Here we are with our second show on the FIR podcast network.

And this week, we’re not talking about Toronto Mayor Ford’s – er…rather unique – approach to communications. That will come soon.

Gini introduces our topic, which she found via the Vocus content suite she’s testing out; a story about how Visa fired its PR agencies and took the work in house.

Is this a trend?
Gini hopes this won’t continue, but thinks there’s a chance it might. So she’s looking for more signs and wonders if other larger corporations will follow suit or not.

Joe references Dell’s experiment with a purpose-built agency that they started and then abandoned. He doesn’t believe the move to in-house is going to be a trend because agencies bring a broad outside approach, ideas and creativity that is a benefit for clients.

Martin agrees and says the external viewpoint offers a fresh perspective you may not have considered and gives the example that often times what seems like big news to a client may not be to the world and it’s an agency’s job to offer solid counsel and say the things you may not want to hear.

Agencies can also provide insights and analytics that help clients understand whether or not a campaign is a success and why.

We also talk about Twitter’s new Custom Timelines, content streams where you can follow a topic or hashtag and embed the feed on your website or blog. It’s something you could do on Hootsuite within the platform, but now on Twitter, it’s a publicly sharable feed.


We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.


  1. Hi All.

    Thanks for this weeks insights.
    PR Agencies being better equipped to provide a “broad range of perspective” and “extended statistical resources”, sound like a valid rationale for not relying completely on their internal PR resources.

    It will be interesting to see if the role of PR Agencies evolve to offer more significant mentor or teaching roles.

    I wondered what Home Depot did to manage that crises, thanks for filling me in. I’m still wondering how Lulu Lemon is coping with their “leadership gaffes”.

    The Vocus suite looks interesting, I hope its worth the $$

    I’m enjoying using the Hootsuite timelines. I hope Hootsuite can supply similar time line embedded functionality as well.

    And of course congrats on joining the FIR Podcast network!


  2. Martin Author

    Thanks for your thoughts, Darryl. It’s interesting to watch how organizations navigate through the various social media issues and pitfalls they find themselves in.

  3. Marissa

    This was really interesting to me. I feel like freelancing and doing your own work can lead to a successful career, and bring success to a company; however, I don’t think it was a wise decision to get rid of the agencies. Agencies are designed to bring innovative ideas to all types of companies, big and small. I don’t feel like freelancing is a good tool for a big company like Visa. Visa would need a large communication team to be as successful as an agency.

    Agencies provide a calm, cool and collective environment. Agencies are so relaxed so people can think and come up with new ideas. I feel like it’s insulting to the agency Visa fired. Why changed something when there’s nothing wrong with it.

    However, I do admire Visa’s braveness. It takes a lot of confidence to fire a successful agency and take on the work in house. Doing this might also open a lot of jobs to people in the communications and advertising fields.

    I’ll be interested to see how this works out for Visa. If it doesn’t work out, I wonder if it will be difficult to recruit a new agency. From a PR standpoint, it wouldn’t look good on Visa if they need to hire a different agency.

  4. Martin Author

    Thanks Marissa. I’m not so sure about calm and cool environments in agencies – but hopefully they are creative and add value. We’ll be watching how this plays out, too.

  5. Hannah

    From a perspective of a student about to enter the PR world in the very near future, considering VISA’s decision to move in-house as a trend is very interesting to me. I agree that using an agency is invaluable to a corporation because agency professionals know what factors influence the success of certain tactics based on first-hand experience.

    There is only so much in house employees can find out about PR campaigns in and outside of their industry. A Google search of best practices or reaching out to other resources is not as effective as bringing in professionals who are behind the scenes of campaigns and who have access to the specifics of each case they work on.

    For me, a shift to using in-house employees could mean more corporate communications jobs available than agency. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something to consider when entering the industry.

  6. Martin Author

    Thanks Hannah. I guess you’ll find out when you graduate – whether there are more opportunities on the client-side because of this (and if you do, please let us know).

    Hopefully, this is an experiment and then, depending on the results, we’ll see whether or not it becomes a trend. From where I sit on the agency side, I hope it won’t. But if it does, it means we’ll need to evolve other ways to provide value to clients, maybe by focusing on higher level strategic counsel.

    We appreciate your and Marissa’s comments and that, as PR students, you’re taking an interest in the issue and our podcast.

    As you get closer to the end of the term, all the best with your studies and work. We look forward to more comments and thoughts!

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