Brother brings on WE Communications for printer PR

Incumbent MSLGroup worked with Brother for eight years.

NEW YORK: Brother International has hired WE Communications to manage PR for its document imaging products, including its printers, in the U.S.

WE is handling all b-to-c and b-to-b work for Brother’s line of home office and small office printers, scanners, and supplies. Its work includes strategic planning, thought leadership, influencer and analyst relations, creative ideas, measurement, and a revamp of Brother’s newsroom.

In its b-to-c work, WE is focusing on the growing trend of stay-at-home workers. "The huge focus for us is on building our brand awareness," said Ally Norton, Brother’s manager of influencer marketing. "We want to make sure the market on the consumer and the business side knows about our products."

The agency is supporting a series of product launches, including Brother Refresh, a direct-from-the-manufacturer predictive auto-fulfillment service that "eliminates the worry about running out of ink or toner," the company said in a statement. WE supported the Brother Refresh launch with influencer and media relations work.

Brother is looking to transform and evolve its business, said Alyssa Garnick, MD of WE’s New York office.

"This is something Brother has already started to do beautifully, and we need to help their comms convey and show that," Garnick said.

Norton’s role is new at Brother. The company also recently hired a business-to-consumer marketing and comms manager, with plans to bring on a b-to-b marketing and comms manager next.

"Brother is hiring for new roles so we can support from a marcomms standpoint everything we are trying to achieve on both sides of our printer and document management business," said Norton. "WE is playing a significant role in helping me support the business strategy from a communications and media relations standpoint."

WE started working with Brother’s document imaging products, a part of its business machines group, last month. WE VP Marisa Lalli is leading work on the account. Budget information was not disclosed.

Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Brother released the RFP in March, and the pitch process ran through the summer after starting with about 10 agencies submitting capabilities and a proposal; five firms were invited to a live pitch and two finalists presented to executives at Brother. One of the firms that pitched was the incumbent, MSLGroup.

Brother worked with MSL for eight years and had a "great relationship" with the firm, said Norton. She explained that this was a "natural time" for Brother to part ways with the Publicis Groupe firm.

"When I joined Brother in February, one of the first things I did was level-set everything we had going on," she said. "As I was onboarding and learning all about our product solutions and services, I also learned about the historical knowledge about what we had been doing on the PR side. I pitched out the work to see what else was out there."

Representatives from MSL were not immediately available for comment.

M Booth also works with Brother’s business machines group on its P-touch label maker products. Brother, which was established in 1954, started working with M Booth last year, said Norton.

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