Small comms shops claim to have edge over big boys

Independent comms shops have an advantage over the larger PR groups in times of economic hardship, new agency founders have claimed.

'No profit target': Chris McCafferty
'No profit target': Chris McCafferty

Burson-Marsteller's former UK CEO Jonathan Jordan said that fewer fiscal processes at smaller agencies mean that bosses can develop new services and continue to invest in people, while big groups might be forced to tighten their belts.

Kaper's founder Chris McCafferty agreed: 'An advantage of being independent and not being in one of the big groups is that we don't have a profit target to perform to. We are a profitable agency, but we're not part of group where you have to hit profit margins at all costs.'

One agency boss noted that independent firms had far more opportunity to make strategic investments and acquisitions during the downturn due to the lack of short-term pressure from shareholders and the financial markets.

McCafferty was also convinced that smaller firms could operate with more dexterity and responsiveness than the major industry players. He said: 'Typically, smaller agencies can be better at innovating than some of the bigger firms that tend to fall back on legacy. Larger firms tend to have their way of doing things and tend to be slower to adapt.'

For more on this debate, see Senior agency bosses go it alone

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