Small consultancies can still have a global reach…

Charles Trevail makes too many assumptions for me to feel comfortable that he truly understands the makeup of many of his smaller competitors (Letters, DW 3 April).

There are obvious strong arguments in favour of larger groups, but it is also the case that most larger groups have built their reputation on great work by key individuals.

Larger consultancies are repeatedly guilty of sending in their big hitters to inspire and win major accounts, only to pass them over to the less experienced team to work on once the client is secure.

Trevail discusses the ethnocentricities that come with smaller groups. My company, while very small, offers a good, tangible argument to contradict this point. Within our team, every individual has worked successfully in three different continents on branding projects and I’m sure many other smaller consultancies can boast similar professional biographies.

I have wondered, at major consultancy meetings in New York, as 30 people sit around a boardroom table talking about a project, why it takes so many people so long to make such elementary decisions.

Then it occurs to me that if a group has hundreds of people with extravagant job titles each needs to have their say to justify their position. And so a decision that should have been resolved during a half-hour consultation with the client has taken half the afternoon, cost thousands in salaries and knackered everybody out. Then the client pays for those ‘contingencies’.

I like the flexibility that comes with smaller groups. The commitment they give to doing a great job for their clients and the fact that the people selling ideas are the same people who wrote them – and who will ultimately be in charge of developing them.

There is a place for both large and small in the industry. And this is down to the varying approaches of clients and what they feel they need to satisfy targets.

But, to assume that all smaller groups fall into one pigeon-hole of the eager and inexperienced who lack resources is misguided.

Steve Lucker

Partner

Social (UK)

London N1

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