Thursday , January 27 2022

Independent Or Global Media Agencies! Which Do I Go For?


Career decisions are better made from a position of knowledge and strength. You check your strength in terms of skills and then check your knowledge of the environment you want to move into. Media agencies provide consumer insight, planning and buying skills. They advise companies on how to advertise their products, the right channels through which they can target their audiences, in order to present a positive brand image. This is an exciting area in Mass Communication where you can carve out a very successful career. First you need to understand the basics about two broad categories of media agencies to know which path to follow. In this piece, a digital media consultant explains the rudiments of Independent and Global media agencies. Read this piece now.


Independent Versus Global Media Agencies

There is always a time in your life where you begin to look for your first role, yes it can be quite daunting, however you’ve got to be focused and know what you want to do. If you’re looking to get into a media agency, there are a lot of alternatives to consider. Whether it’s a global media agency or an independent, they each have their own individual perks, benefits and different cultures. From personal experience I’ve tried both, yes one of them is an independent recruitment agency but it’s still a big change from the global agency I came from.

So how do you make the decision between an independent and a global agency? There are a number of different reasons but ultimately media agency folk are renowned for being open to new ideas, testing the water and taking risks, to be honest this is what they do day to day when account managing or planning and buying a campaign.

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Independent Media Agencies

There are loads of great independent agencies, some are very focused on one particular area and others are as open as the globals. Personally, I think it all depends on your preference – you’ve got to question what are you in to, what do you enjoy, where does your skill set lie? Most independent agencies cover off a variety of brands whether it’s FMCG, entertainment, finance, retail and other verticals but essentially you’ll get a larger variety than a global agency.

So what sets the independent agencies apart from the big boys?

  • They tend to have a family feel, independents have anywhere from 10 to 200 people working for them. With this everyone knows everyone.
  • The accounts. Yes they are smaller but this gives you the chance to pick up account management skills a lot quicker.
  • Career development is key to everyone’s career, you want something to aim for! A lot of independent agencies can cater the needs of an employee and tailor a role to their skill set.
  • You have to opportunity to be a part of the wider commercial team, they take a lot more chances and risks with junior team members by giving them a huge amount of responsibility.
  • No two days are never the same. This is due to a wider remit of clients you could end up working on, each campaign and each client are very different. You’ll begin to see you skill set widen and your days change very quickly.

Global Media Agencies

If you don’t already know, have a look at the big players are in the market, whether it’s GroupM, Omnicom, Aegis etc. They all have their own ways of working and are consistently competing for the Media Agency of the Year awards. Of course, starting your career in one of these agencies would look fantastic on your CV and will develop and grow you, but they are highly competitive.

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So what would they offer you if you were to successfully join as a graduate? They are usually part of a wider group, for example GroupM is owned by WPP (The world’s largest advertising network). You’ve also got the likes of Omnicom, Dentsu Aegis, Publicis & Havas.

  • You’ll be part of a huge agency, there will be a vast amount of people to help you learn and develop as well as the very successful training programmes that they run.
  • The global agencies tend to have the larger clients, which means working on bigger budgets and bigger campaigns! This will expand your knowledge and set you up very well for the future.
  • Benefits packages? Hell yes, these are potentially one of the most attractive things about global agencies. It’s always a struggle starting out and that little extra help goes a long way, they offer travel loans, private medical insurance, pension etc. But what’s more exciting is the Sports and Social clubs, early summer finishes, on-site bars (Sometimes Free), gym memberships and many more.
  • You’ll be surrounded by experts in their fields and many have spent most of their career at one agency as they are treated so well, these are the things you need to think about later down the line in your career.

So how would you decide between the two, as I’ve mentioned it’s all about your personal preference. The two types are very good, each have their own benefits and each have their own negatives but one thing that I would say is, once you’re in with one you’ll be able to explore the other later down the line in your career. Remember, it’s all about making the most of an opportunity, learning, growing and testing yourself.

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This article was first published on

About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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