Tues 22 Aug 2023 11:00am UK time

Most agencies are powered by generalists. You often need to know a little bit about a lot of things to run an agency, especially when you’re just starting out. 

But as you begin to scale the business, the team structure must change too. Figuring out who you need to hire, and at what level, is the next hurdle. 

This is the position Bec Chelin, director at Manifest, found herself in last year. 

“It came as part of the evolution of our proposition,” she says. “We’d moved away from being a PR & comms agency – where we needed a team of people who could do a bit of this and a bit of that – towards a brand communications and strategic consultancy model.”

“For that, we needed people with in-depth insights to help identify consumer problems for our clients that nobody else has found. It takes a well-qualified brand strategist to turn that into something meaningful, so the proposition change created a need for more specialists.” 

But as exciting as it is to bring someone in who knows exactly how to navigate their field, it doesn’t come without its challenges. 

“Teams of specialists are phenomenal, but you tend to find that people who are such experts in their field don’t always think beyond their field. And really, you want someone who can stand back objectively to find the best step forward for the business – impartial to the wants or needs of any specialist team.”

For Manifest, the solution was to create a balanced team of generalists and specialists. This means that the experts can be working hard on brand strategy and insights, while the rest of the team fills in the gaps – like the ‘glue’ in between the building blocks.

“Being a generalist is actually a definite skill in itself. It’s not just a collection of people who can just pick up stuff if they need to,” says Bec. 

“For example, Alex, our CEO and founder, is a phenomenal brand strategist and copywriter, but he’s not a generalist. So he needs a team of generalists around him to help make that vision happen. You need that constant intermediary to make sure everything’s running like a well-oiled machine.”

In this session, Bec takes us through how her agency developed a harmonious team of both specialists and agency generalists to better service their clients after pivoting to a new proposition. 

Come along to hear the benefits of scaling an equally balanced team, and share your own two pence on the matter.