Why straying from the big agencies could do wonders for your business and brand.

The pandemic has taught us all many new lessons. And every business has had to take a long hard look at themselves, both inside and out. It doesn't matter is you're one of the big network agencies or a small business marketing agency. There's change everywhere.

For brands, this represents an amazing opportunity to reappraise not just what you're doing and how you're doing it, but also with whom. Especially since many new breed of creative businesses have arrived.


Do you care where your ideas come from? If it's your brand, then you should. Because the insights you're fed, the research that's done for you, and the creative work served up, should be the freshest. And this is one of the problems with your big agencies.

Don't get me wrong, the people in these agencies are smart people. But where they're working and how they're working taints what they produce.

If the agency was a dairy, they'd be adding stuff to the milk. Proprietary tools, agency methodologies, some scientific 5-step process to generate ideas...you get the idea. The hyperbole is easy to swallow, and it all sounds good, but your brand is one of 50 that's getting the same intensively-reared brand treatment.

In some cases, you can even recognise the agency by its output.

And look at the environment where your brand is being reared. Beyond the glittering awards displayed in the stylish reception areas, the agencies are often squeezed for space, open-plan, noisy, and not the least bit inspiring. Indeed, most creatives opt to work outside of the agency for this very reason.

So what does a free-range option look like?

Okay, so the world is currently working from home, but new breed businesses (or small business marketing agency) don't see the need to have an extravagant HQ. Let alone stealthily charge clients for the rent or desks space. They've already figured out working remotely not only makes economic sense in the reality of the world we live in today, it gives them the freedom to work where they're most inspired...all the time, every day.

And that's got to be a good thing for your brand and the sanity of anyone tasked with working on it.

The thinking that goes into solving your brand and business problems is more wholesome too. Processed thinking is replaced by free-thinking. This allows experts to share more of themselves, their experience, their entrepreneurism and personality. The end result means a solution is found organically and that will invariably lead to somewhere new and fresh.


It's true there's some comfort to be found nestling your brand in the cosy confines of a big agency roster. You know you have people working on your business, you get to know your team, and you may even get taken out on a jolly or two (post covid of course).

But here's the thing with those big agencies. The amount of attention you get from the agency is dependant on how big your account is...or put another way, how much you're business is worth to the agency.

And even then, there's no guarantee the amount you pay will afford you the service and dedication your brand deserves.

So is your brand safe in the herd? Or perhaps it's worth straying from how things used to be done. Imagine the attention your brand would get if it was the biggest client working with a new small business marketing agency?


There are phenomenally talented people working in big agencies. I can't argue with that. And yes, you will have to pay for them. And yes, they're extremely well paid. But will you always get access to those people? Or will you most likely meet them at the pitch stage and perhaps one or two meetings a year?

The best people are always in demand. But when you have 50 clients all wanting a superstar thinking on their work, the reality is it's not really that feasible. Access to the best people is an expensive luxury.

So does that mean the talent in a small business marketing agency or creative businesses isn't quite as good?

On the contrary. Here's the the thing.

Since Covid-19 struck, the advertising industry has had to haemorrhage staff. Wage bills unbalance the books and some of the industry's finest thinkers found themselves surplus to the CFO's requirements.

There are now more superstar creatives, strategists, producers, client services, designers, editors, data strategists, art workers, project managers...the list goes on... than are inside the big creative agencies.

That means they are available and hungry to work on your brands. And new breed creative businesses use these superstars to create bespoke teams that are handpicked to work alongside you to solve your problems.

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, the new breed businesses have the world's biggest talent pool at their disposal, and now they represent better value for money and you'll have direct access to them because your project is the most important thing on their 'To Do' list.


My own business, OUTCREATE is one of the new breed. Having spent over 20 years working as a Creative, Copywriter, Creative Director and Executive Creative Director in some of adland's biggest and most awarded agencies, I have taken the worst possible moment in recent history, to set up a business to give clients not only the work they need, but the attention they deserve too. Primarily I'm doing this for outdoor brands and organisations because that's where my passion lies.

But I know of many others who are doing the same as me. Starting up, finding clients, making great work, creating or enhancing brands, standing on their own two feet and enjoying the directness of it all.

The clients are loving it. And more are starting to flock this way too.


If you want to know more aboutOUTCREATE and are keen know how we can help your brand or organisation, please get in touch. hello@outcreate.io


Rob Steeles is the Founder and Creative Director of OUTCREATE. He has over 20 years' experience as an award-winning creative and strategic thinker within some of the world's most creative agencies.