Cisco's expanded RFP now in agencies' hands

SAN JOSE, CA: Cisco's exhaustive RFP is now in the hands of a limited number of prequalified PR agencies, with a final agency expected to be on board by December.

SAN JOSE, CA: Cisco's exhaustive RFP is now in the hands of a limited number of prequalified PR agencies, with a final agency expected to be on board by December.

The scope of the RFP has grown considerably since Cisco embarked on the agency search in June for what was originally billed as a US corporate agency of record. But the RFP has grown to include Latin America, technology PR, and News@Cisco, the company's online news site. "I was brought in by [senior director of corporate PR] Claudia [Ceniceros]," said Jerry Swerling, a Los Angeles-based PR management consultant, who is advising Cisco during its search. "I did an exhaustive internal review of the company's needs, and what became clear is that a number of other areas of the company need PR support." Swerling called the scope of work "exhaustive," adding that after agencies responded to a request for credentials, the RFP went out to a limited number of prequalified agencies. "Those are the agencies that demonstrated the ability to handle a diverse package of needs," he said. "It's a pretty diverse and challenging mix. It's not just corporate, and it's not just technology. News@Cisco requires a certain expertise." With responses from agencies due back in early September, Cisco will then narrow the list down to semifinalists, then finalists, and then the final agency that should be on board by December. Cisco has typically worked with a few agencies on projects. The review was initiated to develop a much more consistent, collaborative, and ongoing relationship with an agency, said Swerling.

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