It is the first time the army’s recruiting group has looked to hire a designated national PR agency. The task has previously been handled by in-house marketing staff and by its advertising agencies.
The brief, which covers national recruitment for the regular and territorial army, is set to span three years, with the option of a further two.
Recruitment group marketing co-ordinator Major Alison Savage said: ‘This work has all been a bit on the ad hoc side before now. We’ve got so many projects that we felt it was important to get some support on this.’
She said the decision also follows a rethink in the way the group markets and promotes army careers.
‘Instead of marketing the army as a career consisting of thousands of different jobs, we have put them into nine distinct groups, so people can better understand what that individual job is and see how they might fit in.’
The groups cover, among other areas, IT and communications and human resources.
Savage added that campaigning by the successful agency will also include B2B work, targeting, for example, the hotel and catering press to encourage chefs to sign up. ‘The technical trade press is another area the agency will look at’, she added.
Women are another key group that the Army is keen to recruit.
Savage said that even if policy decisions over job cuts are made by the Government the work of recruiting is ongoing. One task by the successful agency could be to handle crisis management in the event of such a policy decision being taken, she added.
The successful agency will report to recruiting group marketing director Mark Bainbridge and work alongside its current regional PR agency Golley Slater Group, along with Focus Consulting, which handles its ethnic minority recruitment.
Ethnic minority recruitment is an area of particular concern to the army. Within the next four years it is hoped that at least one in ten recruits will be from an ethnic minority. The figure currently stands at around one in 20.
Work by Focus includes changing perceptions of the army among ethnic minority communities as well as boosting the number of recruits (PRWeek, 21 March ).