Edelman is bulking up its paid offering by hiring Vivaki’s Chris Paul for a newly-created role as global director of paid media.
Paul’s new boss Kevin King, who is Edelman’s global digital lead, describes the new post as providing strategic counsel, while also “creating efficiencies” around the 650 online communities that Edelman manages for its clients.
“We are making paid media buys as part of that, whether that’s search or sponsored posts,” King says. “But we’re not trying to be a media buying shop.”
Unsurprisingly, this resonates with the vision Richard Edelman outlined earlier this year in which he said, at his firm, paid is “an accelerator of earned — it’s not the beginning, it’s the end.”
Paul joins Cassel Kroll who Edelman hired earlier this year from Mindshare as a VP — a move that was considered a major recruit from the paid media realm. Unlike Kroll, who reports through Edelman’s New York office, Paul has been roped into a global role. In addition to King, he’ll work closely with Canada CEO John Clinton, who oversees the firm’s paid media strategy.
“It’s hard to give a percentage, but [paid] is a growing part of the conversation and it’s an important part — we can’t separate that anymore from the social counsel that we give,” King says.
Yet, where firms often stumble is integrating the paid mindset and culture into a traditional PR organization. But King brushes this aside saying “there’s a cultural difference, but sometimes it’s not as big as people think.” Even so, on the classical PR side of the business, Paul’s role includes “evangelizing” paid’s complementary role.
Before joining Edelman, Paul was EVP and GM for Vivaki’s Audience On Demand and worked closely with the many teams inside VivaKi.
When asked if Edelman will be making more paid hires, King adds, “probably — yes.”