By Baha Hamadi, Founder & Managing Director, Keel Comms
Big brands have traditionally leaned towards working with large, globally recognized agencies, although many of these brands often express frustration with agencies failing to fulfill their commitments. There is a compelling case to be made for considering local, boutique agencies, freeing brands from the constraints of appointing the same global agencies they collaborate with internationally.
Performance Over Size
Performance and dedication are the new benchmarks, overpowering the old standards of size and reputation. While the size and reputation of an agency are important, they shouldn't be the main factors considered during the selection process. Instead, performance and commitment should be the new yardsticks. A smaller, local PR agency can offer a higher level of dedication and a more personalized approach than a larger agency, which tends to adopt a factory-like approach to client servicing. Boutique agencies are more agile and flexible, and able to adapt quickly to changes in market trends or client requirements. They are less bound by rigid structures and processes that often characterize larger agencies. Their dynamic nature can translate into more innovative campaigns and better results for brands.
A Dedicated Account Handler
A single capable and passionate account handler could outweigh the advantage of an agency’s global presence. Global presence undoubtedly brings certain advantages, such as access to international markets and resources. But it's essential to remember that successful campaigns are driven by people, not by the size of an agency's network. Within a boutique agency, a single, dedicated account handler, who understands the brand’s vision and communicates effectively, can be far more valuable than having access to a vast, impersonal team spread across multiple locations.
When your Client's Target Market is Local
Is the global agency's edge over a local one justified when clients' target markets are only local? While global PR agencies often tout their expansive network and resources as key advantages, this might not always bring added value for clients. The perceived advantage of a global PR agency does not hold water when the client's market is predominantly or only local.
Boutique Agencies' Drive
Driven by a proactive spirit, boutique agencies offer unmatched dedication, innovation, and accountability. Boutique agencies are driven by a desire to make their mark in the industry. They are motivated to work hard and grow. The outcome? A higher level of dedication, innovation, and accountability. Smaller teams mean each account is of significant importance. So boutique agencies are likely to go the extra mile to ensure client satisfaction. They are also more likely to take risks and come up with creative ideas, setting their clients apart in the market. With fewer layers of bureaucracy in boutique agencies, decision-making is often faster, and communication is more transparent, leading to improved efficiency and quicker results.
Unlike larger agencies that have higher overhead costs due to their expansive operations, boutique agencies tend to operate on leaner budgets. With a smaller team, communication is often more streamlined, leading to fewer misunderstandings and more efficient project execution. The reduced likelihood of miscommunication diminishes the need for rework, resulting in both time and money savings.
A Boutique Agency is an Extension of your Team
Boutique agencies have the unique ability to seamlessly integrate into a brand's existing team, resulting in a highly collaborative relationship. A smaller size and more personalized approach allow them to better understand the brand's culture, goals, and needs. Boutique agencies are often able to offer a level of flexibility and availability that larger agencies may struggle to match, due to their smaller client roster and dedicated focus. Being readily available for last-minute changes, urgent requests, or ongoing support ensures that their client’s needs are met promptly.
Smaller agencies bring as much to the table as larger ones. Therefore, big brands are urged to consider tying up with smaller agencies that are innovative, proactive, and offer new perspectives. By valuing merit rather than simply looking at size and name recognition in an agency partner, brands can maximize their chances of successful planning and execution.