Building a Global PR Firm with Weber Shandwick Founder Larry Weber


Larry Weber on building Weber Shandwick, one the world’s largest PR firms, and the impact social media marketing has had on the public relations agency business. 

This podcast was recorded at the Public Relations Society of America International Conference in Philadelphia.   Larry Weber is author of the new book “Marketing the Social Web” and the Chairman of W2 Group a global marketing services ecosystem that helps CMOs in their new role as builders of communities and content aggregators. 

Larry Weber and Eric Schwartzman

Prior to W2 Group, Mr. Weber founded The Weber Group, which within a decade became the world’s largest public relations firm, Weber Shandwick Worldwide. 

Mr. Weber became chairman and CEO of Interpublic’s Advanced Marketing Services Group, where he built and oversaw an $800 million group that included the world’s top public relations, healthcare communications, branding, research, and entertainment and experiential marketing firms.  

Show Notes:  

3:33 – Weber talks about his start in PR and how he grew one of the largest PR agencies in the world.  

7:00 – Weber on his transition from practicing public relations to the C suite of a global firm.  

8:23 – Weber discusses the culture of Weber Shandwick Worldwide.  

9:53 – Weber shares the key character traits he looks for when recruiting employees for PR jobs.  

11:20 – Weber explains how he found success with his first PR firm, The Weber Group.  

11:45 – Weber reveals how he was able to grow the staff at Weber Shandwick Worldwide to meet agency demand, without losing sight over the firm’s existing client account load.  

12:50 – Weber on appealing to third-parties to secure media coverage.  

15:04 – Weber on managing client expectations.  

16:11 – Weber on why meeting expectations is more important than developing a friendship with the client.  

16:59 – Weber discusses why social media is compelling companies to shift dollars from advertising to public relations.  

18:19 – Weber reveals why he thinks the business community has only just begun to use social media as a promotional tool.  

20:17 – Weber explains how to promote new media content by strategically using paid media.  

22:52 – Weber on why the evolution social media compels PR professionals to dig deeper into where people get their news and what issues influence them.  

24:44 – Weber on why there will always be a need for traditional media.  

25:38 – Weber on how social media improves the credibility of mainstream news.  

25:52 – Weber reveals what sets him apart from other PR pros.  

27:19 – End 

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