Megafirm Burson-Marsteller is creating a separate, two-piece agency to approach digital influence two ways, “the creative execution of communications based on research and data to drive superior results for clients” and through “digital reputation management, online experience design, social Media, community development and mobile marketing” according to the press release issued this week by Burson spokesman Paul Cordasco. The former description belongs to Proof Integrated Communications (or Proof IC), the latter to Proof Digital Media.
Here’s where it gets really complicated: Proof IC will be formed as a combination of BM’s Marsteller advertising division and bits of Burson CEO Mark Penn’s other company, Penn Schoen & Berland (PSB). Proof IC’s CEO is Jay Leveton, who was SVP at PSB and president of PSBcreative. Matt Lieppe, former creative director at PSBCreative will serve as chief creative officer.
Penn as most people in PR know, earned a ton of ink last summer as Hillary Clinton’s controversial chief strategist in her bid to win the democratic nomination for president.
More relevant to the competition for digital PR work and social media consulting is Proof Digital Media. At the helm as CEO is Erin Byrne, who was chief digital strategist at Burson. The Proof segmentation and re-brand is how many firms big and small are currently approaching the hunt for the piece of the social media pie.
Now that you have BM’s digital two-step in your grasp, consider that Burson-Marsteller is part of Young & Rubicam’s (Y&R) suite of brands, which is a subsidiary of the global company WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).