Shel Holtz wonders whether smaller agencies may have the edge. I agree, and have long held the view that the best consultancies continue to operate out of one room. (I’ve also been re-reading EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, the celebrated – if unduly pessimistic – economic critique of growth from the 1970s.)
That said, you need to set up on your own to realise the power of working for a brand name. You know you’re as good as you ever were, and you’re now working for a fraction of your previous consultancy’s fees, but the larger clients and the bigger budgets elude you. Buyers of PR services can be risk averse and so prefer the bigger name.
Who wants to tell the chief executive that you’ve procured cheap PR services? You want to say you’ve hired the best. So everyone colludes for the time being in admiring the emperor’s new clothes. The moral of the story for independents is probably to raise your fees and to build your own networks.