Size matters, but not the way you might think. Senior copywriter James Maher explains why.
Like Lionel Messi, Singapore or the Raspberry Pi, smaller creative agencies punch well above their weight. Sure, they’re faster, cheaper and more flexible — but that’s just the tip of a modestly proportioned iceberg.
I work for Dare West — Dare London’s Bristol-based kid brother and exactly the kind of smaller agency I’m talking about — so of course I’d say that. But I’m not the only one.
According to Jeff Rosenblum (author and Questus founder), because everyone at a smaller agency is exposed to a wider range of tactics and tools, their focus is on client goals — not just their defined roles. As Rosenblum puts it, “Flexibility is wired in … from birth”, and this flexibility “grows fresh ideas”.
Also, he notes, smaller agencies “tend to be younger and less beholden to the old ways of doing business”. By placing a premium on culture, communication and team spirit, they’re able to “fail quickly and turn those small failures into major wins”.
And don’t think you’re missing out by downsizing your agency. Smaller outfits can still offer big-agency bells and whistles. As Will Burns explains in Forbes, “Production values are still valued at smaller agencies, but they don’t have to staff the entire production process in-house, they can outsource some or all of it.”
Smaller agencies “tend to be younger and less beholden to the old ways of doing business”
So, if not every job needs a big agency, why aren’t more brands turning to smaller options? The trick lies in finding them. While the big boys fall over themselves to grab your attention, smaller gems are a little harder to unearth. As Dorothy Mead of blur Group points out, big agencies “have the budget to promote themselves in major channels”, whereas, “Small agencies have to rely upon word-of-mouth, and other below-the-line activities to make themselves heard.”
At Dare West, we’ve never been shy about honking our own horn. And, with happy customers ranging from tech startup BulbThings to bestselling author SJ Watson — plus recent pitch wins for London’s Institute of Imagination and Curzon Cinemas Artificial Eye under our belts — we reckon we’ve got a lot to shout about.
Thankfully it’s now easier than ever for brands to digitally find and compare pocket-sized powerhouses like ours. As Mead rightly concludes, “You buy everything else online, why not business services?”
As I’m a decent sort of chap, let me save you the bother of a Google search. You can find Dare West at our brand new darewest.com site — and in real life at Bristol’s Paintworks — where we believe small is beautiful.
(We’re big enough to know our strengths too. So, if we think your project needs a different set of skills, we’ll happily introduce you to our friends at Dare London.)