INTERNATIONAL: Dell set to hire agency for US corporate comms job

AUSTIN, TX: Computers giant Dell is to hire a firm for US corporate

communications by the end of next month.



A corporate communications RFP had been rumoured after Dell awarded GCI

Group its £1.4m-plus Americas PR account in September (PRWeek, 14

September).



Through that contract, GCI supports manufacturing and sales for various

product and customer groups in the US, Canada, and Latin America.



Industry speculation suggests Weber Shandwick Worldwide was GCI's

closest competitor for that business. It is not known if either agency

is in the running for this next review.



Shortly before GCI's appointment, Dell awarded a contract to Ogilvy PR

Worldwide to co-ordinate efforts of more than 20 agencies in Europe, the

Middle East and Asia (PRWeek, 10 August 2001).



The new RFP seeks a firm to help with corporate PR strategy and

reputation management, as well as financial media relations primarily in

North America, said Dell Americas comms director Barry French.



Dell sent the RFP to a select few firms in December. French declined to

comment on which firms were contacted, but noted that 'a Texas office

was not a requirement'.



Although French said Dell's PR spending varies, he does not expect the

corporate communications business to be quite as lucrative as GCI's

current contract.



The shake-up in Dell's external PR relationships followed last year's

re-organisation of the company's various business units.



Fleishman-Hillard had served as Dell's agency of record for almost a

decade before last summer's agency review.



California-based Walt & Company Communications continues to provide PR

council to Dell's enterprise group, which makes computer servers and

storage devices.



The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Dell's 'aggressive

pricing' has helped it increase market share and maintain its leadership

status as a PC vendor.



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