Edelman's partnership with Cision was once positioned as the 'first of its kind,' but after its first year, the deal is no longer exclusive

  • PR giant Edelman has ended its exclusive partnership with Cision to give Edelman access to data not available elsewhere and help Edelman prove out the value of PR.
  • Since then, Edelman has sought out new tech vendors, sources told Business Insider.
  • Edelman said the Cision partnership was no longer exclusive but that it was still delivering work for clients with Cision.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In August 2019, public relations giant Edelman announced an exclusive partnership with software company Cision, touting it as a "first-of-its-kind integration" that was supposed to help connect the dots between PR work and clients' results.

The deal was seen in the industry as unprecedented in terms of the depth of data being shared and its exclusive nature. It called for Edelman to get access to Cision data not available to any other PR firms and develop new products with Cision that it would sell to clients. The goal of all this was to help measure PR in the way advertisers measure their ad campaigns at a time when the PR industry is under pressure to show ROI.

For Cision, the deal was supposed to help it sell services by getting introduced to Edelman's clients at a time when its growth was slowing. 

However, three PR software company executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Edelman contacted their companies about hiring them to replace parts of the Cision partnership, one as early as late 2019.

Two of those execs said they thought Edelman's reaching out signaled a lack of faith in the partnership's long-term viability.

Another executive said Edelman told them it couldn't get clients to buy products it developed with Cision through the deal.

Edelman told Business Insider it was still working with Cision to deliver work for clients but that the partnership was no longer exclusive. The company said the agency didn't replace Cision and that it's always hiring new data partners. It's unclear what the partnership required of Edelman and what if any obligation to Cision it's now released from.

At the time, Edelman and Cision there was no revenue-sharing agreement.

It's also unclear if Cision can now offer the proprietary data elsewhere, but a big part of the deal for Cision was that it was supposed to help it get deeper access to Edelman clients. At the time, Cision said it hoped the agreement would continue "in perpetuity."

Edelman also said the partnership resulted in "material revenue growth and client innovation over the last year," but declined to give specifics.

"Edelman has an agnostic data strategy, meaning we always evaluate data partnerships and build new integrations in our Earned Signal Platform solution," the spokesperson said.

Cision hasn't responded to a request for comment.

Edelman was always free to use other vendors, but both it and Cision placed a lot of confidence in this deal when they announced it, describing the data approach as "first of its kind" and a "powerful combination." Edelman committed substantial resources and staff from its 150-person performance communications unit to work on the project.

Edelman continues to pour resources into data and insights, which is a key part of its growth strategy.

This week, Edelman announced a PR technology offering called Edelman CommsTech Solutions that's meant to build new products for clients and advise them on how to use them. The new offering is unrelated to Cision, an agency spokesperson said.

The agency has also hired people like Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis, global chief data and analytics officer; Theresa LaMontagne, the US head of data and technology services; and Jacob Loban, the US head of performance marketing.

Read more from Business Insider:

Cision and Meltwater, the two largest PR software companies, are planning a merger, and the DoJ has explored whether it would hurt competition

A leaked pitch deck from Cision shows the PR software giant is trying to sell a company it bought last year for $225 million

Meet the 22 executives at Edelman who are leading the world's largest public-relations firm through a recession and shift to creative

Source: Read Full Article