CAMPAIGNS: A symbiotic relationship - Corporate PR

Psion is famous for its personal organisers, but industry experts had been questioning its ability to compete in the mobile computing market against the might of Microsoft. However, Psion had a trump card in the form of its EPOC operating system for wireless information devices, such as the new breed of smartphones.

Psion is famous for its personal organisers, but industry experts

had been questioning its ability to compete in the mobile computing

market against the might of Microsoft. However, Psion had a trump card

in the form of its EPOC operating system for wireless information

devices, such as the new breed of smartphones.



After months of negotiations, it announced the formation of a new

limited company, Symbian, in partnership with the three biggest mobile

phone manufacturers, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia.



Objectives



To announce the creation of Symbian to customers, suppliers,

shareholders and employees.



Tactics



Brunswick was involved in draft meetings with banks and marketing people

a couple of months in advance of the 25 June launch. It helped prepare

all documentation for marketing the deal to the City.



The Symbian announcement was originally planned for 7am on 25 June, but

there was a last minute hitch - Motorola had still not decided whether

it wanted to be a founding partner.



Two versions of the launch press release were produced by Brunswick, one

including Motorola and one without. A room had been booked for the press

conference at noon in the Barbican and PR teams from Psion, Brunswick,

and Nautilus assembled to begin inviting the media once the deal had

been announced to the Stock Exchange.



As negotiations with Motorola continued, it looked as though the press

conference might have to be cancelled. Then, at 10.30am, the call came

saying that Motorola had come in and it was all systems go.



Armed with contact names and mobile phone numbers, the PR team

frantically began inviting the media, with Brunswick concentrating on

the financial and business press, and Nautilus on the consumer and

trade. ’We had to use all our charm and persuasion to get people to drop

everything and come to the launch - it was dynamic stuff,’ says Psion’s

head of PR, Anthony Garvey.



As soon as the deal was announced, staff at Psion Software were e-mailed

to explain what the new company would mean to them. As there would be no

significant changes to their work, just a name change, it was decided

that face-to-face briefings were unnecessary.



Results



Despite the extremely short notice, the press conference was very well

attended, by five television crews, around 15 photographers and more

than 40 journalists.



Coverage was widespread, emphasising the significance of the creation of

Symbian. The Observer described it as ’a breathtaking deal’, and said

Psion had ’outflanked Microsoft’. Most of the other nationals expressed

similar sentiments. Broadcast coverage included Sky News, CNN, CNBC,

Radio 5 and radio station News Direct. Not surprisingly, business and

trade press coverage has been extensive.



Psion’s share price leapt at the news of the deal, doubling in two

days.



Cuttings are still coming in from around the world. Garvey expects to

spend about 10 per cent of the budget on evaluation.



Verdict



Psion’s PR operation managed to keep things sufficiently hush-hush to

cause a real impact when the creation of Symbian was announced.



On the launch day, the PR team managed to stay calm and avoid panic, and

using the contacts it had cultivated, pulled off an excellent attendance

at the press conference leading to exceptional coverage.



Client: Psion

PR Team: In-house, Nautilus Communications, Brunswick

Campaign: Launch of Symbian

Timescale: April to June 1998

Budget: Undisclosed



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.