PALO ALTO, CA: Hewlett-Packard has hired Bite Communications for corporate reputation, innovation, and sustainability work, as part of the company's new strategy of enlisting a network of agencies rather than a single corporate AOR.
In June, HP issued an RFP for its corporate work, which had been handled by Hill & Knowlton, its US corporate AOR for seven years. For its corporate business, HP also works with Public Strategies Inc on corporate public affairs and the Abernathy MacGregor Group on financial communications.
“[HP] will now be utilizing a network of best-in-class agencies whose skill sets more closely align with the evolving corporate communications needs of our business,” Christina Schneider, director of corporate media relations at HP, told PRWeek in a statement. HP declined to discuss the budget for the business.
H&K will continue to work with HP on its executive and internal communications, regional corporate work, as well analyst relations with HP's software group. None of these pieces of the business were a part of the recent corporate RFP, but H&K was among the agencies that pitched for the account.
In May, HP moved its corporate public affairs business from H&K to Public Strategies and its financial communications business to Abernathy MacGregor. Along with Bite, these three agencies will make up HP's roster of corporate agencies. HP also works with Weber Shandwick for some corporate digital work, said a source familiar with HP.
Until recently, Bite had a long relationship with Sun Microsystems, an HP rival. But earlier this year, Oracle announced plans to acquire Sun, and Tony Hynes, SVP at Bite, said the agency is in now in the “final stages” of ending its relationship with Sun as Oracle takes over.
Hynes, who will lead the HP business, declined to say how much winning the HP business would mitigate the loss of Sun.
“I can't talk about the financial terms, but we couldn't ask for better timing,” Hynes said. He added that Bite will implement a bicoastal team to work on the account, which will focus primarily on building HP's corporate reputation, promoting its research and innovation, and highlighting its sustainability efforts.
The capacity in which Bite will work with Abernathy MacGregor and Public Strategies has yet to be determined, he added.
Jennifer Temple, SVP and GM at H&K in San Francisco, told PRWeek, “What doesn't change for us in all of this is that we've truly partnered [with HP] on some of the most exciting communications efforts possible, and we remain proud of that work.”
Bite begins its work with HP on October 1.
A number of other agencies that HP also works with were not affected by the RFP. These include Burson-Marsteller for its technology solutions group communications; Edelman in its personal systems group; and Porter Novelli for its laser and printing business in the US.