Is the PR trade heading North? There’s some evidence that bits already have, and that more might follow.
Hacks, BBC hacks in particular, are going that way, so why wouldn’t flaks?
Executives who had one foot out of London anyway might now be certain they’ve had enough of The Smoke, a feeling that extends far beyond just PR.
PRs who have been happily running their firms from large houses outside of town are wondering why they wouldn’t carry on, but commute into town a couple of days a week for important face time.
If clients are thinking of doing the same, do they really need an expensive London agency?
Anthony Thompson, ex of Virgin Money, who recently set up 56 Degrees North, makes this point: “London can be insanely expensive to run a business. The salaries and office space, the fee income needed are a massive headache / barrier to growth. Any opportunity to cut overheads is going to be taken seriously. Those starting up new without the traditional London costs are going to have a massive advantage.”
Maybe. What seems definitely true is that there is a huge untapped, and perhaps unloved, population of businesses outside the capital who need PR advice but baulk at the fees of the London comms mafia.
Thompson again: “From a content perspective business coverage remains obsessively London focussed and downbeat about regional business. Old stereotypes prevail around industrial northern factory businesses, turning out widgets and pottery. Try talking to The Hut Group, the supermarkets, the Pharma companies, the likes if Siemens, Sage and others about whether that stereotype still fits. There’s a massive gap in the market to support more regional firms on the ground.”
Perhaps regional papers might start investing properly in business coverage too.
Then we can all move to Manchester. (Ok, you can, I’m staying here.)
UK workers are under pressure to return to unfit offices ahead of lockdown restrictions being lifted, says this from the Institute of Facilities Managers.
More than 60% claim little has changed at their place of work, despite all that talk of the “new normal”.
Big fight coming, I expect..