POWAY, CA: Gateway, which typically handles its PR in-house, has tapped Ketchum and Schwartz Communications to handle its consumer and b-to-b PR, respectively.
"We've used boutique shops on and off on a project basis," said Brad Shaw, SVP of corporate communications. "I think (selecting Schwartz) reflects our commitment to the business space. We want to tell our business story more aggressively. And without getting into details (on consumer PR), we're looking for creative ways to reach out to influencers across our base."
Gateway also hired Bob Sherbin as director of corporate communications, and Ted Ladd as senior manager of b-to-b communications. Both will report directly to Shaw.
"We're helping them with their overall positioning, and targeting the consumer market," said Paul Rand, Ketchum's global technology practice director. "If you look at what is going on with the convergence of home electronics and digital devices, no one is helping consumers tie all these devices together."
As for b-to-b work, Schwartz will attempt to promote Gateway to small- and medium-size businesses, as well as the educational and government markets.
"What's exciting is that Gateway has made major inroads in those markets," said Gary Thompson, EVP and GM of Schwartz's San Francisco office. "They just haven't been promoted as much as they could."
Last week, Gateway announced that it was laying off 1,900 employees and closing 76 stores in an effort to return to profitability this year.