IBM begins external global comms review

IBM is reviewing its entire global external communications needs in

a bid to consolidate its retained PR network from 50 firms to just a

handful - a move which could see more than 12 UK and European agencies

knocked off its roster.



The computer giant is carrying out a complete roster overhaul,

repitching every piece of PR business currently outsourced across the

world.



In the UK, a raft of consultancies will be affected by the decision,

including Brodeur Worldwide, TSI Communications and AxiCom.



It is believed a total of nearly pounds 30m fees could be up for grabs

in the mammoth repitch.



IBM vice-president of corporate PR Edward Barbini confirmed Requests for

Proposals (RFPs) had already been sent out to 'selected' agencies.



Industry sources have speculated that close to 100 firms have been

contacted.



'We have invited people to bid for the large contracts and it's up to

them how they want to approach it,' said Barbini, hinting at possible

partnerships between agencies.



IBM has restructured its PR into three divisions, to align it with the

company's core business areas: research and technology, product and

customer contact.



Agencies will pitch to represent one or more of these divisions. IBM

will also reshuffle its in-house PR teams into the three areas. 'We are

looking at a PR model we think is fairly innovative and sophisticated,'

said Barbini.



Among other consultancies, IBM currently uses Brodeur for work in its

software group, global services consulting arm and its personal systems

group.



Manning Selvage & Lee works on software business and TSI works on

divisions including technology, products, sales and distribution.



Brodeur and TSI have both received RFPs and plan to bid for one or more

of the divisions.



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