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Have you heard that conventional wisdom says that big brands need big agencies?
Well, that’s long been established as horse shit trotted out by big agencies.
More and more iconic brands, from Pepsi to First Direct, Levi’s to General Motors, are finding that a vast-sized agency has a smaller impact than ever on their business results.
A lot of the time, the contrary is true.
So if simply hiring a big agency is not the silver bullet, what is?
Obviously a ‘must’ for creative agencies. Boutiques know that to compete with the multi-award winning, world famous colossuses they have to bring their creative A-Game.
‘That’ll do’ won’t cut the mustard but an original, insight-driven, beautifully crafted idea can put any concerns over size to bed in an instant.
Because does it take 200 people to concept a solid piece? No.
It takes a handful of smart people, who’ve done their research and know their craft inside out.
(ok, so there’s a wee bit more than just that, but you get the point)
By value, we don’t mean cheap but price is rarely the deciding factor – marketing professionals are always keen to spend their budget, and it’s unusual for the cheapest solution to be the best.
As proven by Aldi and countless other smart brands, finding the sweet spot where quality, price and efficacy intersect is the win.
Savvy marketers are getting wise to the over-inflated prices quoted by big agencies and are demanding more ‘value‘ from their partners so that their budget can be spent on delivering results rather than swanky postcodes, agency bars and Cannes Lions trips.
“Screw convention, you pay for and need results”
People buy People – it’s fact.
Surely you want to work with people you like, who are attentive, smart and responsive. Ambitious brands know that boutique agencies are geared up to work as an extension of their team – outsiders on the inside if you will – which makes it much easier to forge successful working relationships.
If you don’t have a close relationship, and I don’t just mean posh dinners in Claridges, then you can’t act as a solid team.
The subservient client > agency model has been dead for a decade now, so without solid chemistry, you’re dead in the water.
I don’t mean small or cheap, I mean ‘not having to repeat yourself’.
Given the staff churn at bigger agencies it’s almost inevitable that clients will find themselves involved in a seemingly endless repeat-cycle of brand immersion sessions, integration meetings, history lessons and so on as the months go by.
At boutiques, this is very rare because not only is continuity provided by the founders themselves, the team has keen and motivated players too, both of whom rarely leave.
“Boutique agencies are exactly what we want because they will work harder & faster for you”
While the big agencies will argue that their size trumps all, we all know that regardless of the size of the overall agency, the core team is made up of a handful of people that are key.
The plethora of others who might be spoken of as ‘part of the team’ at pitch stage have their own clients to look after, so the perceived advantage is actually a mirage.
And let’s not forget the ‘pitch & switch’ – the big guns pitch, the smaller guns deliver. Is that what you bought and wanted? I doubt it.
And it’s an open secret that bigger agencies regularly outsource work to their smaller peers – they know that the boutiques can more than match them for creativity while bringing agility and pace.
This means the work gets done quicker but to the exacting standards you expect and pay for!
Driven brands who are striving to stand out in increasingly crowded markets have realised that size isn’t everything – success comes from working with agencies that match their ambitions, not their size.
While the big behemoth agencies struggle to adapt, a new breed of agile, high quality boutique agencies is quietly and efficiently transforming the landscape and eating their lunch… Yum!
“You’re a big client for them, they want to retain your business so it works beautifully for everyone”