PALO ALTO, CA — HP Inc has chosen Edelman to handle global corporate and product PR duties worth $14m, following a competitive review that displaces incumbent agencies Porter Novelli and FleishmanHillard.
The review, which took place earlier this month, saw a number of global networks take part. Edelman, which already handles HP's social media duties (worth $8m), is restored to an assignment that it previously worked on, prior to HP's steady consolidation with Omnicom PR firms.
Porter Novelli, in particular, has worked on the business for 28 years, while Fleishman joined the roster in 2012, focusing on global support.
"You never like to have a 28-year client engagement come to an end, but we understand HP’s decision and wish the company much success in the market," said Porter Novelli CEO Brad MacAfee, who did not comment on whether the agency would make any layoffs or restructure its operations after the loss.
"We are confident in our business position," added MacAfee. "We have yet to announce a series of new client wins and our pipeline is healthy."
The review did not include the enterprise business, which is now housed under a separate company, HP Enterprise, after Hewlett-Packard split into two units last year. The pitch follows the arrival of Karen Kahn as HP's global chief communications officer at the end of last year.
The decision reflects HP Inc's desire to integrate its product and corporate communications work with its global digital and social media programs.
“The lines between non-traditional and traditional communications are blurring. To ensure we are on the cutting edge of communications, we are implementing a strategy that unifies and aligns our PR, content and digital/social programming,” said Kahn. “The result is that we are consolidating our agency partners that support these functions. Our goal is powerful, authentic communication that reaches and influences the market whether we are using paid or unpaid programming.”
It is understood that the review asked contenders to address such areas as trends and issues; communications strategy; relevant experiences and new thinking.
Kahn reports to CMO Antonio Lucio, who recently asked the company's five agencies to improve the makeup of their workforces by hiring more women and minorities.
While HP Inc has reported revenue declines in the three quarters since the split, the company is eyeing long-term growth, focusing on such profitable segments as premium gaming systems and high-end laptops.
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