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Satellite agency: new communication agency phenomenon

The phenomenon of digital nomadism and fluid organizations has become increasingly popular across the Atlantic but also in Europe. It leads to the emergence of a new model of communication agency.

This original model is called a “satellite agency.” Whether it’s an advertising agency, a creative studio or a marketing consultancy, these satellite agencies are halfway between a collective of independents and a traditional agency. Their skills cover a wide range of fields, from video production to advertising, graphic design, interior design and marketing.

The real difference: they have little or no permanent employees, usually no big costs of structure or management. As a result, they significantly reduce their operational complexity and therefore their fixed costs. The result: an invoice focused on the quality of the services, not the structure fees.  But these are not their only advantages!

A new era for communication agencies

New technologies and the new generation are challenging traditional operating models, especially project team and workspace concepts. Today a creative team can work from anywhere in the world! The communication and operational management of the latter is just as simple at a distance as in a group of employees sharing the same space.

But how does it work, a “satellite agency”?

Just like any traditional agency or studio in terms of results!

An agency manager, often the founder, takes care of canvassing, customer relations and supervision of incoming contracts. He acts as a conductor, who chooses to surround himself with project managers and virtual operational teams, depending on the load or complexity of future missions. All will work together to achieve their mission, but tens or even hundreds of kilometres away.

In a “satellite agency,” shared management and communication software is used to coordinate resources. A “team chat” ensures exchanges between colleagues and avoids long emails or endless phone points. Regular customer follow-up also takes place remotely.

Nothing new, you might say! The use of freelancers has existed for a very long time in many traditional agencies. Indeed, we are talking here about an organization in which the raison d’être, the governance and the business model were conceived around a collective of independent experts. Thus, applies original operating rules such as co-optation, charter adherence rather than the signing of a delivery contract, project teams that self-assess… And each expert keeps his own brand and can continue to develop his own client portfolio.

Cooperation does not constrain. It multiplies the possibilities. The result: teams that are potentially more efficient, more motivated and therefore potentially more creative.

Some satellite agencies and studios

Here are 7 agencies and studios that operate on this alternative collaborative model: 3 in France and the others in Canada, USA and GB.

Two twin agency of strategy and digital communication in Montpellier, hosted by its founder Renaud Venetsince 2016. Fluidity and Efficiency are the two principles that guide the operation of these ultra-flexible project teams.

A French studio based in Paris, all the experts at Matter of Mind are in fact independents, forming a collective of a new kind. Under the same project banner are a graphic designer, photographer, typographer, illustrator, motion designer, composer, etc.

One of the first, if not the first, studio of its kind in Montreal, Stand Mtl  was born in 2009. A large team of independent experts forms this collective. Among them are strategic advice, designers, creative and advertising.

Ge-o-de is a brand new creative studio in Quebec City. For him, too, the collective model is a team composed of ten first-level collaborators and a wider base of independent experts, supervised by the founder,  Laura Lee Moreau.Ge-o-de  specializes in web and graphic design, branding, design and everything related to it.

Chris Berridge is an English designer and founder of  Berridge and Co, based in Bristol(UK). After a long experience in various traditional agencies, he decided to become a communications strategy consultant and to surround himself with the best operational skills in the country. All this without a fixed desk!

Four American friends (including 3 women!) have joined forces to launch their own creative studio. To generate additional revenue, they even launched a creative online store!


I already hear the comments on the “uberisation” of creation! The major advantage of these new-kind agencies is not necessarily cost; because expertise and quality are paid for at home too!

The real benefit is access to original creative networks, talents, techniques, experiences, not always available in your geographic area. Get out of your frame, whether geographical or thoughtful, without having to manage languages or travel.

Here’s the perspective for entrepreneurs looking a new breed of communication agency!