Why Choose a Boutique Over a Large PR Firm? 

Potential clients sometimes ask us why they should consider a smaller PR boutique over a much larger PR firm when seeking outside strategic communications advisors. We offer our perspective in the form of the following five reasons: 
1. Small firms are composed of seasoned professionals: 
Small public relations agencies are typically founded by seasoned professionals with decades of experience working on large accounts at large agencies. These PR pros choose to start or join a boutique-sized consultancy as it offers an entrepreneurial approach with less bureaucracy, and gives them more say in deciding which clients to work with. The smaller scale also puts these executives closer to their clients, enabling them to spend more time helping clients achieve their business goals — instead of managing large teams and doing administrative work. 
2. Small firms provide more senior executive time: 
A potential cause of client dissatisfaction can occur when a large firm pulls a “bait and switch” approach to serving the client once the business is won: A potential client will hear a pitch from seasoned senior executives, but once the contact is signed, will interact only with junior personnel. What’s worse, the client may only be left to wonder whether the senior executives are involved at all in setting the strategic direction, supervising the less-experienced staff or reviewing draft documents. Whereas clients of smaller firms are able to interact consistently with senior executives  and should expect and deserve their direct attention throughout the engagement. 
3. Small firms offer specialized experience, knowledge and/or services: 
The reason some small firms thrive despite their size is due to their employees and areas of specialty. When small firms specialize in financial communications or crisis management, the communications team is usually composed of people with extensive backgrounds in that specialty. Clients have said they’d rather strategize with someone with a profound knowledge of a situation or industry, than someone who worked lightly on accounts across various scenarios and industries.   
4. Small firms cater to a limited number of clients: 
Small firms typically focus on a limited number of clients. This point goes back to a small firms ability to provide senior members for all clients, rather than push the work especially for smaller clients — down to junior team members. 
5. Small firms can offer greater value and more rational fees: 
Sometimes everything comes down to money. With a small firm, a client should expect more rational billing rates and project fees due to lower overhead. Billing rates at the largest PR firms can resemble those of the top lawyers at the largest law firms, leading to much sticker shock when the first bill arrives. 
The boutique vs. huge PR powerhouse dynamic is similar to the “shop local/eat local” 
approach many consumers are increasingly taking when they deliberately seek alternatives to a huge supermarket. By choosing to apply the “support your local small business” approach to the realm of professional services, you may find a better fit with the value  and values  you are seeking from your public relations partner.