Pearson was named chief technology and media officer for WeissComm and will run the social media practice, said Jim Weiss, chairman, CEO, and founder of WeissComm Group, the parent company of WeissComm Partners and Invigorate Communications.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The social media practice, which now has six full-time employees, is considering retaining the Common Sense Media Group name, he added.
“I think what we're going to see is a transition of our traditional media team morphing into a comprehensive media team, if you will, where you've got social and online media, traditional media, and we will be looking at options for paid media,” said Weiss.
Earlier this year, the WeissComm Group acquired ODA, a strategic branding agency, as part of an effort to diversify from the company's traditional healthcare communications background.
The WeissComm social media practice will not be limited to healthcare clients, said Pearson, but will also work with companies across different disciplines, including energy and packaged goods.
Pearson, who left Dell in March 2009 to open the Austin-based firm, spent most of his career in healthcare PR and worked with Weiss at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi-Aventis). At Dell, his team was responsible for creating IdeaStorm and introducing the company to outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
“A lot of the innovation may be occurring in other industries, and we can pull it back to healthcare and adapt it quicker,” Pearson said. “You want to be in a mix of clients that are really truly giving best practices.”
WeissComm also announced a strategic alliance with Rule 13, a social media firm founded by Common Sense staffer George LeBrun, to educate and train its staff as well as its clients in social media, according to Weiss.
“What we're seeing is that many companies are just trying to get their arms around this beast,” said Weiss. “So, training and education are going to be really critical.”
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