Just like every new hotel popping up seems to describe itself as ‘boutique’, so it seems that more and more PR agencies are ‘niche’. In the past, large agencies always had an advantage attracting clients with bigger budgets. But these days, many clients are refining their processes to favour smaller agencies. So why the shift?
Clients find great comfort in choosing agencies they know have direct experience with their specific audience, sector and who understand their market position. Niche agencies focus on their expertise and don’t pretend they can do anything else. They know their skill set and are constantly improving their positioning, but remain focused on what they know best.
In our experience, clients today expect a higher level of input, advice and a partnership approach from their comms agency. Not only do they want the entire team to understand their business, their story and their technology at an in-depth level, but they want their PR agency to be an extension of their in-house communications team. While many of the larger PR agencies have huge teams, all working on multiple clients in different areas, I think more businesses are questioning retaining an agency that doesn’t have specific experience in their sector.
A specialist agency invests in hiring talent that not only has a background in writing and journalism, but may also come from your specific industry. This ensures the writing being done on your behalf is in a voice familiar to your audience, using language that really connects with your customers. By choosing a niche agency who is immersed in your field, you can be sure that they truly understand your business, know what works and what doesn’t, steer you to the best opportunities, and predict challenges before they occur. In other words, it means you can focus on your business while your PR team focuses on driving strategies to drive business. This will not only be a better all-round experience which gives better results, but one which is better value for money, too.
Then there’s the issue of experience. With many larger agencies, junior or mid-level account staff are likely to be the ones servicing accounts while senior, more experienced team members provide strategic direction and input as and when needed. At a specialist agency like Firework, the account handlers you meet at your initial briefing meeting are those you deal with on a day to day basis.
Another core competency of specialist agencies is that they have excellent working relationships with the media in the sectors in which they operate. At Firework, our main specialism is technology and we’ve built up great relationships and knowledge of media in this field.
The bottom line? There is no one-size-fits-all approach for companies when searching for a communications partner. Large agencies offer a breadth of services and scope that for many clients is exactly the kind of resource they need – and which smaller agencies simply cannot offer. However, the days of large agencies automatically winning the business based on team size and the brand over the door are largely over.
If you want to learn how Firework can help your business grow, feel free to get in touch to discuss your challenges and goals in more detail…