VENICE--Electrolux has brought in PR support to help it step up global expansion of its B2B business.

The Swedish appliance giant has hired Weber Shandwick to handle a newly-created international assignment, following a pitch that also featured Edelman and MSLGroup.

Headquartered in Venice, Electrolux Professional covers the company's food service and laundry services. While the division only accounts for six percent of the overall company, it is viewed as an important driver of innovation within the group, to the extent that the pitch included senior group management in addition to marketing and communications leaders.

Targeting restaurants, hospitals and hotels, the B2B unit is also seen as ripe for expansion into such markets as China, Southeast Asia, Brazil and the US.

The decision to draft in PR counsel follows the arrival of Suzanne Tellstrom as communications VP for Electrolux Professional one year ago. "I could see there was an opportunity to look at PR in a slightly different way," Tellstrom told the Holmes Report. "We just haven't utilised PR at all. There's lots of opportunity to unlock B2B growth."

In particular, Tellstrom wants to build stronger awareness of Electrolux's B2B offering to top chefs, hospitals and hotels. "We’ve not really communicated our leadership role externally in the industry," she said. "Whether it's a Michelin-starred chef or a hospital caretaker."

The six-figure brief, which Tellstrom described as "challenging and quite complex", will be led by Weber Shandwick's London office. The firm is charged with developing an overarching strategic framework that can then be deployed across markets.

"It's strategic advice on how we take the story and unfold it in different markets, unlocking markets and new customers," explained Tellstrom.

Weber Shandwick already counts Electrolux as a global client, and worked on the launch of the Professional division's Grand Cuisine super-luxury range last year