BlackBerry consolidates account with APCO, Text 100

WATERLOO, ONTARIO: BlackBerry has consolidated most of its global PR work, estimated at $10 million, with a team from APCO Worldwide and Text 100.

WATERLOO, ONTARIO: BlackBerry has consolidated most of its global PR work with a team from APCO Worldwide and Text 100.

The win for APCO and Text 100, which pitched as a team, followed a multiple-round review. The account has been estimated to be worth $10 million.

“BlackBerry made the decision to embark on an initiative to evaluate our public relations agency partner support model around the world. Our goals were to ensure we are partnering with the most creative and proactive public relations agency partners and to consolidate the number of agency partners globally,” said Heidi Davidson, SVP at BlackBerry, in an emailed statement. 

Davidson added that the company was “impressed by the combined offering and believe that it provides us with the best corporate and technology PR combination.” The firms will also work on corporate communications and industry analyst relations.

BlackBerry previously worked with more than 20 agencies. However, with this decision, APCO and Text 100 will handle 75%-80% of the company's global PR work, while the remaining 20%-25% will be divvied up among other firms. BlackBerry predecessor Research in Motion had worked with Brodeur for about 16 years in North America.

APCO founder and CEO Margery Kraus said in an emailed statement that “this is an extremely exciting time for BlackBerry and we are thrilled and honored that APCO and Text 100 were selected in partnership as BlackBerry's global agency of record.”

“Over the past few months, we have met BlackBerry's representatives from around the globe and have been inspired by their vision and passion for the company and the opportunities ahead. Our team is already rolling up our sleeves to help them achieve their goals,” she added. 

In January, the company unveiled the BlackBerry 10 operating system and rebranded from Research in Motion. Its Z10 smartphone went on sale in the US in March, backed by the company's biggest-ever marketing push. BlackBerry will release the Q10, a smartphone equipped with a built-in keyboard, later this spring in the US.

Many analysts consider BlackBerry 10's success critical to the company's turnaround. While BlackBerry was once the dominant smartphone vendor in the US, it held less than 5% of market share last year, according to market research firm IDC.

Text 100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes added in an emailed statement that “BlackBerry has so many exciting opportunities ahead of them.”

“By selecting APCO and Text 100 as their global agency of record, we are thrilled that BlackBerry has expressed its vote of confidence in the combined strengths of our teams to help them achieve their vision,” she added. 

BlackBerry sold 1 million Z10 phones in the fourth quarter ending March 2. The company reported a slim quarterly profit of $98 million and posted revenue of $2.7 billion, beating analyst estimates. However, it lost 3 million subscribers during the quarter, down to 76 million. Meanwhile, co-founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said he will step down from BlackBerry's board on May 1 but does not plan to divest his nearly 6% stake in the company.

Brodeur Partners CEO Andy Coville said her firm had the choice of either focusing on the global review or concentrating on BlackBerry's relaunch, and it chose the latter.

“We responsibly felt we had to focus on the launch of what is starting to become one of the greatest comeback stories in technology history,” she said.

Coville noted that working on the launch of the first BlackBerry devices, an event that was driven by PR, was a key highlight of her firm's collaboration with the mobile device maker.   

Text 100 previously handled Nokia's global PR account, along with sister agencies Bite and 463 Communications, since 2011. The Next Fifteen firms are not participating in Nokia's current PR agency review.

This story was updated on April 29 with quotes from the CEOs of APCO Worldwide, Text 100, and Brodeur Partners. 

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