Yorkshire’s creative reputation continues to survive and thrive, despite tough economic conditions. Whilst the entire industry suffers from post-recession slump, it must be said that Yorkshire’s fruits of creativity continue to grow. The region remains the home of some of the industry’s most innovative creative work and partnerships.
The Drum spoke to a cross-section of Yorkshire creative businesses to discover the mood of the creative landscape in the region.
How diverse is the creative offering from the region?
Steve Henry, director, Ponderosa: Yorkshire creativity is very strong at the moment, with agencies quick to pick up trends and innovation. We believe this is recognised nationally by clients based outside the region. The challenge is to keep innovating through the hard times where it would be easy to ‘stick to the safe road’. Yorkshire agencies have been quick to pick-up on the important role SEO plays within the marketing mix. It has definitely been a growth area for our business and judging by the new agencies springing up, others are seeing that growth too.
Glenn Patterson, managing director, Intermarketing: Due to the historic diverse requirements of the financial, retail and mail order industries based here, Yorkshire agencies are, by nature, very capable of offering integrated creative solutions.
Jonathan Leafe, managing director, Strawberry: New media is getting better all the time and I think that we’re good at marketing events as a region.
John Morgan, chief executive, Brass: It’s as vibrant and as diverse as ever. A global, national or regional client would have no problem getting some of the best creative and production services in the country, online or off. While the creative execution of campaigns will always remain important, clients are now looking for creativity in other ways, particularly when it comes to online marketing and the application of new tools and technologies. Our own social mapping software is becoming highly sought after as it provides the platform for campaign implementation and media selection. Our work with the Ribena and Seven Seas are good examples of how this information is then developed into effective online campaigns.
Rob Colley, managing director, Plump Digital: It’s certainly diverse. We’re seeing traditional agencies collaborating locally with cutting-edge app and game developers as well as pushing social media. Closer to home we’ve seen the launch of a local media brand One&Other - a beautifully rendered hub for local news, culture and comment with some promising ideas for creative collaboration in media.
Ian Winterbottom, director, Our Agency: Yorkshire has always been a region rich in creativity, we are over the North/South divide and good old Northern value for money seems to be having a renaissance.
Andy Weir, managing director, We Are: There’s an abundance of talent across the region doing great things.
Simon Bollon, director, Boutique Media: Creativity is driven by diversity in the marketplace. Agencies with specific skill sets and a range of agency sizes will ensure the market delivers diversity. We need to see new, challenger agencies and people who will try to do things a little differently. That is obviously difficult when the market isn’t buoyant and every pound to an agency counts so the challenge to the industry is to ensure diversity exists.
Jason Madeley, founder, Hatch Communications: Creatively I think Yorkshire is in a very good place especially from a digital perspective. I think the region’s agencies ability to attract big brand business is commendable, especially with the unjustified stigma, which is still attached to agencies outside the capital. We deliver national campaigns for clients from both the region and globally servicing clients in Leeds and as far as New York and South Africa. I think this level of expertise runs right through the Yorkshire agency sector. Yorkshire agencies in my view offer a national service which competes and delivers at a national level, but importantly also maximises regional opportunities to the full. This model compares favourably to the traditionally, more expensive London-based operators who charge more and often don’t understand fully the additional regional maximisation opportunities.