The Drum spoke to a cross-section of Yorkshire creative businesses to discover the mood of the creative landscape in the region.
Is there much of an agency scene, with agencies collaborating?
Rob Colley, managing director, Plump Digital: We’re a small company who are used to collaborating with other creative agencies and freelancers - it’s a great opportunity for us to bring specialist digital skills to integrated campaigns, which is crucial for our business. Plus it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded creatives.
Simon Bollon, director, Boutique Media: Naturally, businesses want to hold their clients close and sharing experiences, knowledge and data can be seen as a dangerous exercise. We are in an industry where we own very little. Our assets are our people, our knowledge, creativity and experiences. That makes people precious about what we share but done correctly everyone wins. Collaboration is a core discipline of our business. Over 60% of our new business is through the collaborative relationships we hold with creative agencies, PR agencies, marketing agencies and digital agencies. Collaborative businesses can be powerful for assisting clients in achieving the most effi cient and effective marketing results. Collaborating across disciplines should be seen more often and we work hard to build relationships with a range of agencies.
Jo Swann, Managing director, Chocolate PR: There used to be more of a scene than there is currently – I think whilst more collaborations are taking place the social scene has died off a little as everyone has had their head down trying to stay in the game – having said this, Leeds Media has seen a new lease of life and I’m looking forward to this coming into its own again.
John Morgan, chief executive, Brass: I think most agencies are having to work so hard to handle existing business and win new clients that finding time to socialise or share ideas is a real challenge. Having said that, there is still lots going on, particularly in the digital area, and there are many strategic partnerships emerging, where agencies with different skills sets are collaborating on projects.
Glenn Patterson, managing director, Intermarketing: We work with several local specialist online businesses but our clients are predominately national. There are several networking and social events for Yorkshire businesses arranged by the Yorkshire Mafi a, YPA, DMA North and the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce so we feel that collaboration is probably more prevalent now than it was fi ve or ten years ago.
Jason Madeley, founder, Hatch Communications: Collaboration can only be a good thing and we work with complementary agencies and partners to deliver integrated solutions, often working with agencies from other disciplines to deliver through the line campaigns for clients. There is some socialising, but from my experience, time is precious and sadly popping for a pint with agency peers has taken the back burner.
Alf Lombardi, managing director, Shrewdd Marketing: Yes, we collaborate with agencies across the region on integrated projects.
Steve Henry, director, Ponderosa: Over the last couple of years I think most agencies have just had their heads down and got on with working hard for their clients. There hasn’t been the down time, which is a great shame. It has been accelerated by people feeling less secure in their jobs and so focussing on delivering where they are, rather than looking to network. However, on a more positive note. The digital scene in Yorkshire is far superior to the collaborative thinking that goes on within the offline world. There seems to be more of a willingness and eagerness to share ideas and talk about the latest innovations.
Ian Winterbottom, director, Our Agency: There are lots of networking organisations and opportunities, frankly it would be a full time job just keeping up with events. Our advice - spend time with clients.
Andy Weir, managing director, We Are: We started We Are with the intention of approaching projects collaboratively. We work with a number of specialist agency partners across digital, print and video, most of whom are Yorkshire based and thrive in this way of thinking. This enables us to stay lean and yet offer true expertise where it counts. As far as Sheffield and South Yorkshire is concerned, I’d say it there was a good sense of community in the region, and everyone seems to know everyone.