PALO ALTO—Hewlett-Packard is reshaping its PR activity around key geographic markets, ahead of a 'pivotal year' for the ailing technology giant.
The Holmes Report understands that the company is shifting budgets according to CEO Meg Whitman's strategic vision of focusing on priority countries, rather than the 80+ markets in which HP previously deployed its PR spend.
The move will affect each agency on HP's global PR roster: Porter Novelli, which handles the largest unit, product; Burson-Marsteller (enterprise); and Edelman (corporate and digital).
According to sources, the exact implications of the restructuring on HP's PR firms are still to be determined.
HP has reshuffled its global roster to considerable effect in recent years. In particular, last year's revamp saw Porter Novelli benefit, requiring the agency to build capability in numerous countries around the world.
Of the other firms, Edelman's fee levels are thought to have declined since it relenquished product duties to focus on corporate. The firm also handles PR for HP's troubled Autonomy acquisition.
Whitman is two years into a major effort to turnaround HP's flagging fortunes. Recent announcements have been mildly encouraging, with revenues expected to stabilize next year. In an interview with the WSJ, Whitman said that 2014 will be a pivotal year for the company.
"They are changing the way they structure their PR," said one source familiar with the situation. "It's about looking at their model and prioritising."
Sources familiar with the situation told the Holmes Report that budgets may diminish or could be redirected, adding that the company is likely to focus PR spend on between 10 to 20 countries.
"We are always evaluating our programs to ensure that we are driving maximum value for the business," said HP corporate media relations director Michael Thacker.
"There is no change to our agency lineup, although some projects or priorities may change. Overall, our spending levels remain fairly consistent."