H&K folds Banner McBride into staff relations group

WASHINGTON, DC: At a time when PR agencies and management consulting firms have intensified their battle for internal communications supremacy, Hill & Knowlton has moved decisively to retain its place atop the heap.

WASHINGTON, DC: At a time when PR agencies and management consulting firms have intensified their battle for internal communications supremacy, Hill & Knowlton has moved decisively to retain its place atop the heap.

WASHINGTON, DC: At a time when PR agencies and management

consulting firms have intensified their battle for internal

communications supremacy, Hill & Knowlton has moved decisively to retain

its place atop the heap.



Last week, H&K folded Banner McBride North America (BMB), a top internal

communications shop, into its employee communications group. The move,

according to executive MD for the US corporate practice Harlan Teller,

should allow the firm to keep pace with management consultants making

inroads into the sector.



’We’re hoping that Banner McBride will open the door for us to senior

human resources professionals, and that we can open the door for them to

chief corporate communications officers,’ he said, noting how

consultancies have parlayed their internal communications business into

accounts with broader communications objectives.



WPP Group, the parent of both H&K and BMB, is said to view internal

communications as a significant growth area, so an arrangement under

which two of its prize holdings could grow its business in the hotly

contested internal communications sector clearly makes sense. H&K and

BMB had recently been doing a lot of cross-selling and pitching,

including a joint effort to help Motorola implement internal

communications programs for its newly acquired General Instrument

arm.



According to Teller, H&K’s employee communications group represents

approximately 20% of the agency’s overall corporate practice in the US.

Additionally, he predicts that this figure will increase as more

companies find it sensible - and necessary - to reach out to their

employees in the current M&A-happy business climate.



Former Towers Perrin global communications practice leader Max Caldwell

founded BMB’s North American operations, and will shift over to lead

H&K’s employee communications group. He will also sit on the firm’s

management committee.



BMB clients include Johnson & Johnson, Motorola and Allstate, while H&K

has over 20 professionals specializing in internal communications and

labor issues in eight US offices.



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