Big vs Small; Cost vs Value

11 June 2015
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I was thinking the other day about what makes a marketing agency great to work with, and which criteria a client would use to make the choice (if money were no object). Sure you can hire a big name agency with swanky offices in Soho.  But that comes at a price.  If you’re a multinational in need of a global agency network, there is an argument for seeking this kind of brand partner – but that’s a very small minority of the companies out there with a real need to market themselves effectively.  Arguably, that’s lazy agency selection, because smarter alternatives are out there if you only look.

But money is an issue in our increasingly commoditised world.  Too many decisions are boiled down to cost – and it really frustrates me. I don’t see how creative talent and brilliant ideas can be ‘piled high and sold cheap’ in the way that tee-shirts can; especially when so much of the UK’s creative talent and great strategic marketing thinking is tied up in smaller, owner-managed agencies where the thrill of doing a great job for every client gives the agency its energy, and the service is truly personal.

When you know that many of these smaller, independent agencies have been established by brilliant people who have trodden the boards of London’s biggest marketing and advertising agencies – like Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA, Tequila – with astonishing pedigrees and a great back catalogue of work, it seems to make perfect sense to consider the real value for money in working with a smaller agency.

So, Big vs Small? Cost vs Value?

At a smaller, boutique agency every client is unique. Every client is special. So special in fact that your day-to- day contact is with the exceptional creatives and insightful strategists who are working on your account: experienced and knowledgeable experts who genuinely care about your success.

At SERIOUS we care so much about our clients’ success that we believe it only right to think outside the client brief and use our experience to ask searching questions only in the interests of improving the outcome.  We are unafraid to challenge. We’re happy to be brave. Because when it comes to creating successful brands, there’s little point in just being safe. Great marketing and effective advertising should make you think. Smile even. Certainly get you talking.

  • Who can remember when British Airways redesigned the tail fins of the entire fleet? The amount of chatter that caused was extraordinary! But it was brave. It was successful. I know who did that.
  • Does anyone remember Victoria Beckham, Gwen Stefani, Milla Jovovich et al donating their clothes for the Royal Marsden’s auction?  And they ran the shop too!  Again, it rather broke the mould and I know who did that too!
  • When 3Mobile festooned every High Street in flowers in a romantic Valentine’s gesture they netted £1.5m additional sales in a single week!  I know who was behind that!

At SERIOUS we have an extremely talented creative director in Chris Norton. He’s clever at strategic positioning, a fantastic copywriter, a big ideas sort of bloke who has done more great stuff for more brands than most. He’s the man behind the three examples above. Our clients really appreciate having his time on their accounts. I love working with him, and I really think you will too.

So next time you’re thinking about working with an agency consider your choice: wouldn’t you prefer all of the pros of a London agency, without the cons?

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