our senior people work on clients. Our junior people work on clients. In short, we all work on clients.
4. Client Service Matters More Than Profits (by far) - We get that. We have very high client satisfaction ratings. Our profit level is much below what our CFO might want but it allows us to do the best work.
5. Re-invest In the Business - Well here is the big news. We have hired 550 creatives, planners and paid media people. We have become the creative lead on a few clients (yes, the ad agency has to follow us-your fantasy).
6. The Creative Has to Be Outstanding - We won a Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival two years ago for REI. We are doing incredible work for a number of big clients. The ideas are coming from the creative teams, as well as the PR teams.
7. That Digital Stuff - Well I tried to explain Facebook and Google to you. Just know that we are now the largest social digital firm, with about 800 people in thirty offices. Digital accounts for up to 30 percent of office revenue in certain markets.
8. Do the Big Work - In the past year, we have helped so many companies come back from crises, and worked on some big CEO transitions.
9. Keep the Culture - We have that Midwestern work ethic. We work hard. We are not fancy. We are humble about our success.
10. Stay Independent - Well of course we have done that. We are a family business in all of the right ways. Your granddaughters are hard at work in New York and San Francisco, your son in Chicago and daughter in New York.
So that is the update. We miss you and hope that this makes you happy. We miss Ruth too, especially for the leadership meetings. The food has never been the same.
This article was originally published on www.edelman.com.