Are we boutique?

October 12, 2011 4:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Boutique n. a shop. esp. small one selling fashionable clothes and other items.

Well at least that’s what it says in our dusty old Collins Dictionary. But according to last week’s article in PR Week (senior agency bosses go it alone) it can now include any small PR agency (or hotel or niche manufacturing site – see Wikipedia). So I guess we are boutique after all.

But let’s check the key points from the article. We have ‘branched out on our own’. Tick. We are ‘small’. Tick.  We…… oh, actually that does really seem to be it. So we are definitely ’boutique’… yes, and we think we are ‘strategic’ and ‘targeted’ too. (And ‘evolving’ and ‘sustainable’ whilst we are at it.)

Seriously though, platitudes aside – there’s an inherent truth here. This is that the industry is changing. Large expensive agencies with huge overheads are selling reassurance and kudos, but little else. And with more clients having their own in-house teams with a core skill base, there is an increasing need for consultancy, mentoring and guidance. It might sound obvious, but client’s needs and circumstances can vary wildly, and tailoring each and every campaign is key.

And as for being ’boutique’, if we really are going to turn the communications industry on its head and change people’s perceptions of PR, then surely it’s phrases like this that we need to cut. Politicians make much of straight talking – everyone is now media savvy and tired of management speak. So let’s get to the point. We have branched out on our own. We think we do a good job. But in the end that is only for our customers to decide.

by the blowfish

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