Small is Beautiful: Managing a PR Firm

June 2 2020

The global health and economic crisis that all of humanity faces in 2020 has forced many PR firms to downsize. While size is quite clearly not the ultimate factor determining the quality of services of a PR agency – or how they are a match with their clients – a boutique size and family atmosphere can offer advantages for both the firm and its clients.

At my company, RumboCierto Comunicaciones based in Santiago, Chile, we opted for a smaller size. Based on that experience, I can now share the top ten advantages of a smaller operation.

1) One-stop-shop: In a small agency, team members do many things. Clients often value that highly because they can share their needs with a single person who will be aware of all issues related to their account.

2) Efficiency: Time spent on meetings, internal information flow and bureaucracy is reduced to the bare minimum.

3) Collaborations and Learning: Team members value highly the possibility to learn different aspects of the communications profession, rather than having to specialize or become bored in a single area. It allows them to become professionals with more complex skill sets.

4) Partnerships: Not even a large agency can keep experts from all fields in-house. We rely on partnerships and are constantly seeking out the top or most appropriate experts for our clients’ needs. This approach can help you ensure that you offer the best professionals in the market for a particular project.

5) Client quality: As size limits your ability to serve only a few customers at a time, you will likely end up keeping the best ones. They are generally those who are looking for a personalized service. And as a benefit to yourself, you get to meet an owner or a senior manager on the client’s side and your ideas and proposals have a greater chance to be heard and come to fruition.

6) Profitability: Overall a smaller size might also mean lower costs – like the question of office space which has just occurred to many agencies as Covid-19 forced them to apply work from home practices which were previously overlooked. We made that move earlier and can now say this means higher profitability.

7) Flexibility: By being able to focus on building a strong core staff, you can grow more efficiently when new projects are landed.

8) Creativity and innovation: Being creative, nimble and innovative are part of daily life at a small business. This mindset will help you with any new professional and client challenges.

9) Independence: The lack of having excess partners or external capital will allow you to make decisions quickly and without outside influence. In other words, decisions can be made simply based on what’s the best for the customer or the agency.

10) Challenges: Small companies continuously face challenges. This trains you to keep your eyes and ears open all the time.

The new world is becoming more collaborative, not competitive – at least from my perspective and experience. All this means that to be successful a small business needs to have friends, needs to have partners and a network to rely on. This is why we are a member of a good global network. It allows us to exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge that all help us survive and thrive while being a small player in a big global economy.

Valentina Giacaman
Founding Partner, RumboCierto Comunicaciones
Valentina Giacaman Hazboun is the Founding Partner of RumboCierto Communicaciones, a boutique agency in Chile that operates locally but boasts extensive relationships and global clients, including prestigious financial institutions, government agencies, foundations and NGOs. Valentina started her career as a senior financial journalist at El Mercurio newspaper in Santiago, Chile for about a decade giving her a deep knowledge of the media. Later, she transitioned to the corporate world at Penta Group (one of the main financial groups in Chile) in charge of its strategic communications department. She also served as Executive Director at Bethlehem 2000 Foundation – Chile, a position from which she reconnected with her Palestinian roots. Valentina is currently focusing on crisis communications and reputation management for corporations and high net worth individuals, as well as counsel to international companies setting up shop in Chile.

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