Edelman wins Brocade business

SAN JOSE, CA: Brocade hired Edelman as its AOR to bolster the company's communications social media strategy.

SAN JOSE, CA: Brocade hired Edelman as its AOR to bolster the company's communications social media strategy.

Brocade senior director of corporate communications John Noh said the agency was picked following an extensive, three-phase RFP pitch process that included nine boutique and large agencies. Noh declined to say the size of the job, but sources familiar with the RFP say it's at least a $600,000 annual account. Noh neither confirmed nor denied the amount.

Agencies that pitched for the work include Access Communications, Porter Novelli, and Voce Communications, said Noh. “Going into the process we were looking heavily at boutique firms,” he said. “We kept an independent score card all the way.”

For nearly two years the company has gone without a public relations AOR. Previously, the company worked with Ogilvy PR, but when Noh was hired in 2008 he decided to part ways with the agency and focus on building out the company's internal PR team and social media strategy. Noh said Ogilvy did not pitch for the work. Ogilvy declined to comment.

In July 2008 Brocade, then primarily a storage networking vendor that made products that connect corporate severs, bought Foundry, the ethernet switch and equipment maker for Internet networks, a market dominated by Cisco.  “We became small fish in a very big ocean,” said Noh. 

For the last 14 months Trainer Communications has done some tactical PR work for Brocade, said Noh. Trainer also pitched for the account.

Noh said Brocade was seeking an agency to enhance the company's existing social media strategy, and tap into market influencers through business and financial publications.  Brocade director of corporate communications Elizabeth Walther led the procurement.

Edelman is already working on social media program for an upcoming product launch, Noh said.

Seven people are working the account, co-led by Edelman VP James Boike and SVP Troy McCombs out of the agency's Seattle office. Both Boike and McCombs report to Walther.

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