Does Size Really Matter?

Excellent time participating in the She Says panel Thursday night hosted in the beautiful bar/auditorium at JWT.

Topic was the “New Decade. New Agency”.

We got into an interesting discussion, at times fairly heated debate, about the benefits of small vs. large agencies.

As is often the case when you get a bunch of women together, the conversation was around whether size really matters. Only this time it was a slightly more PG version.


On the “Bigger is Better” side: more access to resources (particularly global), deep expertise in many vertical areas, and with the right dedicated team you can still feel an intimate and personal relationship with the people who work on your business. You also tend to get more formal training of the ranks so there is (sometimes) a greater level of professionalism.

Those on the Smaller is Smarter side cited: more senior people on the business (often the founders/principles), staff get trained in multiple areas because smaller staffs mean that everyone learns to be a Jack/Jane of all trades, and if you are a client more of your money goes towards financing the work and not necessarily the overhead of the Agency.

I am in favor of both. Growing up in the ranks in Account Management and Brand Consulting I worked for large Agencies (Grey Worldwide and Interbrand). I loved the resources and training that large agencies afforded, including a 3 year stint in the Grey Paris office. I also loved the blue chip clients (and their challenges) that these large agencies attracted (P&G, Kraft, Intel, IBM etc.).

Now that I am on the client side at Virgin Management, I’m a fan of small. In the development group that I work in, our start up culture and budgets work better with smaller, nimble agencies that think on their feet and where we get to deal directly with the senior people.

Whether you prefer big or small, one thing emerged clearly from the debate on Thursday which everyone agreed on.

Finding an agency with the right culture for your career or brand and one that also offers you great mentors – trumps any discussion of big vs. small.

So does size matter? Yes. But in the end, love conquers all.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

When choosing an Agency to work at or with…does size really matter?

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