In recent years, a host of boutique brand storytelling, digital and experiential marketing agencies have come out on top. Their ability to offer refreshing, unique and unencumbered client experiences are helping them land some big fish.
It is often the top creative talent and visionaries who birth small agencies after a successful career at a big agency. Their knowledge of how big agencies pitch and work gives them an undeniable edge, but they mostly distinguish themselves through their ‘otherness’.
The reasons bigger brands are choosing small agencies are as diverse as the wide-ranging needs of each brand. They could want a different creative direction, have a limited budget or need a change in relationship.
Small agencies can be more agile, so they make changes faster. Of course, I’m not talking about a complete 180° deviation on the concept.
Sometimes business owners and CMOs change their mind halfway through a campaign and expect the agency to make changes without costing for a completely new concept.
When there are changes to tweak a concept or update a campaign with new market information, smaller agencies don’t have to jump through as many hoops.
Another benefit is that the person on the other end of the line (or email) is most likely the one who will execute your changes which makes for a faster approach.
More bang for your marketing buck
I’m not talking about cheap. Smaller agencies are not necessarily cheap. But their costing is, at times, more transparent and straightforward and they don’t have to carry the extra cost of massive building leases, staff contingent, utilities, departments that have nothing to do with your project.
When a smaller agency costs an item, you know that they are charging for their time, their core competency and according to their particular expertise. The strategic value-add to having the head of an agency directly involved in the project also cannot be ignored.
Two heads (or 30) are not always better than one
Studies into the inverse correlation between the size of a team and its productivity have shown that sometimes less is more. Bigger teams mean more places to hide and more procedures to follow to get sign-off.
The success of South African agencies in Cannes recently is a reflection of the big talent in the country. Taking this talent and the size of the agencies into account and adding the knowledge and professionalism of South African agencies, it would be logical for the country to be a hub for the rest of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa...
With brands hurtling towards a digital future where they compete with not only local but thousands of global companies, using a smaller local agency with a proven track record may be exactly what you need to stand out in an analogous advertising crowd.
After all, if you’re hunting for market share, you’re better off with a lion than an elephant.
Born in Ghana, Yaw Dwomoh is the Managing Director of Idea Hive, a specialist Brand Storytelling company based in Johannesburg that enables medium-to-large brands to craft their brand stories in a way that is authentic, connecting with customers in a way that captures their hearts and their purchasing power.
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