Borders in strategy shift after Consolidated hire

Book and music retailer Borders has rethought its PR strategy, bringing in its first consumer agency on a project basis.

The high-street chain is understood to have held discussions last month with various agencies for a £100,000, 12-month retained account.

But it has instead asked Consolidated Communications to run a summer project. ‘The campaign will support 68 stores, including its Books etc outlets,' said Consolidated associate board director Anthony Moore.

The agency will promote the ‘in-store experience' of the chain's shops.

Moore said: ‘We will position Borders as a place to chill out and unwind – focusing on the summer's hot reads, as well as supporting store openings.'

Consolidated's appointment coincides with news of the recent departure of Borders brand manager Jo Birt. Trevor Corfield has been recruited as an interim replacement, supporting promotions marketing manager Meg Seymour.

Corfield would not comment on agency talks prior to his arrival, but said Borders was reviewing its longer-term PR strategy. He said it would soon decide whether to channel budgets towards stunts and creative campaigns, or focus on ‘nuts and bolts' media relations.

He added Consolidated would know in a few weeks whether it will be used for Christmas work. Retendering, or handling the work in-house, are also being considered by Borders.

Birt is believed to have joined a west London-based marketing agency, but Borders was unable to confirm which one. PRWeek was unable to contact Birt.

Borders' policy of selling music and film as well as books has been described as ‘doing for books what Starbucks did for coffee'.

Sluggish sales in the UK – which makes up around 75 per cent of the group's non US sales – have hit the chain's profits of late. Its UK market share is also under threat from HMV Group, owner of Waterstone's and Ottakar's.

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