In today’s dynamic business landscape, prominent corporations appear to be increasingly seeking out smaller agencies and freelance professionals to unlock greater value. The traditional barriers that once hindered such collaborations are dissolving, enabling clients to tap into a more diverse and skilled talent pool globally. This shift has enabled the delivery of exceptional creative work at a faster pace and at a more reasonable cost. This change is good and, one could argue, necessary.
However, we have found that managing these new relationships presents its own unique challenges. A new mindset and approach is necessary–for both clients and agencies–to make these partnerships mutually beneficial. Businesses and agencies must learn to work collaboratively towards a common goal, prioritising quality work and fair compensation. When businesses empower agencies to grow, agencies will in turn help the brand grow–a symbiotic cycle.
To achieve this, it’s imperative that the mindset shifts from “small agency, low costs” to one that focuses on “small agency, big value”. Here’s how we can do this:
Communication is key
Small agencies are known for pushing creative boundaries, coming up with innovative ideas, and delivering exceptional creative work. However, we often find that clients admire their agency’s bravery in theory yet feel uneasy when the actual work pushes a boundary. To avoid this hurdle, it’s important to establish upfront communication with your agency regarding your risk tolerance. By cultivating an environment of trust and transparency, both parties can achieve optimal outcomes through open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to adapt, ultimately leading to the creation of long-lasting partnerships.
Collaborate for maximum impact
Small agencies tend to adopt a network model in their approach, utilising specialised and experienced partners to bring the best industry talent to work on your account. While larger agencies can also use this approach, smaller agencies are more transparent about it. Small agencies don’t necessarily wish to grow in scale; they want to push their creative output so that you get the best return on your investment. By paying for the value of their output and not simply the hours they worked, you empower agency growth and allow them to focus on delivering maximum impact.
The cost of agility
Working with a smaller agency often means less red tape, simpler processes and a more agile approach. However, due to the fact that small and large agency business models fundamentally differ, so does the way in which projects are managed. As such, both the agency and client must establish an efficient and effective flow of information and agree upon reasonable timelines and processes to ensure the best possible product. By working closely together, both parties can ensure that the project is executed to the highest standard, within the desired timeframe, and with maximum efficiency.
Working with smaller agencies not only makes sense for businesses, SME’s contribute to 39% of the country’s GDP so when a small business grows, the economy is impacted positively, too. With an eye towards innovation, collaboration, and value creation, businesses and agencies can harness the potential of this exciting new landscape to drive growth and success that reaches far beyond the work itself.
Words by Shelley Atkinson, CEO at Murmur.