Scotland focus: What are the biggest challenges for agencies operating in the advertising, digital and PR industries in Scotland?

As part of The Drum's series of UK regional reviews, we catch up with individuals from a cross-section of the Scottish creative marketing industries – Breeze Creative, Open Platform, Story, STV Creative and The Union – to identify and highlight the key trends and challenges faced in Scotland.

What is the biggest challenge of operating in Scotland?Ian McAteer, group chairman, The UnionNo matter what anyone says – it's a small market. And England is a different market well served by good agencies. Many Scottish agencies, if they happened to be in the USA, with the talent and skills they have, would be five times the size they are.Craig Mackinlay, founder, Breeze CreativeThe biggest challenge of operating in Scotland is that there is still the belief that if you want the best you go to London but there is great talent up here that really delivers on a global scale.... At a fraction of the cost!Dave Mullen, creative director, StoryBudgets and scope. It’s the price you pay for working in the ‘regions’ or rather; it’s the price that clients are prepared to pay. I have lived in Scotland and worked with brands north of the M25 most of my career. But operating outside the main creative hub of London brings its own set of challenges ­­– clients expect more for less. Working with tighter budgets generally requires the campaign to work harder and likewise the agencies. In Scotland you can’t be just a conventional agency if you have any ambition. The market is too small to keep a good agency busy. To prosper here, the creative agencies have had to look outside their immediate borders, be multi-taskers, be generalists not specialists, be lean and be constantly hungry. Tony McKenzie, managing director, Open PlatformLocation and recruitment. It is incredibly frustrating to travel to Europe from Scotland. The lack of frequent and direct flights to a number of major European cities results in extended duration and cost of travel. With a relatively large number of companies fishing for talent in a relatively small pool, recruitment can, sometimes, be problematic.What is the number one attraction for clients looking to work with agencies in Scotland, and agencies looking to open offices there? Without wishing to fan the flames of stereotyping, I think Scotland offers clients amazing value, given the superb quality of thinking and delivery that is achieved "North of the Border".Stephen O’Donnell, commercial producer, STVThe biggest challenge is getting our message out there and changing perceptions of Scotland in the London market and beyond. If you live here and work here you know how much talent we have and how much innovation is going on. Thirty seconds into the pitches and presentations I’ve done in London this year our clients know it too. Well, either that or the red eye flights to Gatwick and the 18 hour round trips.This question was asked as part of a wider feature on Scotland in the 9 November issue of The Drum.

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