A colleague of mine from long ago – someone who helped start my career in PR – wrote me an email the other day which I didn’t fully understand. He said, “The big merger between Omnicom and Publicis has to be great for you!” Being a very small agency, I was puzzled about what he was referring to and how the coming together of two giant agencies would benefit RL&A, until I thought about it for a while.
Having started my career at one of the world’s largest PR agencies, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum and I can say without hesitation that on most days, small is better. At least for me, it is. Small means we are less process driven, which allows us the freedom to be more creative in our strategy without having to self-edit. (This is not to say we have NO processes, just that we don’t get hung up on the process vs. the end goal.) Small means my partner and I still get to be involved in the doing vs. the overseeing and our clients benefit from the hands-on attention of senior management on their business. Small means we have the ability to adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace. Small means we can have more control over our destiny.
Bigger isn’t always better – think about it. How do we feel about big banks, big airlines, big utility companies, big cable providers, big healthcare providers?
There’s no doubt that big PR firms can sometimes do great things – just by their size alone they can have great influence and the power to make change. Some clients will just work better with bigger agencies and some will appreciate what a small agency can offer them – which I believe is what my colleague was referring to with his remark, along with the potential fallout from conflicts of interest that may arise from this latest merger. In the end, size does matter, and I’ll stick with being hands on, streamlined, and quick to innovate—in other words—small in size, big on results.