Research In Motion currently works with Edelman for its social media and Razorfish is its digital marketing agency. PRWeek has learned that RIM has held initial meetings with a number of agencies, with a view to holding a full pitch.
The news of BlackBerry's search for a new digital agency comes in the week it launched the latest version of BlackBerry Messenger. Tech PROs have questioned whether the new launch will be enough to fend off fierce competition from Apple and Google.
Lucre Social senior account director Chris Norton said: 'The recent launch of BBM 6 shows that RIM is moving towards the development of more sophisticated social apps. This will help differentiate its smartphones and keep up with Apple.'
But Norton added: 'The Google Android market is pretty worried about the new iPhone, with some predicting a drop-off in sales of up to 40 per cent. The news is even worse for BlackBerry, with 67 per cent of its users saying they're moving to the iPhone with their next purchase.'
EML Wildfire director Debby Penton said an extra PR push was needed: 'BlackBerry has lost its way over recent years, and its stranglehold on the business market has eroded. Apple and Android are growing very quickly and have evangelical supporters. BlackBerry needs to focus on building a community of loyal brand ambassadors to help raise the perception of its brand against the competition.'
RIM did not deny it was looking for an agency. BlackBerry will still work with Good Relations, part of the Bell Pottinger group, on its consumer tech and b2b comms across UK and Europe. Frank PR still handles RIM's consumer PR in the UK.
Sales of BlackBerry phones are struggling to compete with the iPhone. RIM shipped around 13.2 million devices in the UK between April and June 2011, compared with the 20.4 million iPhones Apple sold in the same period.