ESPOO, FINLAND--Nokia has shifted global PR duties to Cohn & Wolfe in a bid to restore the company's appeal as a consumer and lifestyle brand.
Cohn & Wolfe nets the multimillion dollar assignment after the Finnish handset giant called a review earlier this year, as revealed by the Holmes Report.
The pitch came less than two years after Next 15 firms Bite and Text 100 were hired to oversee Nokia's public relations in North America and the UK, and support the company’s global HQ communications in Finland.
Nokia SVP of global communications Susan Sheehan told the Holmes Report that Cohn & Wolfe's consumer and lifestyle expertise proved pivotal to her decision, as the company attempts to mount a fightback for smartphone users.
Once the world's dominant mobile phone brand, Nokia has been overtaken in recent years by smartphones produced by companies like Apple and Samsung, but is hoping that its Lumia range, produced in partnership with Microsoft, will help restore a reputation that was synonymous with innovation.
"Nokia is a company that has been through quite a bit of change in our business and business strategy," said Sheehan. "We have some great products to bring to market and we were looking for a firm with expertise in consumer and marketing communications."
Cohn & Wolfe already supports Nokia's marketing team in the US, following a pitch last year.
The new assignment, said Sheehan, will begin with Nokia's global PR activities along with select local markets, including the US, UK, Sweden and Finland, before expanding to include other countries.
In the UK, the business will be led by Cohn & Wolfe sister agency Axicom.
"This was a cross-practice win involving our technology, digital , branding and insights and lifestyle marketing teams who look forward to partnering with Nokia on achieving their business goals,” said Cohn & Wolfe CEO Donna Imperato.
Aside from Next 15, other Nokia PR agencies include Ogilvy PR and Fleishman-Hillard in Asia, and numerous local-market relationships in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Sheehan noted that Next 15 had been a "very good partner" to Nokia.
While the Lumia rollout has gathered pace, the Wall Street Journal reports that Nokia's basic mobile phone business in emerging markets is "beginning to wilt". The company has restrucured significantly in recent years under CEO Stephen Elop.
Separately, the Holmes Report last week revealed that Lee Brooke, Nokia's global communications head for its smartphone unit, is leaving the company to join PayPal.