After reading an article on PRNewser about choosing to start a career at a “boutique agency” vs. a “large agency,” we asked PAN’s Shelly Runyon and Kate Lavoie-Mayer to provide their perspective on the benefits of working at a mid-sized agency. Both previously worked at a “large agency.” Here’s what they had to say:
Somewhere in between the big publicly-held firms and the small boutique agencies is a class of mid-sized agencies, like PAN, which we’ve found to be just right.
When working in the world of PR agencies, it’s easy to think that our day-to-day work experience is most strongly influenced by the clients we represent. However, after working at a larger agency, we both found that size does matter.
We are both early in our PR careers and both have a few years of experience. From our perspective, mid-sized agencies are an ideal environment to establish roots and develop a PR career. They offer the best of both worlds: the intimacy of a small company, along with the talent, resources and culture found in a larger company.
To grow your career in PR and get the most out of working at an agency, it’s key to immerse yourself in an environment where you can fully take advantage of this model. One of the great things about working at a mid-sized PR agency is the opportunity to get diverse experience through exposure to a number of different clients and a broader variety of account work. Conversely, working at a larger agency can get you pigeonholed in a particular “space” or with a particular client or performing a certain task.
The size of an account team at a mid-sized agency is also just right for those serious about investing in and advancing their PR careers. There is generally more client exposure of account teams versus larger agencies. And because mid-sized agencies are focused on growing their client base, you are constantly exposed to new industries and companies, providing new opportunities to apply key learnings to new clients. As PR practitioners early in our own careers, we like working in different industries and with different types of clients because it gives you a chance to find your “sweet spot.” And when you do, everyone from your team all the way up to the head of the company notices and sees you as a resource for the areas in which you’ve succeeded – and in turn, they can draw from your experiences in their own work.
Mid-size offices are also ideal for building relationships and finding mentors. They’re big enough to have people with a varied range of experiences that you can learn from, and small enough that you can get to know all those people and the expertise they bring to the table.
Finally, the mid-size agency is also perfect size for building a great office environment. It’s a boon for collaboration and it goes a long way for driving productivity for clients. You tend to develop more meaningful relationships with coworkers too. And that means that when it’s time to celebrate your great work – you have some amazing people to celebrate with thanks to the friendships you’ve created with your peers.
Besides being our preferred agency, PAN Communications is in the mid-sized agency sweet spot. It’s a place where we can see our careers flourishing, with the support and flexibility offered by our management and peers. We’d love to hear your perspective – what works best for you: large, boutique or mid-sized?