Small agencies can do big work, better

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The last of my lessons from my visit to Fast Company’s Innovation Festival and Summit at Sea, or at least the ones that I’m committing to the page. And, sure, I may be a little biased, but anyone who thinks small can never be mighty has never: A) lost a car key B) been stalked by a mosquito.

Today I talk about why small creative agencies make better partners for big companies.
When I look around at my direct competition – the small to mid-sized agency with grit, not necessarily a ‘name’ with years in the game – I see a lot to be inspired and motivated by.

I wrote previously about B-Reel and their incredible two-week turnaround developing a ticket-buying bot for Amex. It’s an excellent example of how a small team, with a small 2-week sprint timeframe, can conjure more ingenuity, more creativity, and more work.

From a mini agency’s perspective wooing a big client is a momentous deal. You can take those big ideas you’ve been stewing over and apply them to a bigger budget. You can take the earnest work ethic you’ve treated smaller projects with, and apply it at scale. You get the thrill of big work while still working somewhere you know everyone’s name, and what exactly it is that they do.

But big clients have the most to gain from small agencies: you get people who are hungry to prove themselves, who have riskier ideas, and who don’t believe it’s beneath them to work on minor projects.

Small is mighty.

Growth is great too, and it’s a natural symptom of doing good work, so it should be seen as a metric of doing well. But growth shouldn’t be cultivated for the sheer sake of being bigger; it shouldn’t be the goal.

Small is a good place to be.

Just ask Sub Rosa, a New York agency so committed to the idea of being small that they signed a 15-year lease for their 50-desk studio. Why? So they can maintain their culture, their nimbleness and avoid getting on the eternal quest for growth. Keep your team light, tight and able to move fast and you’ll have a team that’s more creative, committed and flexible.

Do you believe small creative agencies have their greatest work ahead of them? There certainly are plenty of big brands who could do with some great work in front of them.

Tristan VelascoComment