Parity Vs Disparity In The World Of Small Business Communications

19185739 copyI am a sports fan.  I consider myself pretty well informed about the goings on in the sports that I follow.

One of the things I have noticed in following sports is that the concept of a sports ‘dynasty’ has pretty much vanished from the vernacular of people who talk about sports and also from fans like me who follow sports.

The reasons for this aren’t really clear, but in a lot of sports, the concept of a dynasty has been displaced by the concept of parity. This is most obvious in the NFL where parity, promoted strongly by the team owners, has leveled the playing field to the extent that it’s now virtually impossible to accurately prognosticate. For example,  I, for one certainly didn’t think the Baltimore Ravens would be in the Superbowl last year, let alone win it.

The concept of a level playing field has advantages and disadvantages in sports. One of the advantages is that it tends to put more bums in seats in more stadiums across the country, because if people think their team has a shot at the playoffs, and who knows what can happen after that, they will be more likely to get behind the effort and support them with attendance at the game and additional spending in the team stores. On the other hand, it’s somewhat appealing to have a team that dominates the others in the league or at least their divisions, because it creates interest with people not yet converted to fandom.

There are a number of other pros and cons to the parity v. dynasty argument in pro sports, but this is a blog about communications and you’re probably wondering what all of the aforementioned has to do with that.

In the small business communications realm there is a lot of parity was well. Most agencies or designcos who claim to service the SME sector are generally built on the same model as their larger cousins who service the corporate sector. And at the end of the day, a typical small business will end up paying, relatively speaking, the same kind of rates that corporations pay when they use these types of suppliers.

The Antidote To High Communications Prices

When I created my company, Onwords & Upwords, and decided that I wanted to service the SME sector, I took a look around at the competition, (because it would have been dumb not to), and found 4 points of difference which have become a key part of my business operating system and create true dis-parity between me and a good number of  ‘small business’ agencies.

  1. One person who can conceptualize, write, art direct and produce strategically focused communications is going to be much more cost effective for small businesses to work with than 3 or 4 people doing the same stuff.
  2. If you don’t broker services outside your skill sets, (web site creation, internet marketing, printing, media, photography etc), your small business clients will pay less and like the way you do business.
  3. The convenience of having only one person to deal with makes for shorter meetings that are easier to schedule, and fewer people calling or emailing you with questions. This leaves you more time to do other stuff, like getting more business or whatever.
  4. The relationship you have with your small business clients is not always ‘on the clock’. You have to be ready, willing and able to give a fair bit of time to providing informed answers to questions and dispensing advice.

Parity…in pro sports the jury is still out on its real benefits. But in the small business communications world, parity is what causes clients to often pay more than they should for the services they are getting.

If this has made you think twice about anything regarding the communications challenges you are facing, why not give me a call and let’s have a coffee or tea or whatever. I’m buying.

O&U Signature

I create and implement strategically focused

branding, advertising & promotion for companies

who appreciate solid creative thinking and value reasonable rates.

Jim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site:


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