Bigger Is Not Always Better / by Kia Jarmon

Ever heard the saying, “the bigger the better”?  Well, that statement only sounds good in theory because bigger does not always mean better.  I remember going to a techie event and the panelists talked about the amazing tech talent we have in Nashville but many individuals would rather pay for the Silicon Valley or New York firms.  The reality is that sometimes you will spend a large amount of money to a large firm and receive less of the results.  Why does this happen?  Because we all think that if we align ourselves with a larger the company they must have better connections or opportunities than a smaller company.  This is NOT TRUE!

As a PR entrepreneur the question comes around a couple of times a year how my company varies from others.  Quite frankly I can’t always answer that question fairly because I am not sure of the intricacies of the other companies.  However, my answer usually goes something like this.  “The MEPR Agency is a boutique public relations and brand management firm and the word boutique has less to do with size and more to do with experience.”  Owning a boutique agency means that I do not handle competing clients, I understand all of the traditional roles of our company as well as how to step outside of the box, I am very focused on my client’s entire business model (not just their PR), and they have a direct relationship with me, even if I am not the lead on the account.

Here is the overall idea…if you shop at a large department store (and as small as Nashville is) you are sure to walk into a networking event and someone has on the exact same shirt, skirt, suit, or shoes.  However, when you walk into a boutique you are assured that there are only a limited amount of people with the same item and chances are that you will not run into them within your regular circle.  If you want to “look” different and stand out in a crowd more than likely a boutique experience is for you.

Here are the pros to going boutique:

  • Lower overhead: you are not paying for multiple staff members who might not actually be providing a service on your account.  Your administrative fees are less and you are paying for more work than cost of doing business.

  • Experience driven: you are more likely to have the experienced team in the company working directly on your campaign and everyone is contributing to your success.  Contractors are usually brought in to ensure that you have the best results to meet your needs.

  • Early Adopters: you have a higher likelihood of working with early adopters because individuals who are working in a boutique setting are more likely to stay abreast of the trends, introduce them (as necessary) to clients, and implement them without hesitation.  This person also understands that every trend is not important and discards those with no expense to the client.

  • Out of the box: there are a lot less gatekeepers in a boutique agency allowing more opportunity for out of the box campaigns to be implemented.

If you are a business owner looking to hire a service provider be sure to give an opportunity to a boutique or more intimate firm during your bid phase.  Of course if they are not able to handle the bandwidth of the project but still would like to work with them, work with the larger company to hire them a subcontractor.

Remember, bigger is NOT always better!