The Norwegian company plans to send an RFP to interested agencies that have consumer technology and lifestyle experience. Agencies can request the RFP document, which they'll need to submit by April 15, according to the document. Presentations are slated for May.
Annual budget has not yet been decided, but it will likely be in the six-figure range and is flexible based on the review, said Falguni Bhuta, Opera's senior communications manager for the Americas.
The company is looking for an agency to help it raise awareness of its desktop browser, which Bhuta said only has about 2% market share in the US, as well as its mobile products, which have a much more significant global share and are “growing exponentially.” Mobile browsers include Opera Mini, which she said has more than 90 million active monthly users, and Opera Mobile, a more advanced browser.
“Browsers are such a personal technology and we want consumers to feel the cool factor of Opera and what it does,” she said. “There's been such a spread of technology launches and new products coming out. A few years ago things were very different. Now consumer technology is so easy and people realize there are more choices out there.”
Scope of work is “not limited to any particular area,” she said, but the agency will handle traditional media relations in the lifestyle, technology, and business sectors, social media, marketing and events, and message development. Additionally, the firm must have a strong background in mobile.
The goal will be to communicate that Opera is an alternative to browsers like Internet Explorer via word-of-mouth marketing campaigns and “out-of-the-box thinking.”
A few years ago, the company worked with Blanc & Otus in the US, but it decided to bring its communications function in-house to replicate what was a successful structure in other international regions, explained Bhuta.
“Internally we did as well as we could and we have definitely experienced progress, but we feel the need for an extra helping hand and more resources to spread our message in the US,” she said. “It's such a large market.”
The company is reaching out to a few agencies based on reputation and employees' current or past relationships with the firms. They include Burson-Marsteller, Racepoint, Outcast, and Atomic PR, among others. But Bhuta said, “We want to make sure we don't leave anyone out.”