By Arun Sudhaman
LONDON: British healthcare organisation Bupa has selected Freud Communications to handle its UK PR account, which will combine consumer and corporate communication.
Bupa UK and North America head of communications Anne Marie Cooklin confirmed the news with The Holmes Report, following a lengthy review that began earlier this year.
The brief is understood to focus on building consumer awareness for all of Bupa’s UK business units: health insurance, aged care, home healthcare and care management. Public affairs and financial comms, handled by Lexington and Brunswick, respectively, are not believed to be affected by the review.
The pitch itself was called by Bupa’s global corporate affairs head Steve John, who joined the organisation last year after previously heading comms at Pepsico UK. During his time at Pepsico, John retained Freud as one of the company’s key PR partners.
While Cooklin described the business as a “consumer PR account”, it is understood that corporate capabilities played an important role in the pitch, and in the eventual agency selection.
Discussing the pitch earlier this year, John said that three tiers will form the core of the healthcare giant’s comms strategy. The first is brand communications, followed by communicating ‘reasons to believe’, and product and service communication.
Since joining Bupa, John has overhauled the 63-year-old company’s communications approach. Last year, he tasked Penn Schoen & Berland with a project to research stakeholder attitudes towards Bupa, before tasking Frank PR and Brando with specific project work.
John is hoping to utilise Bupa’s 60-year heritage and its relatively unique corporate status as points of differentiation, while building brand leadership across healthcare areas such as ageing, wellbeing and chronic disease management.