Social-Media Guru David Armano Heads to Edelman

Will Work on Strategy With PR Agency's Biggest Clients

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- David Armano is leaving the social-media consultancy Dachis Group after only eight months to join independent PR shop Edelman. As the agency's senior VP-digital, Mr. Armano will occasionally be working alongside one of the digital sector's other boldfaced names, Steve Rubel, Edelman's senior VP-director of insights. Both will report directly to Rick Murray, president of Edelman Digital.

David Armano
David Armano
With Messrs. Armano and Rubel on board, Edelman further solidifies its digital offering as one of the best in the PR sector, a point not lost on agency President-CEO Richard Edelman.

"With Steve Rubel's intellect and David Armano's creativity, we now provide clients the industries' most compelling fire-and-ice team," Mr. Edelman said.

Added Mr. Murray: "David is a pioneer in the fastest-growing sector of the communications business, and will help support our clients think and act like media companies -- engaging audiences directly with compelling and entertaining content."

Established scale
Mr. Armano joined Austin, Texas-based Dachis Corp., a "social-business design" start-up founded by Razorfish founder Jeff Dachis, in April after two years at Omnicom Group's Critical Mass. But Mr. Armano, who was commuting from Chicago to Austin, is staying put in the Windy City.

"I gave the start-up thing a real shot but I came to the realization that you can't beat what Edelman offers -- scale, global reach and a high level of innovation," Mr. Armano told Ad Age. "So after putting a good solid eight months in [at Dachis] going about 150 mph and not being able to sell our house [in Chicago], it made sense and we decided to stay in Chicago. It was the first time I worked with a start-up but going to something that's more established, where I can jump in on existing clients that are looking to move forward, is a better fit for me."

Mr. Armano will not only be working on social-media efforts for some the agency's biggest clients, which include PepsiCo, Burger King, Starbucks, Walmart, eBay and Unilever's Axe brand, but he will also have "responsibilities related to Edelman's own digital presence" and be charged with helping move that forward. He said he will continue to provide thought leadership, internal education and work on new-business pitches as well. Mr. Armano said he will also maintain his personal blog and continue to write for HarvardBusiness.org.

Well positioned for social
"What we are envisioning is that I will touch multiple clients from a strategic perspective and there will be times I go a little bit deeper on one depending on what's going on," Mr. Armano said. "Communications firms are really well positioned to work the social media space because they have traditionally done two-way communications and have experience with internal communications as well as external."

As for what he'd like to see PR shops do more of in the digital and social-media space, Mr. Armano said there needs to be more of a focus on the consumer experience.

"User experience, in general, plays a large role in social networks," he said. "People have good or bad experiences and they tend to talk about them a lot, and that could even be on the internal side. A poorly designed system can be a barrier so there's a big opportunity for PR shops to grow in that direction. They have the communications part down but amping up what that digital experience is will really give them a full arsenal."

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