A Real World Textbook: Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations (aka ‘The Book of Dan’)

I just finished reading an inspiring new book that gave me an even deeper appreciation for long-time friend and mentor Dan Edelman.

Former Edelman staffer Franz Wisner traces Edelman’s development beginning with Dan’s very first client 60 years ago to today’s ranking as the largest public relations firm in the world.

During a 60th anniversary celebration in Chicago last month with senior management, key former employees and early clients, Dan’s wife, Ruth, and children Richard, John and Renée provided their personal insights into Dan, who is hospitalized and was not able to attend the party he would have loved.  Richard, who now heads Edelman, summed up the many components of the agency’s success in his remarks, “How We Did It,” as he introduced the book which fondly has been dubbed, “The Book of Dan.”

Loaded with interesting family and staff photos and brands made better known through PR, the book traces Dan’s decision in 1952 to hang up his own shingle to today’s success. PR professionals can still learn from Dan’s early efforts to promote the Toni Twins, followed soon afterwards by his making Charlie Lubin’s Sara Lee cheesecake famous. In one of the earliest testimonials to the power of PR, Lubin said, “Public relations was worth 100 times the advertising in establishing the success of Sara Lee.”  Hundreds of other clients followed, and creative PR campaigns included my personal favorite–running Morris the Cat for President (9Lives brand cat food).

Filled with mini case studies and photos of key Edelman executives who are credited with helping build the agency over the years, the book gives you a fuller understanding of the foundation that Dan skillfully built for the future of his agency and our profession. Edelman is providing hard copies of the book to all employees, plus the agency is giving the book to college libraries and it eventually will be available online.

The “Book of Dan” could easily become a public relations textbook, and I might be the first to teach from it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *