THE BIG PITCH: When your company is choosing a PR agency, is size a factor you consider?

Charles Ardai

Juno Online Services

New York

For Juno, size is absolutely not a factor when we look at agencies. It's a question of how serious agencies are about doing day-to-day tactical PR. Do they care about clients and getting press coverage or do they just want to add our name to their roster and our retainer to their balance sheet? Will they take time to learn about our company and competitors and use that knowledge to generate interest from editors? It's amazing how few agencies are willing and able to do this, particularly for technology clients. Other factors include how smart and creative the people are and how long they stay on the account. But we've seen that there's virtually no correlation between size and capabilities.

Rich Long

Brigham Young University

Provo, UT

In the corporate vineyard, I worked with five of the world's largest agencies and many smaller firms. Size alone was a poor predictor of agency success. Instead, we wanted to know who would work on our account day-to-day. What kind of chemistry would the agency generate with us? How important was our account to them? Was the agency near enough that we could be eyeball-to-eyeball in four to five hours? The bigger an agency, the greater chance of the bait and switch. Ketchum and Golin/Harris always showed up with the infantry and minimized the brass - one reason they kept our business.

Christine Bragale

Goodwill Industries International

Bethesda, MD

Nonprofits like Goodwill have to play with both to keep theIR mission in focus and their services well funded. Working with a boutique firm means more control and access - whether you're the client or a beneficiary of the client's generosity. Smaller firms partner with the corporate PR staff to craft a campaign. Consider your neighborhood baker: he knows that you pay his bills and remembers that you prefer your croissant crusty and warm with a slab of butter, hold the fat-free stuff, thanks At the same time, Goodwill counts on big firms to link us with corporate partners interested in helping us expand our career services and technology programs.

Adam Wolf

Internet Financial Network

New York

No, size does not matter. It's the quality and working styles of the people that will have the most impact on an agency's success. The personalities of the account team and how they mesh with the client play a vital role.

The ability to develop a well-thought-out strategic plan and execute it can be a trait of a large or small agency. Likewise, there are excellent strategic thinkers at small boutique firms, as well as at the larger agencies.

For one client a smaller agency might be the right fit, whereas the same agency might not work as well with a different client

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