LONDON—Shell has begun a wide-ranging review of key elements of its PR strategy, in a bid to streamline its global agency roster.
The oil giant has asked global PR firms to respond by mid-September to the RFI, which focuses on a multimillion dollar range of global PR services and markets.
According to the company's brand and communication procurement team, which issued the document, Shell is aiming to improve PR quality, eliminate duplication, generate greater communications consistency, and save costs by streamlining the number of agencies it works with.
Shell's global PR roster is led in large part by Burson-Marsteller and Edelman, although the company also works with numerous PR agencies in local markets around the world.
An agency source familiar with the situation told the Holmes Report that the exercise was expected, given that Shell last reviewed its global PR roster three years ago. "I'm not sure anyone is expecting revolution," he said.
Specifically, the RFI refers to a number of key Shell units including corporate communication and global commercial, covering its B2B sales to such industries as aviation and marine. The review is effectively global in nature, covering multiple international markets across EMEA, North America, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
“Shell is currently undertaking a tender process for selected global PR activities," a Shell spokesman told the Holmes Report. "The tender has no implication on any other PR agency work currently being conducted with other parts of Shell’s business, including global retail.”
Research released last year revealed that Shell is the brand most targeted by activist groups. The company has seen a particular rise in activist criticism because its Arctic drilling plans, which are the target of a high-profile Greenpeace campaign.
Earlier this year, Shell announced that chief executive Peter Voser will be succeeded by Ben van Beurden. The Dutch company's global communications head Herbert Heitmann has also departed for Bayer.