Stratham, NH: Timberland has signed Porter Novelli as its agency of record, replacing Cone Communications.
The selection came after a two-month search that began with 10 firms, and was narrowed down to Cone, Porter Novelli, Edelman, and Ketchum.
Porter Novelli won the assignment because of its "very active social-justice practice," said Frank Bifulco, Timberland's chief marketing officer.
Porter Novelli staffers have already volunteered for community-service projects on Earth Day alongside Timberland workers earlier this year.
Timberland wants to be known as a company with a high sense of social justice, Bifulco explained. "We believe commerce and justice are inextricably linked," he said. "We have
an aspiration to be a global-values brand."
Porter Novelli expects to involve staffers from its consumer products, corporate communications, and social responsibility practices on the account, said Julie Winskie, senior partner and head of consumer marketing. "It's probably one of our most interlinked accounts," she added. Porter Novelli CEO of the Americas Gary Stockman also may become involved in the account as needed, she and Bifulco agreed.
Bifulco wouldn't comment on PR spending other than to put the budget at under seven figures a year.
The assignment is for US work, but Timberland will instruct its local operations around the globe to consider Porter Novelli when looking for local PR project help.
Timberland takes an integrated approach to marketing. "We don't view PR as a one-
off unto itself," Bifulco said.
"We utilize a marketing model that takes a look at all that we do holistically."
Besides positioning Timberland as a company with high social values, Porter Novelli will also work on cultivating a hip image for Timberland among young consumers. "We're very excited about how urban consumers have embraced our brand," Bifulco said.