Why Brands Should Think Small (Agency)

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Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of talk about the influx of small agencies within our industry. These companies – in 50-or-less team member range – are winning Lions at Cannes, closing million dollar deals, and are giving the likes of McCann, Ogilvy, and Grey a run for their money.

While the legacy agencies exude gravitas and make for great bragging rights while you’re sipping champagne in the South of France, they aren’t always necessarily what’s best for your brand.

With the impeding New Year, what better time to begin thinking differently – smaller, even. Clients can benefit greatly from utilizing a more modest agency’s services. Here are a few reasons to hire – and think – smaller.

Big Fish Mentality: To a big agency, sometimes a new client is just another account – yet another company to highlight on its website. But, a big brand means everything to a small agency. You’ll be paired with a specialized and senior-level team dedicated to delivering high-touch attention and high-quality work. The pitch team is usually “the team” doing the work, so you’ll be getting the thought leadership that won the pitch in the day-to-day trenches.

Lean and Mean: Small agencies are simply nimbler. With less employees, fewer meetings to schedule, and limited politics, independent agencies are typically faster to react to client calls or campaign snafus. With less internal process and little red-tape to get around, it’s easier to get to the heart of what makes brands tick and, ultimately, to the great ideas that propel them forward.

Risky Business: The big guys can sometimes follow antiquated processes – it’s how their companies were built. Younger, learner agencies, on the other hand, usually have more modern systems and workflow designed to more easily get to where true innovation stems. They are willing to take more risks. Maybe it’s because they’ll always have something to prove – a chip on their metaphorical shoulder that they’ll never be able to shake? Regardless, high-motivation is the driver, and it’s resulted in some of the most groundbreaking ads this year if you have paid attention to the awards shows and trade publications.

No Baggage to Claim: Small agencies often don’t bring baggage to the table. They don’t have history trying everything in the book and talking themselves out of what has been done. As such, they are more willing to think outside the box to get to the promised land with an “there’s always a way “attitude. With anything being possible, your brand won’t be confined to or pigeonholed into running a campaign that’s been tried, tested, and “just fine.”

Culturally Connected: Independent agencies possess stronger cultures that their employees believe in. Why do you think there’s so much more turn-over at the legacy agencies? The culture is either lacking, or the team member wasn’t a culture fit in the first place, merely a body hired to fill a seat. Small agencies typically evoke a feeling of family, which undoubtedly permeates into the work and helps to inspire people working on your account.

With 2017 upon us, go ahead and consider a smaller shop. You might be really surprised by their innovation and expertise.  It could be the kick in the butt your brand needs.

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