Winners 2022

Best in-house team: media relations


Not content with working in the real world, the six-person media relations team at Accenture have also set up shop in the metaverse – a first in the industry – where their avatars meet on occasion to brainstorm, often by a virtual fire.

But this is not a frivolous gimmick: the team have also welcomed journalists into their metaverse to showcase technology trends.

Communications specialist Alex Dempsey even organised a visit by Joe Crowley, a presenter on BBC’s One Show, who teleported into Accenture’s metaverse to learn how the company is transforming the ways in which colleagues interact. The report aired to around five million viewers.

However, the team’s real strength lie in their ability to keep plugged into the news cycle and give Accenture a voice on the issues that matter to the professional services firm. With agency support, they achieved almost 1,100 pieces of coverage last year, up ten per cent on the previous year.

They have also worked hard to move away from a London-centric media, building up strong relationships with regional journalists to ensure Accenture is vocal on issues affecting every corner of the country and to improve the diversity of its coverage.

This approach proved especially effective when Accenture announced its commitment to create 3,000 new technology roles, of which more than half are located outside London. The announcement, which was handled by communications lead Andy Rowlands, achieved 66 pieces of coverage, and boosted relationships with regional journalists.

Similarly, when Accenture wanted to ensure that sustainability was at the heart of its campaigns, it was left to industrial lead Petra Shuttlewood to gain coverage for a new, annual Carbon Consumption Index, which featured on ITV News, the Evening Standard and Bloomberg.

Media relations specialist Alex Dee ensured Accenture’s research and commentary addressing the cost-of-living crisis featured in leading publications, achieving 100 pieces of coverage – 40 per cent of which appeared in Tier one titles. She also worked closely with retail and financial services journalists, leading to five articles appearing under one by-line at the Insurance Times after a single discussion with Accenture’s experts on the subject.

When Accenture wanted to discuss social mobility, it was down to media relations manager Natalie de Freitas to build a cohesive media strategy, involving a strong narrative, appropriate charity partnerships and new research into equality at work. The analysis examined why people from poorer social backgrounds felt excluded at work, with first-hand experiences: it was exclusively covered in Forbes.

Similarly, the announcement that Accenture had re-branded its interactive business as Accenture Song was delegated to global innovation lead Jo Connarty to work with colleagues overseas, while heading up the UK media campaign.

The judges ‘loved’ the entry from Accenture, which picked up the Best In-house Media Relations Team for the second year running, particularly as it focused on how each member contributed to the team’s success.

‘The team seem to have done a terrific job of delivering on the ‘business as usual’ comms whilst also managing some real innovation which has justifiably put Accenture ahead of its peers in the sector in the rankings,’ they said. ‘The Metaverse work with avatars – both for team collaboration and to entice journalists into Accenture’s brave new world, is a great idea. Well done, and what a collaborative sounding team!’