What I've never liked with the Small Agency Diary, however, is the word "small."
In our industry, small means insufficient. Small agencies are meant for small clients. Small means few resources. Small means not enough people to serve clients. Unstable as a business. Lack of depth in research, account management, creative, public relations. Not large enough to handle my big account. Why should I work for your shop when I can join a huge one that has so much more? I could go on and on.
Of course most of these perceptions are just that. Truth is, most agencies with less than 100 employees have tremendous firepower. Are more nimble than the behemoths. Can outthink a large shop on any given day. Are very profitable as an ongoing business entity. Etc, etc.
What frustrates me is that the perception of "small agency" doesn't fit the reality in most cases. And the clients that agencies like mine want and can handle -- those with budgets in the $1 million to $50 million range -- don't believe they should hire a 'small' agency. For all of the reasons stated above.
So I propose the following:
- What is small anyway? Perhaps we should re-define it. A truly small agency might be a handful of people. A mid-size agency would be one that's, say, 35 to 99 people. A large shop is 100 to 500. And a super-size shop is everything above that. Now who wants to be super-sized these days anyway? Ask Morgan Spurlock.
- Let's do a better job of communicating the breadth of talent in the less-than-large shops to clients. I know the trend to using smaller shops has been encouraging the last several years, but we rarely read about how well those relationships have worked out. We all remember how Nike helped Wieden become what it is. But those stories are few and far between. What we read abut now is how Dell fires hundreds of agencies around the globe to hire one holding company.
- Re-brand "Small Agency Diary" to something like "Really Good Agency Diary," or "Unbelievably Nimble Agency Diary," or even "Not a Ginormous Agency Diary."