Why I Love Boutique PR Agency Life

Lydia Fakhouri

PR and marketing agency

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One can certainly find both pros and cons to working for a large global PR agency, as well as a boutique PR agency. When I accepted my position with Vantage in 2008, I chose the boutique agency path and haven’t looked back. Here are a few reasons why:

I am creative and spontaneous. Most mornings I get up and I want eggs for breakfast. But sometimes I want a cantaloupe and Brie sandwich. Just like I like having this flexibility in my personal life, I like to have it in my career. Boutique agencies are small and nimble enough to listen to everyone’s ideas and figure out if they fit in with the client’s PR strategy. I have found that adding a little unexpected spark from a spontaneous creative idea can only improve a PR program.

I like working closely with people I can learn from. You can call me Captain Obvious for this one if you want, but a boutique agency gives you more access to senior management. We always have access to our SVP and CEO – let me tell you, this is rare! This has been an immense opportunity for me to learn from their guidance and grow as a professional very quickly. This goes both ways, too – I’ve really enjoyed working with entry-level employees as well, and trying to teach them what I’ve picked up on my PR journey so far.

I create my own path. It’s no secret that employees at larger agencies can fall victim to the bureaucratic system at times. If they want to do anything that falls even a millimeter outside of their carefully outlined job description, they have to ask permission to do so, and even then, nothing is guaranteed. At boutique agencies, it is often encouraged that employees take initiative in their own paths, often being integral in shaping what their role looks like. That is pretty cool, in my experience.

I can choose my clients. Many of the companies we pitch for new business are ones my team or myself has hand-picked based on our interests, our media relationships and experience, and of course, their compelling technology. We don’t have a separate new business team to mass-pitch companies and then ship them off to a team or person with time. The new business process is special to me, because it allows me to dream of all the big picture possibilities we can do for a potential client, and hone in on what their specific goals are or should be. Then when that company becomes a client, I can hit the ground running!

Company culture is a priority. Within a small company, it is critical that everyone works well together and fosters a welcoming, open, exciting, caring and educational environment (if you haven’t read Steph’s article on this yet, you should!). When people feel like they are part of something great, they put forth their best efforts in return. This leads to happy employees, happy clients.

The list could go on, and I’m still finding something new about boutique agency life that I love every day. I would love to read about what you love about boutique agency life in the comments below. And if you’re an outside reader, check out Vantage’s careers page – we’re hiring!

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