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Why we are boutique

Research agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Working with large agencies has its advantages - for example, they have a lot people/resource that they can throw at a project to make sure it happens - but we believe that clients have a better experience when they work with a small, boutique agency.

Before we explain why, we first need to explain a bit about how larger agencies work:

  1. Large agencies tend to have teams that specialize in a specific methodology. Each team has its own profit targets, and decisions about which methodology to use on a project can be driven by which approach is more profitable rather than what’s right for the client
  2. Similarly, methodologies and tools tend to be productized and standardized to make them easier to be sold and executed. That means that projects cannot be tailored to specific clients or projects
  3. Larger agencies’ tend to be structured into distinct silos, either by research methodology, function geography or sectoral expertise. This means that:
    1. If you have a project with multiple phases, or multiple markets, you will get passed from one team to another. Of course, each team will be an expert at their function/methodology, but they won’t be an expert in your business, as they won’t have had the time to get up to speed. That means you’ll either have to spend more time explaining your business to the new team, or you’ll get worse outcomes
    2. The person who sells you the project won’t be the person who does it. Larger agencies tend to have a sales team who say all the right things, and convince you to buy, but then they disappear, and you’re left with someone junior who doesn’t really cut it
  4. In order to manage employees’ time, larger agencies use timesheets. Obviously, timesheets are a great tool for management to track the profitability of a specific project, but they’re terrible for the client experience. One reason – once a project has used up a certain amount of employee time, the agency is less inclined to use more employee resources
    1. If you have a project with multiple phases, or multiple markets, you will get passed from one team to another. Of course, each team will be an expert at their function/methodology, but they won’t be an expert in your business, as they won’t have had the time to get up to speed. That means you’ll either have to spend more time explaining your business to the new team, or you’ll get worse outcomes
    2. The person who sells you the project won’t be the person who does it. Larger agencies tend to have a sales team who say all the right things, and convince you to buy, but then they disappear, and you’re left with someone junior who doesn’t really cut it

A quicker way of saying it is that larger agencies are ‘inward-looking’. They make decisions that are better for their own operations and efficiency, but aren’t the right decisions for the client, or the project.

By contrast, boutique agencies like Adience are built to make decisions that are right for the client, and as a result are far more agile:

  1. There are no dedicated ‘qual’ or ‘quant’ teams, or siloes. This means that:
    1. We are methodology neutral – we’ll suggest the methodology that is right for the client or project
    2. You won’t get passed from one team to another for a project with multiple phases. The team you brief at the beginning of the project is the one that delivers the entire project
    3. Similarly, the person who sells the project is the person who delivers it
  2. We don’t have standardized products – we tailor each project to the client’s specific needs
  3. We don’t use timesheets. This means that we spend as much time as is needed to complete each project. It also means that we’ll go the extra mile to deliver projects, and can deliver high quality projects quickly

Interested in hearing more?

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