September 25, 2018

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Small agencies have been popping up left and right in recent years, and the demand for these boutique firms has only gotten bigger. Traditionally, larger agencies are called upon to take on all marketing and creative-related projects, but big brands are realizing that size matters, and choosing the ‘underdog’ may be the way to go. Innovation and creativity are the leading drivers of the small agency movement, but there is much more to it.

Living in the Real-Time World

We hold the answers to just about every single question at the tips of our fingers, and can solve our everyday mysteries in about 3-5 seconds (depending on our Wifi connection). Now, let’s imagine you want to solve a little mystery of your own. You’re working with a big agency on a project, and you want a quick, live update on how things are going. It’s safe to assume that the update shouldn’t take long to receive, right? The thing is, big agencies are just that. Big. There are so many employees at varying levels that most of the time, you won’t even get to meet the whole team. You’ll more often than not speak with the account executive, not the people actually working on the project.

You’re asking questions and checking in because you want a real-time update of the progress, not to be placed on hold. It’s easy to forget just how much these big agencies have going on, but at the end of the day, you’re the client, and you want to make sure your project is coming along smoothly.

It’s Nice to have a Niche

Working with a team that has niche specializations can have various benefits. While they may not offer as many services as their larger competitors, they can offer a more detailed and concise approach to the services they do provide. In this case, quality of the specialization supersedes the quantity of services, which is really why you’re hiring an agency in the first place: you want a high-quality project for your account. When you want the best infographic, for example, you’ll most likely hire the team with a record of creating unique, effective infographics.

Culture is a Business Tool

Relationships are an integral piece of conducting any sort of business. Collaborating with an agency that shares the same values and attitudes as the client makes the working relationship more pleasant for both ends. A company’s culture isn’t so much about what they do; why and how they do their work holds much more merit than a giant list of qualifications. Smaller agencies are as invested in results as the client because the account holds a larger part of the company’s revenue. They are more focused on making sure they planted the right seeds to grow their client’s business, while making sure the client is happy every step of the way.

Communication Breeds Creativity

Communication amongst colleagues and managers has rapidly increased in speed and feasibility thanks to chat channels like Slack, Trello, and Basecamp. This constant, uninterrupted flow of ideas is what small agencies do best. There is little room for intervention, and a whole lot of room for brainstorming and collaboration. Tasks can be done a lot faster and with way more simplicity than if your account was with a larger team. So many processes and levels to go through, so many emails passed back and forth–yikes.

Although “innovation” has been a bit of an overused word in the world of boutique-style agencies, it’s exactly what smaller teams work towards. Close-knit teams are at an advantage in their ability to innovate because they have the creative freedom to do so. This is not to say big agencies place their employees in creativity jail, but there’s usually a strict schedule and timeline to stick to. With limited interruption and colleagues always close by to answer any call, smaller teams have more opportunity for multiple creative sessions that lead to truly innovative results.

“Who You Gonna Call?”

When the time comes to hire an agency, who are you going to call? The big dogs, or the underdog? Costs set aside, you want a team that will be dedicated to the account throughout the entire lifespan of the project. Consider the set of values you and the prospective agency share, and what kind of communication style you wish to have. The next time you envision big results, just remember: size matters.