Sometime we think bigger is better and we tend to prefer the big traditional agencies over the smaller boutique ones. It’s true that they have all the recognition, formidable track records, shiny awards, certificates and so on, but the question is, are big agencies really better?
While choosing an agency, big or boutique, there are certain questions that we must ask ourselves. Why do we need agencies in the first place? How do they help us? What are the fundamental differences between a big and a boutique agency? How do these differences affect us, or our campaign?
Let’s review some concerns so that we make an informed decision, without going through this laborious thought process. Instead, you can focus on what you want from your campaign. Primarily, we hire agencies to help us with the creative, innovative, strategic, communicative, and technical aspects of a campaign. In short, agencies do all the running around needed to run a successful campaign.
In this way, they share your burdens, allowing you to focus on the next great thing in your business.
Obviously, the agency at work must have a profound understanding of the business they are working with. After all, a campaign doesn’t only promote a product. But, also the brand. The business that strives to bring this product to the people and thrives upon their positive response.
It is only in doing justice to the essence of your business, that an agency can run a successful campaign. In other words, it must always strike the right chords and hit the right notes. Agency must have a fluent communication, both with the business, and the potential clientele, the target audience of the campaign.
So, now that we know what they “must” do, we can discuss how they do it. But, before that, let us try and characterise the two for what they are.
Note that big agencies are those which have hundreds of employees working for them. At any point in time, they are simultaneously working on four, seven, ten, who knows how many projects. The more, the merrier! Usually, these agencies offer a wide, yet fixed, range of services. Their “best selling” products, smartly catalogued in expensive-looking brochures. Indeed, whatever shows, also sells.
Now how about the small agencies, the term boutique means unique, and it is uniqueness that they thrive upon. After all, if you are not big, you must be unique.
More often than not, they work with small, yet dedicated teams of innovative designers, managers and others. Being closely knit, imparts a dynamic nature to these agencies, as the employees constantly interact with each other.
If there’s one thing that all good boutique agencies have, it’s subtlety. Subtlety in design, in style, in approach and, basically, in everything they do.
Until this point, we have seen what agencies must ideally be, and what the two major types of agencies usually are. Now, it’s time we saw how their differences affect our purpose.
We can go about a point-to-point differentiation of the two types of agencies. Yet, it isn’t arguably as fruitful as a thematic differentiation. After all, it’s upon these thematic differences that we must base our choice.
If you remember the ideal conditions, an agency must work in close communication with your business. In this regard, boutique agencies are often more accessible than the big ones.
Certainly enough, a big agency assigns a relationship manager or a project coordinator for your campaign. Yet, as we know well, the same person is also working on other projects at the same time. Thus, the commitment is more professional than personal. And, this is both good and bad.
Good from a service perspective. But, successful campaigns often require the personal touch which big agencies fail to provide. And, we can’t really blame them for that.
Working with a boutique agency, often allows us to communicate with the entire team, and not with a single point of contact. Such holistic discussions often widen the scopes and open up unprecedented avenues for your campaign.
Working with a big agency inevitably involves strict formalities and policies. Consequently, you’ll have to invest a lot of time, even before the campaign actually begins.
Moreover, these policies often aren’t bendable in the slightest to suit your needs. Boutique agencies bring a major relief in this regard.
While big agencies often tend to be the jacks of all trades, the boutique ones have their specialised niche. The former might be good or even great at everything they do. But, the latter is the best at what it does.
Needless to say, the overall costs of running a campaign with a boutique agency is much lesser than with a big one. The benefits are more than obvious.
Irrespective of whether your project is big or small, it’s always the top priority for a boutique agency. This might not be the case with the big ones. After all, they will obviously prioritise projects that are bigger, and more profitable, than yours’. So, to conclude, it’s more than safe to say that unless you have a resource-intensive campaign which only a large agency can support, it’s often more beneficial to go with a boutique agency.