Independent vs network agencies: the power of the mid-sized PR firm
Peter Prodromou, president and CEO of Racepoint Global, believes the mid-sized agency is in the strongest position to drive influence for big brands compared to the “rigid structures” of large PR firms.
As communications professionals, we spend a lot of time telling clients about how the media has changed. They’re doing more with less, turning stories around faster and taking full advantage of online publishing.
It sometimes feels like influential media figures are able to come out of seemingly nowhere by simply opening shop and finding the right audience. Because of these changes, the way communicators must work has changed as well.
It should be no surprise that for a faster moving, social media-driven media landscape, agencies designed to meet that pace and reach influencers where they are, are the ones who are poised for success.
Despite this, old biases and common wisdom sometimes prevail and clients are drawn towards huge, monolithic agencies that are not kitted out for the task at hand.
They choose an aircraft carrier, when what they need is a speedboat. The truth is mid-sized agencies are well positioned to drive influence for even the largest of brands because of their smaller size.
The way content is consumed has changed. There is little barrier between print and online, social and traditional media. Large agencies are, by necessity, filled with divisions and rigid structures.
This can create situations where aligning a campaign across media can be unwieldy – a situation avoided by smaller firms where an integrated model that reflects the realities of today’s media landscape is simply a natural fit.
Earned media experts are working alongside social media wizards who interface daily with a well-honed paid media team. And the democratisation of creative and productivity tools means that a clever team can deliver results that belie their small size.
At my own firm, Racepoint Global, we’ve been able to use this model to service the world’s largest clients, building client relationships with household names across the technology, healthcare, and consumer spaces.
Global brands care less about how many offices you have and more about how effective you can be and how quickly you can pivot to reflect changing media and market trends.
Mid-sized firms hit a sweet spot that clients are looking for – the resources to accomplish the task at hand, but a personal touch not found among larger competitors.
They know that the people they meet at the pitch are likely to be the people working on their account each and every day. They know that their agency is not beholden to a holding company mentality and has the flexibility they need to try new things and swim outside their lanes.
In a world where anyone with the right media strategy and a resonant voice can arise overnight and dominate a conversation, companies need a communications partner that can quickly change course. They need a partner with a personal touch who deeply understands their business. And they need a partner designed around the realities of how we share information today. Successful communications in 2017 and beyond will be driven by firms that are the right size for the job at hand.
- If you liked this opinion piece, you might be interested in reading Aaron Petras’ thoughts on the holding company model: Opinion: Why PR needs to move away from the ‘holding company model’