The topic comes up from time to time — local agencies doing work for local clients, particularly the larger clients that just so happen to be in the area.
Unfortunately, fairly or not, the fact of the matter is that the larger local clients do not always see the value that a local agency can provide.
Case in point: Blue Cross of Idaho.
Earlier this year, Blue Cross of Idaho chose the Minneapolis office of Weber Shandwick to help launch its new web-based health and well being initiative. The folks over at Red Sky PR first noticed this decision, and made comment about it on their PR Musings Weblog.
Another recent example: Balihoo.
In March, Balihoo named Affect Strategies as their Public Relations Agency of Record. Now, given Balihoo’s focus on large-scale media planning and buying, I can understand this decision. It is in their best interest to work with an agency that can provide the best exposure possible, particularly to media buyers and agencies that buy in large volumes, and a PR agency out of New York is certainly a wise choice. The cynic in me has to wonder, however, how much of this decision was driven by the addition of Michael Browner to their Board of Directors two days prior to the announcement. Pure speculation on my part, but the timing just seems suspect.
So without laboring on too much longer with the same old ‘poor us’ mentality, I’ll pose this question: What do local agencies need to do differently to either attract or retain these types of clients? Is it just a fact of life today’s business environment, or are there there areas that local, or even regional shops can focus on to differentiate themselves?
Now, the same question to those on the client side: What do out-of-town or out-of-state agencies offer that local or regional agencies don’t? Where are the local shops lacking?
Now that I’ve stirred the pot, I’m going to go ahead and duck for a while…