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
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
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.