Why big brands should choose boutique agencies?

Posted on: February 14th, 2014

Big brands have traditionally looked to big agencies for their media, web development, advertising and marketing needs. But should big brands consider meeting their needs by shifting to smaller, boutique agencies? The answer is absolutely, and here are a few points to consider if you are a big brand.

Flexibility Grows Fresh Ideas: Success of small agencies depends on the ability to leverage flexibility and develop fresh ideas. Each team member must be an expert at his or her job and develop additional skills, depending upon the project. An account person may expand into social strategy, an art director may create information architecture, a tech lead may assist with content strategy. Each person is exposed to a broad array of tactics and learns when to use each tool to solve a range of client challenges. Each team member is focused on client goals, not necessarily his or her defined role. This is critically important because marketing is being redefined each day. Flexibility is the key to success; every touch point, ranging from retail to social media, provides an opportunity to expand the definition of advertising. Flexibility is wired into each small-agency shop from birth.

Culture Spurs Risk Taking: Agencies truly come down to one thing — people. Interactions, camaraderie and synergies are the key ingredients for success. They are fueled by a culture that encourages this. Small agencies consider culture a key priority, but big agencies are often clueless. Over and over, you hear shocking comments from large-agency people like “we have internal politics” and “our creative team doesn’t talk to our account team.”

Culture isn’t important simply to make the day fun. A culture that puts a premium on communication and team spirit enables a small agency to fail quickly and turn those small failures into major wins. The team can take risks. At a large agency, where there is more to lose, clients are often shepherded to deliverables that the agency can safely create, regardless of the brand’s exact needs. Small agencies know that they need to create breakthrough results to simply survive.

Small: A boutique agency tends to keep its client list short, and we can be highly selective about the types of jobs we accept. Staff members are highly qualified and respected artists and creators. Boutique agencies can develop print, online and video materials along with copywriting for a variety of marketing and advertising needs. The end result is highly individualized and personalized. Companies that want to run ad campaigns that stand out creatively may opt to work with a boutique agency, or companies that need marketing and sales materials that are highly creative in nature would also opt to work with a boutique agency like Bark.

Large: Big agencies are rigid. Boutique agencies are flexible. Unfortunately for the big agency, this is something which they cannot be faulted for.  It is simply a new darwinism, and they are no longer the fittest.

Pros of a Boutique Agency

  • You have direct access to the CEO/owner
  • Staff and team knows how to react quickly and get something done, even if they’ve never done it before.
  • This may sound trite, but there is a personal touch because you’re working with the owner and a select, very carefully chosen team.
  • The team that pitches a piece of new business is the team that works on that business when it becomes a client.
  • The team is always very flexible and nimble.
  • A small budget to a global firm is usually a gigantic budget to a boutique firm.

Sources: Brolik, Brak!, Ad Age

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