In a panel session on small versus large agencies, Frances Green, managing director of Green & Pleasant Events, said that small agencies could be more flexible than larger ones, as there were fewer established hoops to jump through. "I think when you’re starting out you have to take more risks for the business to grow and for you to find your way. I think for larger agencies this is more difficult as you have a certain legacy to uphold."
Luke Flett, global head of marketing at Ashfield Meetings & Events agreed, but added there were other ways to diversify and grow. "Big agencies can have sub brands, where they try things that are more creative, for example, on a much smaller scale. We have launched SPARK thinking, which has helped us diversify what we do and explore new avenues."
While Green said there was sometimes a perception in the industry that smaller agencies can’t do big events, she argued that it was a case of building trust. "As a small agency, we start small and build up. I think bigger agencies have more resources to handle huge tenders straight up, but we start small."
Flett said that while some corporates gravitate towards large agencies for big events for financial peace of mind, Ashfield Meetings would never rest of its laurels. "Whatever size you are, you’re only as good as your last event. We have a lot of clients so we spend a lot of time training people to work on different accounts so we can offer the best service possible."
Career progression and training
In terms of career progressions, Green said it was likely to be less structured in a small agency. "There’s pros and cons to both small and large agencies. While there’s less of structured career path working for a small agency, you are able to grow and develop with the agency and make a mark in developing the culture of that business."
For Flett, career progression in large agencies is clear-cut, but he argues that as you grow, other challenges emerge. "We’re a global agency, that means to have to maintain our brand across different cultures. It’s something we work extremely hard on so that we can ensure we get it right for our clients."
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