LONDON—The UK’s Post Office is seeking PR support as it seeks to secure its future after the privatization of Royal Mail, its biggest customer.
Post Office Limited, which was split from the Royal Mail group last year, has released a wide-ranging tender that calls for PR support across corporate, consumer, financial services and retail.
The brief calls for PR firms "to support the communications department in promoting products which increase revenue, and enhance the corporate reputation to grow the business."
The tender covers three separate assignments. One focuses on corporate reputation and crisis while other two are more consumer-oriented, covering the Post Office's financial services and retail businesses.
Post Office PR work was previously handled via the Royal Mail roster, which has included M&C Saatchi PR, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Fishburn Hedges, Blue Rubicon, Lansons and Eulogy. That arrangement has persisted even after the Post Office was spun-off from the Royal Mail last year, but will expire early next year.
The tender envisages one agency for each lot. While the tender specifies a range of £100k to £1m for each assignment, it is understood that fees will trend towards the lower end of this scale, running across a four-year term.
Six to nine agencies will be invited to participate in the pitch, for which a reverse auction has not been ruled out.
The controversial privatization of Royal Mail last month triggered considerable opposition from postal workers. The Post Office has a 10-year agreement to act as the 'front office' for Royal Mail, worth millions of pounds a year.
However, the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters believes the sell-off will jeopardise the country's postal network. Both Royal Mail and Post Office reject the charge, noting that they are committed to sustaining the branch network.
The UK government, meanwhile, is investing £1.3bn in the Post Office by 2015, in a bid to modernise the network.
Th Post Office has more than 11,500 branches throughout the UK and over 170 products and services, turning over £1bn a year and attracting more than 18m people a week.
Recent years have seen the organization ramp up its consumer focus. It is launching a current account, joining a financial services offering that already includes foreign exchange, credit cards and insurance. The Post Office also sells broadband and phone products.
"It has a long-term strategy to turn into a major financial services player," noted one industry source.
“It is an exciting time for the Post Office as we transform our branches and develop the multi-channel strategy that will help secure the future of our business," said Post Office head of PR Nina Arnott.
“We would like to hear from ambitious and creative PR agencies which can help us navigate the challenges and exploit the opportunities ahead of the Post Office. Our ideal agencies will have lots of recent big brand experience within our markets but will also understand the unique social role the Post Office plays in the heart of our communities."