Does Agency size matter?

Zoe Pedersen - Marketing Manager

It’s a tricky question: does size matter...when it comes to creative, digital and brand agencies? Do client’s get better value for money if they invest it with a big, weighty agency or with a smaller independent team?

A short while ago, depending on whether you worked for a big agency or a smaller, boutique sized outfit, the answer to the size question was typically:

“Bigger agencies give clients access to a deep pool of expert talent ...we have access to and can leverage upon a global talent network...”

Or

“Small teams are dedicated to your account...we deliver better flexibility, relationship and the personal touch…”

Today, perhaps more than ever, Clients have a plethora of agencies to choose from. Some are big, mega-global agencies, some are subsidiaries to those mega agencies and others are small nimble teams of under 25 people...and some are truly 1 and 2 man band specialist consultancies.So big or small? Does it make a difference today? Anyone who knows The Escape knows that we are pretty proud of our team. At under 25 staff, we err on the mid to small size and we are confident in our ability to punch outside of our size class.

So for us, asking Big or Small is the wrong question to ask. Today, we should all be focusing on the work delivered by agencies. It truly doesn’t matter what size team your agency is putting to your account, onto your project or in answer to your brief...what matters is the final output.

Will you really be counting the people in the room if they delivered exceptional creative, get a website live and converting within the timeline and on budget? Does it matter if that was achieved by a Big Brand Team of over 30 people or by a dedicated, expert team of 5?

Our agency methodology is to focus solely on the work we produce, the talent we have within our agency and the calibre of clients we get to work with.

Do we look at our neighbouring one-man-bands, the small, mid-size and even the larger London agencies? Of course we do. But we judge them not on size, but similarly on the work they produce, the talent they have and the clients they are working with.

We admire the work we see competitor agencies producing. Great brand, digital and campaign work should be of the highest standard in our industry and creative work coupled with smart delivery helps all agencies engage better talent and encourage brands to better connect with their audiences.

Agency size doesn’t define the ability to deliver quality and impactful creative.

Smaller agencies often lay claim to “relationships” as their core differentiator. With today’s agency selection being wider than ever, ALL agencies have to excel at building relationships with their clients. We certainly sweat that as a central deliverable in our agency.

What defines any agency’s long term success is the relationship it can build with its clients. We not only need to deliver expectation-exceeding work, we need to honestly build towards being a strategic partner, a must-have-in-the-room creative asset empowering them to succeed in their own industry. 

So, rather than making a decision based on the size of an agency, clients should dig deeper and get a true understanding of the quality of talent, delivery of work, relationship methodology that an agency can bring to the table. 

If agencies are pitching against one another, the assumption shouldn’t be that a bigger agency has more resources to throw at the work...or that a smaller agency will offer the better engagement; it should be “who can deliver a great piece of work that will get me the results I need?”

The process following an agency selection is pretty formulaic: contract, scoping, approvals with clear transparency throughout followed by streamlined, smooth delivery of an engaging campaign that genuinely delivers brand results.

Agency size should not be the determining factor of choice...nor of final success. At the end of the day, it genuinely is all about the work.

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