The Benefits of a Multi-Specialty Boutique Agency
Written by Jason on March 19, 2010
Kwittken & Company’s approach to the practice of public relations can best be summed up in the words of R. Buckminster Fuller, the American architect, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. In his book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1969), he writes:
“If…nature required man to be a specialist she would have made him so by having him born with one eye and a microscope attached to it. What nature needed man to be was adaptive in many if not any direction…Mind apprehends and comprehends the general principles governing flight and deep sea diving, and man puts on his wings or his lungs, then takes them off when not using them. The specialist bird is greatly impeded by its wings when trying to walk. The fish cannot come out of the sea and walk upon land, for birds and fish are specialists.”
Like Buckminster Fuller, Kwittken & Company eschews the concept of specialization. The common industry notion is that when an agency is smaller, it is more efficient to specialize in one industry. Hence there is no shortage of boutique agencies specializing in food, technology, healthcare, home goods, social media, financial services, travel, fashion, beauty, and anything else you can imagine.
But what is the true cost of such “efficiency?” Kwittken & Company believes the cost is stagnant, uninspired and derivative work. Even worse, the agency becomes subservient to the industry or category itself and has to put its own reputation within the category above and beyond the reputation of its clients.
If an agency specializes in one industry then it has to always “play by the rules” of that industry. It has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, because the agency itself becomes the very epitome of the status quo. It can’t afford to rock the boat or ever challenge the conventions of the industry. It certainly can’t represent a client that is trying to do things differently—to innovate. After all how would the firm’s other clients react to such heresy? In the end, boutique agencies simply can’t take risks. Clients may come and go, but once the agency loses its reputation, then all is lost.
An antidote to the traditional boutique agency, Kwittken & Company is a multi-specialty boutique firm, working within a wide variety of different disciplines and industries. All agency members are required to work with a diverse client base, where they get broad and differentiated experiences. The result is fresh, original and creative programming, as well as big-idea development. It is this unique, boundary-less approach that makes us “The Intelligent Communications Agency.”
Our industry and category agnostic approach allows us to put our clients first. We don’t care if we challenge the conventional thinking of an industry…in fact that’s what makes us get out of the bed each morning!
As a result of this specialty (or we should say anti-specialty), we have come to realize that we are ideally suited to working with companies that value non-traditional thinking above and beyond specialization. As a result the overwhelming majority of our clients tend to be industry challengers or innovators
But as a matter of fact, multi-specialization is not only beneficial to challengers, pioneers or iconoclasts, but really to any organization that needs to reach multiple constituencies simultaneously.
It’s no surprise that lots of companies need to communicate with different audiences. For example a B2B company may need to reach out to enterprise customers, mainstream consumers, internal audiences, investors and the government all at the same time. If the company is big enough, it can hire multiple specialist agencies or hire a large global agency with multiple practice areas (essentially the same thing as hiring a bunch of smaller agencies—except they receive one, very large invoice). But what about smaller to mid-sized companies or any company that can’t afford this option?
Therefore similar to challenger brands, smaller or mid-sized organizations are also best served working with a multi-specialty boutique agency that can simultaneously and effectively reach multiple stakeholder audiences and constituencies with a single team. A strong team at a multi-specialist boutique (like Kwittken & Company) is just as comfortable executing B2C campaigns as they are corporate thought-leadership, B2B or IR programs.
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