Procter & Gamble names Hill+Knowlton Strategies first global corp comms AOR

U.S.-based staff will handle the bulk of account work.

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble has brought on Hill+Knowlton Strategies as its first global AOR for corporate communications.

P&G started a competitive RFP process two months ago, and three firms, all of which currently work with P&G, pitched for the account. It picked H+K two weeks ago; account work is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2017.

"We engaged big name, international agencies to understand their capabilities and how they would address some of the challenges we are facing," said Damon Jones, P&G’s director of external communications.

The agency will focus on P&G’s global corporate comms strategy globally and in the U.S. Its responsibilities include message and content development, internal comms, issue prevention, crisis management, and corporate media relations.

Though the assignment is global, it will be handled mostly by U.S.-based staff. P&G’s global communications team is headquartered in Cincinnati.

Budget information was not disclosed.

Earlier this year, P&G consolidated its PR work with five agencies: Citizen Relations, DeVries Global, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, MMK+, and MSLGroup.

The firms are tasked with providing global PR support to P&G brands at a category level in global business units including baby, feminine, family, fabric, home, skin, hair, grooming, oral, and personal healthcare.

H+K will continue to work with P&G on that part of the business, as well, said Jones.

"H+K is an important global partner, and we’re delighted to have them on board in this enterprise-wide capacity in addition to their category and brand portfolio," Jones said.

H+K supports P&G’s Shave Care business and has corporate assignments in nearly a dozen markets across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Alison Eyles-Owen, H+K’s global EVP of marketing and communications, oversees the P&G relationship globally. Beth Balsam, H+K’s U.S. CEO, will be leading this assignment in the U.S.

"P&G has been a long-time client of ours, and we couldn’t be more proud of that relationship," said Balsam. "They have a tremendous reputation for marketing excellence, which includes a deep and sophisticated appreciation for the role of comms. They treat agencies as partners and not vendors, which makes them an ideal client."

P&G has historically worked with a network of agencies on different projects, but never had a single integrated corporate counsel, he added.

"As we look at our challenges and objectives, we wanted a partner who could bring a holistic approach," Jones explained. 

Asked to elaborate on P&G’s challenges, Jones’ said. "There is not a specific challenge I would identify. P&G is undergoing a significant transformation. We view a stronger reputation as a key element of that transformation."

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