If image truly is everything, then Edelman may be one of the most indispensable companies around. Daniel J. Edelman, which does business simply as Edelman, is the largest independent agency in the industry, conducting work for heavy hitters such as Wal-Mart and Microsoft. With more than 50 offices worldwide, the company provides its services to five industries through about 20 practice areas (including financial communications and investor relations, corporate affairs, marketing, litigation, and public affairs). Edelman has fiercely guarded its independent status, despite the business world's ever-increasing trend toward consolidation. The company was founded in 1952 by chairman and owner Daniel Edelman.