Arun Sudhaman 05 Feb 2014 // 8:13AM GMT
LONDON—UK satellite communications company Inmarsat has redrawn its communications strategy as it begins the rollout of Britain's single biggest commercial space project.
The company has brought in Brunswick as lead PR firm after parting ways with five-year incumbent Bell Pottinger. The latter agency previously handled corporate and public affairs, before the political work was moved to a trio of firms last year.
Brunswick takes charge of the corporate remit, estimated to be worth a low six-figure sum. The firm was appointed following a competitive review in December that also featured Bell Pottinger, Instinctif Partners and APCO.
The shift to Brunswick comes as Inmarsat kicks off its £1bn Global Xpress system, which will see three new satellites launch by the end of this year, deliver mobile broadband speeds of up to 50mbps across the planet
Inmarsat SVP of external affairs and marketing communications Chris McLaughlin told the Holmes Report that Brunswick secured the assignment because of an "outstanding grasp" of the company's strategy.
"The brief was to look at a very strategic level of planning over the coming three years as we look at the launch of our global express satellites and as we engage with governments around the world," said McLaughlin.
The first of Inmarsat's Global Xpress satellites has already launched, with the remaining two scheduled to take off this year as well. That, said McLaughlin, "triggers a very new Inmarsat alongside the existing business, which needs to be communicated in 2015 and 2016."
Inmarsat's global roster of PR firms remains largely unchanged. The company continues to work with Rice Communications in Asia, JeffreyGroup in Latin America and GK Communications in the US.
In its UK home market, government affairs remain handled by Terrapin, the firm led by former Bell Pottinger public affairs head Peter Bingle. FIPRA oversees EU engagement in Brussels, while Asda'a Burson-Marsteller is retained in Dubai.
However, McLaughlin confirmed that the company had stopped working with Grayling, which previously supported public affairs, focusing on the aerospace and defence industries.
Inmarsat has become the dominant force in the mobile satellite services market, catering primarily to the shipping sector but also to oil and gas installations, aviation companies, armed forces, aid agencies and NGOs in disaster areas, and TV news crews reporting from trouble zones.
The company's existing business includes sales to consumers, governments and the military. In 2012, Inmarsat reported a drop in revenues and pre-tax profits because of the demise of a satellite joint venture with LightSquared. Excluding this deal, underlying revenues rose six percent to $1.3bn.