The reign of personalised marketing and authentic ads are here and therefore the need for a big ad agency is somewhat waning. Even though nobody ever gets fired for hiring a reliable corporate, brands are looking for a different route. Rather than becoming another cog in a big machine, small agencies offer an alternative. In fact, in the first nine months of 2017 around £2.1 billion of media billings across 21 international markets were assigned to independent media agencies.
But the question of whether small agency or whether going for a classic corporate is the safer option is a tricky one – and quite often it can depend on many varying factors. But as a small agency ourselves, we thought we’d give you our thoughts on the debate.
Collaboration sparks creativity
Curated are all about collaboration; it is what makes our work effective and creative. Our open office culture means we’re not only allowed to collaborate with members from other channels, but we’re encouraged to. If we’ve got a question or even a couple of ideas we want to share we know the best way is to have a conversation and flesh it out. When you’re able to clarify a potentially wacky idea with a team of people it can turn into something much more tangible.
We’re not the only ones who swear by this creative process either. Though we decided to take the digital route, our siblings in other creative occupations can agree that a collaborative culture works best. Take publishing or advertising, whether you’re pitching your story to an editor or coming up with the next big billboard, more cooks actually season the pot, not spoil it.
No more red tape
Compared to larger companies where there are practices in place to organise creativity the way some like to organise fun, smaller agencies tend to have a much more relaxed approach. There aren’t any rigid structures in place to stop us from bouncing ideas around, and we know from experience it’s at this point the best ideas tend to emerge.
We’re not saying structures aren’t good – indeed most practices in place have accumulated over a time and are the result of trial and error. They’re also somewhat of a necessity when you have to organise a couple of hundred people. But because we are that much smaller there’s a lot less red tape for us to cut through which means we can approach new projects with an agility bigger agencies tend to lack.
What you’re buying into
When you work with us you’re not buying one talented, but overstretched all-rounder – you’re buying a team. Larger companies will tend to assign you one contact, whereas with us you have access to all of us (if you like)- and we each bring a specific expertise to the table. This means you’ll get more attention, there’s more knowledge to go around, not to mention more real-life human contact. It can be easy to forget there are people behind the email, which is why we make a big effort to sit down with you and have a proper chat.
Transparency is key
Being open and honest is essential: from what’s in our food to how businesses operate – it’s more than just a trend. It’s a lot harder to hide behind a name when the way work is changing means a mainly millennial consumer base not only value transparency but expect it.
We love transparency, it’s simply a way of life. At every stage of the project, we want to collaborate with our clients and make sure we’re on the right track, which is why we’re precise in our reporting and we do it frequently. This way we’re accountable for our actions.
All about adapting
We live in a rapidly changing world where new trends flare up and fizzle out every day. However, as we’ve seen from all the outdated millennial-centric campaigns, it’s very easy to get it wrong. As experienced as larger companies are, they tend to find it more difficult to move with the times and can find themselves jumping on new trends when it’s too late.
Traditional PR turnover is about six months (Christmas in July anyone) and big business strategy will have been mapped out potentially years in advance. For example, even though they now finally understand how to market to Millennials, big companies are finding it quite hard to react now that Gen Z are infiltrating the workplace.
The benefit of a smaller agency is that we’re fluid in the way we work. We can look at new trends and react to them quickly. We’re okay with changing our strategy and trying something different if it drives towards our clients’ goals. We may not have been around for umpteen years, but that makes us a lot more adept at positive change.
The word ‘boutique’ can be thrown around too often, and though it conjures up images of shopping on the Champs-Elysees, it’s actually a pretty good fit for a small agency. We’re built from the acknowledgement that bigger agencies aren’t best for every brand and there’s a gap in the market that we can fill.
Us? Our founder Simon Douglass was tired of the politics and restrictions that came from big agencies. An ex-Googler, he wanted to start an agency focusing on digital that could rival its much larger competition, but with a decidedly less corporate atmosphere. He knew agility was the way forward and had that at the forefront of his mind when starting Curated. Four years later, we’ve moved from a startup to a stay up. Now brands like to come to us after realising they need to stretch their legs from their more traditional seats.
We care about what we do
When it all comes down to it, we really care about the work we do and who we do it for. We take on clients that we align with, always making sure its a good fit for both parties and we know when to say no. Plus, as cliche as it sounds, we really do go the extra mile whether its paying clients or pro bono.
Now don’t get us wrong, going with a big agency certainly has its benefits – they are a safe bet and can do a good job, but they’re not the only option out there. Sometimes it’s good to think outside the box or let us do the thinking for you. Think we sound like the right fit for you? Get in touch for a chat.
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