#skiplondon: why the capital is no longer the first choice for top talent

Being shortlisted for our latest national award has made us reflect on the reality of the Northern Powerhouse – and why you don’t need to be based in the capital to succeed in business.

October is going to be a very exciting month for all of us at IC. We’ve been shortlisted as one of just five agencies for PR Week’s first ever award for best agency outside London; we’ll know the result on October 18.

Regardless of the result, making the shortlist is an incredibly proud moment for the agency, now in its eighth year.   It has also made us reflect on the reality of the Northern Powerhouse and to think about the great potential of our region – both in future and realised today.

From Manchester to the world

 #skiplondon is a phrase we coined a couple of years ago when we were thinking about our own business and how our senior model has enabled us to win business from major national and international organisations – without a London base.

Proudly based in the heart of Manchester, we now have a truly global footprint – on any given day, talking with clients from Europe to the USA, Asia Pacific and beyond.  Our clients are also widely spread throughout the UK, with a good number within the South East but choosing not to use a London-based agency.

Why? Because what matters most to clients is finding a team with the skills and the capability to help them meet their business goals. They haven’t so much detoured from London as come straight to where the talent is.

 Appeal of senior team model

 Clients are more bothered about who we are than where we are – and our senior team model, giving clients direct contact with experienced consultants, is a very attractive offer.

Technology means we are only a Skype call away from any client, anywhere in the world, at any time of day.   Equally, when face to face contact is needed (and it’s still vitally important in all business), the two-hour train journey down to London is barely longer than the time needed to cross from one side of the capital to another.  We have a world-class airport on our doorstep that is a gateway to the global economy.

Does being based in Manchester mean fewer opportunities come across our path? Inevitably, you can’t deny that in marcoms at least, there is still a huge concentration of budgets and influence in London.

But that seems to be changing.  More and more clients are waking up to the huge amount of talent that lies outside the capital – and also to the value for money that can be had.

There is perhaps some irony in the fact that the award for the best agency outside London will be awarded in the heart of London later this month.  But for us, it’s a chance to prove that you can #skiplondon and achieve business success.

Whatever the result on October 18, we’re looking forward to celebrating with all the other shortlisted agencies, who are: fellow Mancunians Citypress; Newcastle’s O; Buckinghamshire-based Cirkle; and Brighton’s Man Bites Dog.