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Insights Why is a full-service agency such a dirty word?

06 Sep 2021

3 minute read

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In this feature we explore the differences between niche and general agencies and why historically full-service agencies have been given a bit of a hard time.

Last week I tried a new local restaurant and waited eagerly for the waiter to bring over our menus. Only my heart sank when I glanced at the five, yes five, whole pages of food choices. And that didn’t even include the puddings (five pages of puddings would have been just fine thank you).

And all this with only two chefs in the kitchen. All I could think was, is there anything fresh on here? Is there anything the chefs are actually good at? Is it all frozen and microwaved? Surely there’s no way a kitchen can have a menu this long and be amazing at cooking all of it, using the finest, freshest ingredients? 

Just give me an option of five dishes, that are all expertly cooked, using amazing ingredients, that taste (and look) delicious. 

Anyway, rant over. We’ll revisit the restaurant shortly.

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So, back to the matter at hand. We often hear people talking about full-service agencies as if it was a dirty word. “Surely you should use one that specialises in website design and another that specialises in brand?” and ‘“won’t you just get a mediocre service and outcome if you don’t go niche?”

In some instances this may be the case. Someone who is great at illustration, may think their creativity means that they can also have a go at photography or graphic design. And sometimes they can, but sometimes they can’t.

The Escape is proudly, unashamedly, shout-it-from-the-rooftops, a full-service, multi-disciplinary, whatever-you-want-to-call-it, agency (apologies to the hyphen police - that was perhaps overkill). That means we offer a full range of services, all in-house, including:

Going back to the restaurant (yes you guessed it, there’s an analogy here), the long menu could have worked, if, and only if, the kitchen was full of numerous chefs, each an expert in their own dish, trained, skilled and passionate about them. 

That’s why we’re not a jack of all trades here, we’re Made of Masters

Because let’s be honest - it’s ok for each of us not to be brilliant at every single thing, in fact it’s pretty impossible - so let’s just focus on what we are brilliant at and own it! 

Every single Escapee who makes up our team, is a master in their own right, exceptionally skilled in what they do. And that means our Front End Developer does not double up as an Account Manager, and our UX & UI Designer doesn’t moonlight as a marketing guru. 

We’re more than happy when our team wants to upskill and learn new tricks, in fact we encourage it, offering what we call ‘Personal Development’ days where training courses can be taken and new skills learnt. What is crucial though is that everyone is an expert in their field so that we can offer our clients the very best service and naturally, the very best results.

In fact, we’d actually go a step further and suggest that one additional benefit of working with a full service agency is the in-depth knowledge they have of a client’s brand, values, personality, goals and KPIs. 

As a small team who like to communicate, that means if we’ve just completed a brand strategy, who better to continue that piece and translate it into a new website. You get to work with the same Account and Project Managers who will know your brand inside out, and also make use of all our other in-house skills. The chances are the rest of the team will already know a lot about your brand  anyway from our regular catch ups and brainstorming sessions!

A little bit like in the ‘perfect’ restaurant - by working together, each course should complement the next, the wine should be paired, the standard consistently brilliant and the service spot on. 

So there you have it, there’s certainly a time and place for specialist agencies, in fact we partner with some great ones, but let’s not see full-service agencies get a bad rep.

Oh and no, I’m not going to tell you the name of the restaurant, because they’re new, trying hard and will no doubt smash it in the end.

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