With Manchester touting itself as the second city in terms of PR (and other things), Birmingham has got a double fight on its hands – London on one side and Manchester on another. I love Manchester BTW since I lived there for six years and worked in the fabulous agency – BDB – and still have a stack of friends up there. In and around Birmingham, we have the advantage of being close to London so near enough to the national and trade journalists that are based there, yet far enough away to provide a more cost effective service. Manchester and Leeds based agencies have much further to travel to meet the influencers that are all important.
I get the feeling that we don’t shout about our achievements enough. A regular read of PR Week will highlight news from London agencies, with a smattering of Manchester news and if you’re lucky a couple of nibs on any other parts of the country. We have an incredible creative industry – did you know that Birmingham is in fact home to a thriving community and is recognised as the second largest media centre in the country, employing over 17,000 people and supporting in excess of 1,000 businesses? I didn’t! The Birmingham and wider Midlands PR community has had to reinvent itself over the last few years as the manufacturing and property bases are in decline or suffering from the recession. The RDA Advantage West Midlands has made some great strides in encouraging the growth of businesses in fields such as software and technology. With this encouragement, PR agencies are starting to appear that are just as diverse as their London based counterparts.
While larger regional agencies will charge prices on a par with their London based HQs, smaller regional agencies won’t so if they can convince companies to try them, then their clients stand to save a considerable amount. And the choice of agency is pretty huge too in the Midlands. Cheaper rents mean that there are a plethora of small and medium-sized PR agencies right in city and town centres, so easily accessible by train or motorway….and there are also a generous helping of one and two-person owner-managed consultancies too.