Two sides of the coin

To use an agency or not? That is the question discussed by our two experts.

Pro: “Agencies bring context, contacts and expertise” - Jana Sanchez
 It’s impossible to imagine a company communicating an initial public offering, or major international acquisition, without the help of at least a local agency and probably a London-based agency too. There are times when in-house communicators, no matter how skilled or experienced, need the external context, contacts and expertise that agencies bring. Most of those companies brave enough to have gone it alone, probably wouldn’t repeat the experience. With few exceptions, they failed to find the right investors and not get the price they wanted for their shares. It’s hardly surprising; why should any in-house investor relations officer or head of communications for an unlisted company have a Rolodex full of financial journalists and analysts throughout Europe and the world? The price tag to hire a good agency, or two agencies if your local agency doesn‘t also have strong London networks, might have seemed high at the outset. Yet it no doubt looked a bargain in retrospect. Consultants know which tools, in which format, analysts and journalists will expect, and can help the in-house team produce at an internationally accepted level. Agencies with experienced investor relations professionals on their staff can spot anomalies in the investment story; and they have the knowledge and the credibility to get it fixed. The board will listen because it knows that the consultant has done this before and learned from experience.

Jana Sanchez

Jana Sanchez is managing director of CitySavvy, a financial and corporate communications agency with offices in London and Amsterdam. CitySavvy provides investor relations, financial and corporate PR, internal communications and contract publishing services to large multinational companies in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland. Sanchez and her fellow agency directors are all former financial journalists from major international financial news agencies, Reuters, Bloomberg and AP. Sanchez, a former Reuters journalist, works mainly in the area of financial PR and contract publishing.

Geert Sciot

Geert Sciot started his professional career as a freelance journalist for the Belgian Public Radio. In 2003 he joined the new Belgian flag carrier SN Brussels Airlines where he became vice president of communication. Sciot was in charge of all media communication related to the merger of SN Brussels Airlines with Virgin Express and is nowadays responsible for the external communication of the merged airline group.