LONDON — OnePlus, one of the world’s largest android smartphone manufacturers, has named Harvard as its UK PR agency after a competitive pitch.

The agency has already started work on the account, believed to be worth just shy of six figures, and has been tasked with broadening awareness of the brand beyond its existing sweet spot of the tech community. The Chinese manufacturer, started by CEO Pete Lau five years ago, is currently teasing the launch of its OnePlus 6 smartphone.

Working with OnePlus UK PR manager Laura Watts, Harvard will focus on a mix of influencer relations, reviews and creative activations.

Watts told the Holmes Report that OnePlus had chosen Harvard because “we felt like they understood the brand and we had a really trusted partnership from the get-go.”

She added that the agency’s brief was to support the company’s business goals for the year ahead: “We experienced great growth in 2017 and we see 2018 as a defining year for us. We now have a seat at the table in our industry and we want to appeal to a wider, more mainstream audience. Harvard’s brief is to help us really nail down our media relationships, and make sure we have a wider pool of key media who understand us as a brand, as well as large-scale activations and smaller activations throughout the year to keep us front of mind.”

OnePlus has previously worked with London PR and digital marketing agency OneChocolate. The challenger smartphone company is also involved in a review of its European creative agencies.

Harvard recently won the Vodafone Group Enterprise EMEA hub account, and its consumer practice has also just added London car-sharing start-up HiyaCar to its portfolio.

Group CEO Louie St Claire said: “We’re incredibly excited to be working with OnePlus and HiyaCar. Both are examples of disruptive technology companies who are shaking up their respective industries. We’re looking forward to delivering some creative executions for both and helping them achieve their goals.”