Richard Edelman riffed on FleishmanHillard's re-branding in a blog post April 30, lauding the "bold vision" but adding that it looks like a bid to create a marketing services company, rather than an agency built on PR.

Edelman, Senay
Edelman, Senay

The Edelman CEO said he agrees with FH chief Dave Senay's observations on the convergence of media and move to recruit from outside the walls of PR. "Where we part company is his strategy for becoming a one-stop shop that is as much an ad agency as PR firm," wrote Edelman.

"PR is more than a set of tactics or tools," he said. "It's a mindset; the ideas that come from PR people are different than those that come from advertising people. Both are engaged in storytelling, but the PR idea stimulates discussion and has the potential to play out over years. A PR idea has to start with relevancy and newsworthiness."

The New York Times ad column exclusively unveiled Fleishman's "new look" April 28, noting the "giant in public relations is spinning in a new direction" which includes dropping the hyphen to become FleishmanHillard and adding the slogan "The power of true."

"It's not that we're going to become an ad agency," Senay told the Times. "We're moving into a different space. The vision is to be the most complete communications company in the world. Somebody's got to be able to put it all together."

FH is running its first TV ad with the new brand. Senay told the hometown St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "We have a choice of either having people cannibalizing us, or we can be the people spreading our wings and adopting adjacent disciplines."

The Times story is here, with Edelman's full rebuttal at edelman.com.