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.
What is the agency view in Yorkshire of the clients in the region?
John Morgan, chief executive, Brass: There are plenty of large Yorkshire clients who are using locally-based agencies – Asda and Jet2 would be good examples. But there are lots more who are still taking business out of the region when the creative and marketing expertise is here right on their doorstep. Any brand that isn’t looking at some of the exciting work being produced here is missing a trick. I think the bigger TV briefs are always likely to gravitate towards London, but for digital, design, PR, retail and promotional marketing, and many integrated campaigns, there are agencies with outstanding capability - and there are many major brands that recognise this. We have never relied on Yorkshire-based clients, we will always compete on a national scale and we’ve consistently won business from outside the area, from the likes of Ribena, Horlicks, Hammonds and many others. So much so that we have opened a London office to help us to service southern-based clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Royal Mail and most recently Dixons Retail Group.
Ian Winterbottom, director, Our Agency: Clients will seek out the best value and greatest creativity where they can. Local authorities continue to source within their areas but increasingly there is a need to look outside of the region for business. Fortunately, Many emerging European companies look to the UK for inspiration.
Andy Weir, managing director, We Are: I’ve not noticed clients making a conscious decision to work with Yorkshire based agencies for that reason. Though appetite for working with a regional agency is something we are hearing more of – this could be to cut down on management or travel fees? Or just because they recognise that there is an abundance of talent on their doorstep and heading south to London may not be necessary, or the most cost-effi cient approach.
Glenn Patterson, managing director, Intermarketing: Not as much as it could from the conversations we have had. Our success stories are from further afi eld and we are having great success competing for London spend with a Yorkshire overhead.
Simon Bollon, director, Boutique Media: As members of the Yorkshire Mafi a (google it if you don’t already know it) we believe in the mantra of Yorkshire businesses working together to make the region, and in turn our businesses, stronger. We have a database of 203 clients we would like to work with. 73 of them are Yorkshire businesses using a media agency outside of the county....and that’s only the businesses we want to work with! This region has exceptional individuals and exceptional businesses and I for one would love to see more business stay in the region. We would much rather lose out to a Yorkshire agency than a London or Manchester agency. Mark Bower, managing director, Coolpink: There has defi nitely been a recent surge of southern businesses bringing their business up North and I think this re-addresses to Yorkshire clients that they have great talent on their doorstep. I would like to see more alliance between Yorkshire brands and Yorkshire agencies, not purely for localisation but to ensure we proactively showcase that we are a force to be reckoned with nationwide.
Rob Colley, managing director, Plump Digital: I think there is strong support for Yorkshire-based agencies within the region. Recently we won an account because the client was adamant they wanted to work with a Yorkshire agency. We’re always going to be competing against agencies from other regions – as long as we continue to deliver value and push our ideas we’ll continue to get the support.
Jo Swann, Managing director, Chocolate PR: Not as much as it should considering there is so much talent here. There are still many brands who feel they must do the obligatory roll call of London agencies when putting out a new brief. Hopefully soon this will start to die out.