What are the benefits of working with a small PR agency?

By Jodie Affleck | September 10, 2020

When you are searching for a PR agency, choosing one which you believe can tick all your boxes and deliver effective results is key. For many, this has meant seeking out large, well-known firms which have extensive resources, expansive reach and lots of contacts in the address book. However, bigger does not always equal better. Small, independent PR and marketing agencies are increasingly finding themselves being approached by businesses of all sizes and winning significant accounts. But what is it about smaller agencies that makes them so desirable? 

Greater focus on you 

To a small agency like ourselves, every client is important and valuable. Therefore, a lot of time and energy is invested in building that relationship and ensuring the service we offer will be effective, efficient and tailored to meet their exact needs. Our size also enables us to work as an ‘embedded agency’ that sits as a part of an in-house team, helping us to better understand a business goals and way of working, whilst remaining an external contractor and retaining that vital objective viewpoint. 


Specialised approach 

Rather than delivering generic PR or marketing services, many small firms typically specialise in one area. This might be focusing on a particular service, such as digital marketing or crisis comms, or providing a full-service offer to a particular sector. For example, by specialising in industries relating to the built environment, we can concentrate on understanding the wants and needs of the related markets. This enables us to deliver more strategic and specific outputs for our clients, and often act in an advisory capacity as we have a broad oversight of what is happening in the sector. Similarly, having fewer people and fewer clients allows us to ensure a very personal level of service that reflects our values as a business and our dedication to high-quality, informed work. In short, we know who we are and what makes us unique! 


More flexible and creative 

Small agencies typically operate with a whole-team mentality, allowing them to draw on the talents and experiences of every staff member, as well as bring fresh and differing perspectives to every challenge. This not only fosters higher creativity but allows teams to be more agile to the demands of their clients and to approach work in a flexible way. A common concern with employing a smaller agency is that it will not be able to act quickly when additional services are required, or production needs to scale up. However, offering a more personal approach has enabled us to build a network of skilled freelancers which allow us to add capacity or skills quickly, where required. This drives greater value for our clients and brings additional experience and expertise to the table.  


It’s not just business, it’s personal 

We have also found that our team is fully invested in the success and reputation of our own business, working hard to deliver for our clients above and beyond normal expectations if needed. We highly value the contribution that every single member of our team makes, resulting in a mutually supportive community based on friendship, trust, hard work and collaboration. 


Greater access to senior counsel and input 

Ever met someone at a pitch, only to never see them again? Bigger agencies have a tendency of sending in the big guns in the initial pitching stages and then handing over the work to a different team to deliver. With a small agency, this rarely, if ever, happens. Firstly, because there aren’t enough people to do that! But also because of the nature of working in a smaller team leads to a real understanding of the importance of collaboration At Smith Goodfellow, we very much have a ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach and our directors and more experienced members of staff are always visible to our clients and are all heavily involved in the day-to-day operations. 


Stronger relationships 

Knowing exactly who you are working with and having a single point of contact throughout the entire process is vital to ensure good working relationships between your business and your agency. This allows for more effective collaboration, honest communication and just a more enjoyable and productive experience all round. Additionally, with fewer accounts to manage, smaller teams can invest more time in getting to understand your needs and goals, ensuring more a personable and personalised service.  


Stronger connections 

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And big companies know more people, right? Well, not necessarily. The personal approach to communication talked about above is also applicable to the networking potential of small businesses. Small firms are more likely to invest in having a small but significant number of high-quality relationships within their specialised area, locality and beyond which they can leverage to the benefit of their clients.  


Better value for money 

Reduced overheads and fewer employees mean that small agencies are typically cheaper than their larger counterparts. Fewer people also mean less levels of approval or numbers of people that need to be involved with the setting up and running of accounts, allowing for more efficient and agile operations, and driving further value. This is particularly useful for smaller businesses who recognise the value of PR and marketing but do not have access to vast amounts of resources to carry it out, and of course this can be advantageous to larger businesses too.  


Greater access to talent 

Having a smaller team helps to foster a greater sense of unity and natural collaboration that simply wouldn’t be possible in an agency with lots of people. Whilst the pandemic has forced many large businesses to get onboard with the idea of flexible working, it is something that comes much more naturally to smaller businesses and they are less likely to driven by the out-dated presenteeism that may be present in some bigger agencies. Both benefits are key to attracting and retaining talented staff and an important part of our company culture at Smith Goodfellow. We have found that this flexibility has enabled our staff to have a better work/life balance and sense of wellbeing and to have the freedom to explore interests and take opportunities that develop them further both personally and professionally. This adds clear value to our business which we, in turn, pass on to our clients through our high-quality services.   


Small but mighty 

Whilst the debate of big vs small agencies is not new, as the world shifts into more adaptable and agile ways of working and communicating, sticking to convention may not always be the most effective approach. Small, independent agencies can not only offer the same level and types of services as larger companies but can often be better suited to meet a businesses’ needs, provide greater flexibility and drive better value for money 


Intrigued what this small team can do for your business? Get in touch! 

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