Talk PR will focus on consumer and brand, while Hotwire is charged with business, technology and product PR.
The agencies will work alongside the six-strong internal comms team to implement O2’s new focus on building trust.
O2 director of comms Glenn Manoff said: ‘We are lucky because we no longer have to concentrate on raising brand awareness. People know who we are, and now we are looking to create deep and meaningful relationships with our staff and customers. We want people to love us.’
O2 will be placing increasing importance on PR to create this relationship. ‘PR and CSR are now integral parts of a business at board level, while other mediums such as traditional advertising and marketing are no longer as powerful,’ said Manoff.
O2 continues to use Maitland for financial PR but parted ways with Cohn &Wolfe, which handled consumer and tech, in May. It drew up a ‘very long list’ of agencies to a long list and had ‘chemistry meetings’ with each of these agencies, according to Manoff. A final shortlist of five was drawn up for each of the ongoing retainer accounts.
Hotwire and Talk will report to head of PR Nicola Green. Consumer agency Mission will also be used on a project basis for music and events such as the ‘O2 Undiscovered’ programme, which searches for new music talent.
O2 is currently attempting to capitalise on its sponsorship of the England rugby team, currently enjoying success in the Rugby World Cup, by holding free viewings of games for O2 customers.