There’s a battle going on to catch the ear of the workers. The
management theorists have woken up to the benefits of a motivated,
informed workforce, illustrated in the marketing arena by the
recognition that ’off-message’ staff can undermine a brand, especially
in the service sectors.
Traditionally, this has been the territory of specialist internal
communications consultants, such as The Marketing & Communications
Agency and Smythe Dorward Lambert, or brand consultancies such as the
Added Value Company.
But some of the leading PR networks have been taking a greater interest
in internal communications. And they’re tending to come at it from a
rather broader perspective. Corporate reputation is built on the
perceptions of a number of key audiences, including staff, government,
investors, suppliers and customers, and society at large.
Shandwick has invested heavily in this area, working with leading
business schools to develop the theory of reputation management.
At the end of March, it launched a new unit specialising in internal
communications and change management. ’Companies are recognising that
they cannot communicate the changes they are making externally if they
haven’t got their own people on board,’ says deputy chief executive
Hill & Knowlton is also investing in internal communications, and has
brought in some specialist skills. Chairman David McLaren says there are
a number of entry points into the market, with some clients requesting
it as part of the development of their online operations, or as an
element in a wider communications programme.
Some credit is due also to Burson-Marsteller. Although it has not
provided a breakdown of its figures this year, and so isn’t featured in
the table, it was probably the first to establish a change management
and internal communications unit.
Colin Kent, chairman of Key Communications, a top 20 PR agency which
specialises more than most of its rivals on internal communications,
believes the pace is accelerating partly because of the growing number
of mergers and acquisitions taking place, which are often on an
’The new CEO may want to communicate all his ideas, but it is not enough
to stand up and make a speech - you need a planned programme of
communications,’ he says.
’We’re also encouraging clients to take a leaf out of Ford’s book. Its
president is to e-mail 100,000 employees every week to keep them
informed on what’s happening in the market. It’s a wonderful way to get
people to think about their role in the company and how it relates to
the bigger picture.’
INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS - TOP 15
Rank Agency Income 1999 Intermal
1 Countrywide Porter Novelli 19,019,000 1,902,000
2 Shandwick International 25,924,000 1,555,000
3 Grayling Group 8,794,000 1,495,000
4 Key Communications 6,061,000 909,000
5 Hill & Knowlton (UK) 25,707,000 720,000
6 GCI/APCO 12,111,000 606,000
7 Barkers Public Relations 2,209,000 508,000
8 BSMG Worldwide (UK) 9,821,000 393,000
9 Brahm Public Relations 2,108,000 316,000
10 Fishburn Hedges 7,803,000 312,000
11 Weber PR Worldwide 9,887,000 297,000
12= The Shire Hall Group 5,903,000 295,000
12= Beattie Media 5,900,000 295,000
14 Cohn & Wolfe 6,309,000 252,000
15 Richmond Towers 4,310,000 216,000