Bournemouth’s success has come, like other regional hubs, from a concentration of professional talent. We are reaching the critical mass that brings the necessary interaction, debate and competition to drive quality and innovation.
But there is another force at play in this success story. Concentration of talent alone means little if it doesn’t attract clients and investors. Increasingly, people understand that they don’t have to look to the traditional hubs for progressive thinking. The creative agency model in particular has changed dramatically, and brings opportunity for all. The W1 (or EC1) postcode is no longer a shortcut to quality or innovation.
Career best work
Hubs like Bournemouth bring diversity and opportunity to the industry and those professionals working in it. There was a time when working for a London agency was seen as an essential. Now people in all stages of their career have a far greater choice of where to invest, whether within an agency or in a progressive tech startup.
There is no longer a compromise between career and lifestyle. Career best work and tech innovation is just as likely to happen in Bournemouth as it is in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Amsterdam, New York… you get the picture.
We have become an active choice
While much of the talent in Bournemouth is home-grown, there is a substantial and growing migration from more traditional hubs. And perhaps this is what is surprising, different and interesting about Bournemouth.
Its concentration has not come just because of scale, or an abundant local market, but from a concentration of people that have made a conscious and active decision to stay or come. Not just for lifestyle, to settle or to ‘retire’, but because they want to be part of an active and vibrant community delivering work that cuts it on an international stage.
The team at Bright Blue Day works with challenging and rewarding local clients such as the RNLI and Bournemouth University. But, we are just as likely to be on a plane to Madrid or Frankfurt. In fact, 70 per cent of our business is pan-European.
It truly doesn’t matter where the concentration of talent happens. Just that it does.
The changing agency model
The truth is that agencies everywhere have struggled to prove their value in the new and more complex market reality, in the same way as clients have struggled to organise their teams and manage their agencies in response to these pressures. It’s also true that the agencies and clients tied most strongly to the outdated ownership model (lead agency owns the idea and client’s relationship and the clients own the agency’s time and people) have struggled the most.
As usual, much debate on the state of the client agency relationship and which is the model to fix it has followed. But, this conversation tends to focus to the on the same, very small number and type of clients and agencies.
What really matters to clients (I hope) is whether the agency gets and understands its value. There is room and a need for all types and style of agency. And there’s certainly no super model to rule them all. In our view, clients just need agencies that get their business, and get on with delivering – whether that be ideas or execution.
Time for a new approach
We believe that in the new social, digital, connected, continuous engagement world a more agile, responsive approach is needed. If I may indulge in hyperbole, its less full service agency, more full stack people. It’s less about vertical integration and more about horizontal understanding and impact. Not about doing everything for the client, but anything. Not about controlling everything, but orchestrating.
Yes, this means sometimes operating like a supplier. So be it. It means on one project you may be called on for strategic support, others execution, sometime both. And that’s OK. It means working collaboratively on ideas from other agencies, working or with content that may be created by the client, or a customer. Fine. Some stuff needs to happen in-house. And that’s great.
We need to celebrate the diversity and difference that such a rich mix of agencies brings to the industry, but understand that this comes from the people and approach, not their location.
Jeremy Baldwin, Managing Director, Bright Blue Day
Tel: 01202 669090