NEW YORK--Edelman has hired research veteran Mike Berland to take charge of a new research and analytics offering called Edelman Berland.
Berland joins the agency from WPP's Penn Schoen Berland, where he was president. Edelman Berland will integrate Edelman's existing research offering, StrategyOne, and attempt to turn research into a major revenue-driver for the firm.
Berland will report to Matthew Harrington, Edelman’s global chief operating officer. His exit follows Mark Penn's departure in July for Microsoft. Last week, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell singled out Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) for under-performing during the first half of this year.
Berland told the Holmes Report his decision was based on a desire to "reinvent and reimagine research with someone who believes in it."
At Edelman, he will aim to accelerate a research offering that has grown to more than 100 people worldwide, in an industry that still sometimes struggles to see planning and insight services funded by clients. To try and change that, Edelman CEO Richard Edelman said that research would now be paired with the firm's geographies, rather than functioning as a standalone unit.
“It is as big an opportunity as digital was," Edelman told the Holmes Report. "This will allow us to corroborate the decision to shift money from advertising to PR. We know the model works, and the fact that our digital business has grown to revenues in excess of $80 million globally as a result speaks for itself.”
During his 20-year career in polling, Berland has served as strategic advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his 2001 and 2005 mayoral campaigns, and also worked on Hillary Clinton's 2006 Senate and 2008 presidential primary campaigns.
“When it comes to fully integrating research with PR programs and partnering with both account teams and clients, [Berland] is simply the best," added Edelman. "Mike and I share a belief that we must bring our clients real-time research that is relevant in a digital world with speed, multiple sources of information and peer credibility.”
StrategyOne's existing clients include Mubadala, Pepsico and Shell.
"It’s time to reimagine and reinvent research and the role research and insights can play in the communications business," said Berland. "We need realtime research that provides realtime results."