Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More In-House Communications?

Jennifer Walzer, founder and CEO of Backup My Info!, wrote a great account in today's New York Times' 'You're the Boss' blog of how her business is able to garner and generate its own PR without the aid of an agency. 

Walzer lists tips and resources in the post for how other companies looking to generate press for themselves can go about the process.

What is interesting to me and what I applaud is Walzer and her company have devoted the resources internally to cultivate and execute their own media relations strategy. Many companies and organizations (especially small ones) often don't have the personnel that can take the time to network and develop these relationships. As a result, media relations is often the first and most requested service offered by PR/communications agencies.

Walzer's post is particularly striking to me because there appears to be a resurgence of in-house communication departments in wake of the recent recession. Over the last year, I have spoken to several senior agency PR executives who have lamented and/or celebrated the fact that clients have hired away mid-level or even experienced junior account executives to head up media relations or communications in-house. What's even more interesting to me is that half of the senior level agency executives I spoke with said this has not had the huge impact on their business and revenue as they thought. No longer doing day-to-day media relations in some cases allowed agencies to focus on helping their clients develop and execute more long-term strategies to help grow their business. In other cases, however, clients reduced or completely cut their agency budgets to bring communication operations in-house.

When I first started this blog, I noticed a trend towards companies restaffing or bringing media relations and even entire communications divisions back under the corporate umbrella (usually under marketing. I viewed it as a resurgence in corporate communications). While I don't think this trend is widespread nor do I believe that all or even a majority of businesses and organizations will bring all executable communication initiatives in-house, it is interesting to see that more companies are doing more for themselves in regards to their communication plans. All communication strategies come down to experienced and available resources that can be devoted to developing, executing, and measuring the agreed upon communication tactics, resources and time to be devoted to a particular campaign. I believe the majority of companies will continue to rely upon agencies to serve as strategic advisers as well as tactical executors to help them achieve their business goals.

1 comment:

Tony Mackey said...

This is an interesting topic that deserves more attention.

My take is that social networking is such a time consuming undertaking that some companies may use this as a reason to bring more communications folks in-house. PR agencies beware.