BT slashes agency roster in attempt to save money

BT is conducting a 'root and branch review' of its comms spend and PR agencies in order to get better value for money.

BT: wants ‘better value’
BT: wants ‘better value’

The telecoms giant wants to slash the number of agencies with which it works, both in the UK and internationally.
The review will ­affect all BT’s existing agencies across all ­areas of the business.

BT group director of communications Peter Morgan confirmed the review was under way. He told PRWeek he had detected a ‘lack of method in the way we work with PR agencies’.

He added: ‘We’ve not had a root and branch review of communications like this for five years. We’ve got some agencies doing fantastic work for us, but there are too many and we’re spending too much money. That’s the bottom line. So we’re going to make sure we’re employing the best agencies and we get the best value. We also want to do more PR in-house.’

Morgan denied the review was a direct response to worsening financial conditions, but said: ‘It is linked to making sure we deliver better value to our shareholders.’

The news is a potential blow to some of BT’s main agencies, such as Fishburn Hedges and Kazoo, which work across
both BT Retail and BT Global Services.

BT also uses Octane PR for consumer work and ­Trimedia for CSR. It is thought to use about a dozen agencies in total, all of which will be forced to fight for a place on a new slimmed-down roster.

Morgan, a former BBC journalist, would not be drawn on the number of agencies ­employed by BT. ‘We employ a number of agencies on all sorts of pieces of work,’ he said.

Agency sources said BT’s total PR spend was ‘easily seven figures’. Morgan dec­lined to disclose the comp­any’s total PR spend, but said: ‘We must be among the UK’s larger PR spenders.’

BT comms chiefs

BT Group

Peter Morgan, director of communications
Ross Cook, director of media relations

BT Global Services

Jo Scarlet, comms director

BT Wholesale

Joe Kelly, comms director

BT Retail

Comms director post vacant after recent departure of Zoe Arden

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