Celebrating The Independent Agency

July 4, 2018

As we celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms we enjoy, we thought it fitting to take time to celebrate another form of independence. The independent marketing agency. (Quick, cue the CGI fireworks.) In an era of large holding companies making headlines for the wrong reasons, it is with pride that TBG declares all that the increasingly rare full-service independent agency offers.

Land of the free

One of the reasons The Boston Tea Party is great story is because it captures the spirit and encapsulates the theme of the events leading up to it. Similarly, TBG helps innovation brands find the larger, epic stories hidden within the higher purpose threads that link their products and services. That’s what independent agencies live, breathe and fight to protect: the ability to define who we are, decide what we want to focus on, and for whom. It’s about articulating and executing a unique philosophy. Not one pushed down from the mother country—or “mothership” in the intergalactic holding company model. 

Equally important, independents are not process heavy. We can quickly shift gears as necessary to adjust to market conditions. Not something mega-holding-company-owned agencies are known for. This nimble, entrepreneurial spirit has direct client benefits—especially when it comes to rapid development of smart, strategically sound creative content.


Home of the brave

Independent agency structure can also allow for greater creativity. With more freedom to propose new models—and with a less hierarchical structure—ideas truly can come from anywhere in a smaller full-service agency. Because many TBGers are veterans from larger agencies, we know how refreshing it is when silos and egos are replaced with a much more democratic approach. Ideas can come from anyone on the multi-disciplinary team, including involvement and collaboration with clients.

You also see bravery in independent owners who are impassioned and invested in the long-term success of the agency, as opposed to charters that go quarter-by-quarter. They have skin in the game and are afforded the opportunity to take calculated risks—for clients and for the success of the agency. And, leadership is engaged throughout the process, not just at the beginning. That’s why, over the years, TBG has grown almost entirely by client referral.

Lastly, independent agencies are typically braver and more open to letting outside life into the workplace. Knowing and appreciating how much time is spent at work, independent agencies understand that bringing in kids and dogs—and offering flex hours and more time off around the holidays—creates a balance that opens the aperture to fresh thinking on all client deliverables.


Long may they wave

According to Forbes, with today’s auction-based digital media landscape, the playing field has been leveled. Although independent agencies are smaller, they typically have far less overhead. They are infinitely more nimble and well positioned for this changing digital landscape. Forbes also cited that, in their work with hundreds of agencies, it was the independent ones that were producing some of the most innovative work. As the tide turns away from the holding company stronghold, a well-run independent agency can much more efficiently and effectively rise to the challenges of this exciting new digital frontier.


Cheers to the true spirit of agency independence. Happy 4th of July!