BlackBerry maker Research in Motion calls in Hanover to build government links

Troubled BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has brought in fresh public affairs help as it looks to tackle huge changes to the business.

Pressure: BlackBerry maker RIM has been in the spotlight
Pressure: BlackBerry maker RIM has been in the spotlight

The mobile phone company has appointed Hanover to handle a six-figure brief to build its links in Whitehall, Westminster and Brussels after a disastrous year for the brand.

Open Road, which has held the account for three years, declined to repitch.

It is understood that Edelman also pitched for the brief.

The Canadian phone company’s relationship with the UK Government has been in the spotlight since last year’s riots.

BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry’s instant messaging service, was widely used by rioters during the widespread looting and destruction. Last August, representatives from RIM, Facebook and Twitter were invited to the Home Office to discuss ways to prevent their networks being used to organise criminal behaviour.

More recently, shares in RIM have fallen to a nine-year low this week, after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock.

RIM shares have lost 94 per cent of their value since their 2008 peak.

RIM is now considering a range of survival options including the possibility of splitting the company in two and selling off its troubled handset division, according to The Sunday Times.

While Open Road handled a UK-specific brief, it is understood that the new brief will include liaising with Brussels and other European markets.

An insider said: ‘They’re very focused on public sector sales, and if you were to read about the company’s ambitions then the launch of the new 10 smartphone is important.’

BlackBerry 10 is RIM’s forthcoming operating system for its smartphone and tablet handheld devices.
Hanover declined to comment and RIM did not respond at the time of going to press.

RIM’s UK b2b PR business continues to be handled by Good Relations, while Frank PR manages consumer comms.

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