The Allure of In-house- Heads of Comms and Media share their experiences

02 Apr 2015 by Miriam Hanna.

“Working in-house means you can focus on one thing…”

Ask a candidate why they want to move from a PR agency to in-house and you can almost guarantee hearing this phrase. There is a belief that working for one company allows you to get under their skin and do a better job. However, having spoken to a number of people who have made the transition from agency to in-house, it would appear that it isn’t always the case…

Agency model in-house

Claire Hopkins, European Media Relations Manager from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) suggested it is a misnomer to assume working in-house means focusing on one thing or offers less breadth of role. “A management consultancy offers so many different lines of service that a well-functioning in-house team should think of itself almost like an in-house agency where each stakeholder group, or industry group, is the client.” explains Claire. “This client-service mindset across the distinct industry groups, helps the team to remain pro-active, creative and ambitious in delivering the communications programme from the inside.”

Buy-in to PR

In-house throws up a unique set of challenges separate to juggling internal stakeholders and that comes down to the buy-in. Do the firm partners understand the importance of PR? Does the Chief Executive have any marketing and communications represented at a global level? Is there investment in thought leadership and communications? Mark Radvanyi, Head of Analyst and Media Relations from Accenture says, “Things are improving in that area and are helped along if the media team can align themselves to company goals.” With access to senior people within Accenture, Mark’s team act as advisors and so their value is felt within the company.


As Wendy Watherston, the Head of PR at Grant Thornton says, “You have to look at things from a business point of view. Demonstrate how you can add further value to the company by taking on a more integrated approach and show a willingness to collaborate.” This can range from getting the company on Twitter to producing thought leadership in conjunction with one of the departments to working on a campaign with the marketing team. In doing so, the PR and media team become indispensable very quickly.

I would be really interested to hear what you think the appeal of in-house is and why so many candidates have that as their first choice when making a move?

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