RESPONSIVENESS - A SMALL AGENCY VIRTUE?
Nucco Client Services Partner, Cassy Waugh, explores the responsiveness of small agencies.
Cassy’s background includes client side at Bloomberg, before moving into Agency world where she has worked in Client Services within digital and integrated agencies. Including Digitas, Havas, The M&C Saatchi Group and Wunderman leading client engagements on brands like IKEA, Visa, Vodafone, Nissan and Aviva. Outside work Cassy runs community fundraising events - including the local fireworks display and an ongoing music event that raises money for cancer charities. Cassy is also a proud mental health first aider.
Is it a truth universally acknowledged that smaller agencies are more agile, flexible and nimble and therefore more responsive than their larger siblings?
I grew up in big network agencies, and will always be thankful for the mentors I had, the opportunities they afforded me and the breadth of clients and projects I had the pleasure to experience. I learnt a lot, but there is a reason I now prefer to work at smaller agencies. A big part of this is the responsiveness we can offer our clients in a way rare in a larger agency.
With bigger agencies, ways of working are often set in stone, within a rigid process. For example, resources are only booked on a set day for the following week, briefs need to go through a sign off process that can take a week involving senior folk it’s hard to pin down. At smaller agencies, and certainly at Nucco, the senior team are very hands on and are involved from early on in the conversations with clients. We can move very quickly from client kick off to briefing creatives without the red tape and multiple layers of sign off and input. We can move mountains in short amounts of time, as our clients have experienced.
Clients love the accessibility of senior teams at smaller agencies, and the senior team love being hands on and solving clients problems - the joy and passion of the agency leaders shines through. The breadth of the senior team's experience is brought to play on a daily basis for the benefit of our clients.
Our model of working is built around a core team surrounded by a flexible pool of resources, which means we can move quickly and nimbly to build a team perfectly aligned to specific clients needs, in a way bigger agencies just don’t have the freedom to.
Our culture is also a key component of this responsiveness. Without the silos of bigger agencies, we work together regularly, we know each other's strengths and how to bring them out of each other. We come together quickly to solve problems and agency politics aren’t at play - we’re too small for big egos - so the focus is always on our clients' needs. Problems come to the fore and are dealt with quickly by a team that has autonomy and power to solve them, rather than having to go up chains of command to change ways of working or structures. I’ve experienced the frustration of working within a large agency framework that is just not working anymore, it’s like turning an ocean liner to effect change.
Our size also means we’re all individually invested in the success of the agency and this comes across in every decision we make.
I’d like to leave you with something to consider - The Ringlemann Effect - which psychologists have been exploring since 1913 when discussing group productivity.
Ringlemann discovered “the inverse relationship that exists between the size of a group and the magnitude of group members’ individual contribution to the completion of a task”.
Put simply, as a team gets larger, each individual team member puts in less effort.
More recent research has demonstrated that individuals are less likely to decrease their effort in a team, if they believe that their individual effort is identifiable, if the task has personal relevance and the team itself is tight knit - all characteristics that exist within a smaller sized agency.
At Nucco, the level of responsibility and accountability for each team member is clear and higher than at similar levels at larger agencies, and so everyone is always determined to do their best for the work, the agency and ultimately the clients.