BENTONVILLE, AK: The addition of Edelman to Wal-Mart?s roster of PR agencies marks a stronger commitment to reputation management by the retailer rather than a shift of its former agency assignments.
Robert McAdam, Wal-Mart's VP of corporate affairs, said that the company brought Edelman on about a month ago to add heft to its internal team, but that the agency would not be taking over any existing work from Hill & Knowlton or any other agencies currently working for Wal-Mart.
"[Edelman is] helping us with responding in kind to what is coming at us from some of our detractors," said McAdam. "Helping us with additional messages we can use, helping us with rapid response, that sort of thing."
Edelman has placed a team directly in Wal-Mart's Arkansas headquarters, and is also working out of DC. The agency aided the company in spreading the word about its Hurricane Katrina response, which garnered heavy favorable coverage.
McAdam said there was no set length on the Edelman contract; rather, he said, it will depend on how effective the team is in meeting the company's reputation goals.