Gyro's Evie Garner discusses the power of the northern creative industries after attending this year's Prolific North Live.
“This is Manchester, we do things differently here,” Anthony Wilson, Manchester culture catalyst once said. He was right; the North of England has a rich creative history which shows no sign of stopping. The creation of the Northern Powerhouse and the increasing investment across the creative industries in the North promises that such distinctive, and innovative thinking won’t be going away any time soon.
The power of the northern creative industries was clear at last month’s Prolific North Live, which underpinned our need to work harder to understand our audiences, evolve to adapt to social and technological changes, and, most importantly, stay relevant.
The event was a showcase of some daring and forward-thinking insight from modern marketers and was a perfect opportunity to acquaint oneself with the plethora of talent in the North West. Notable talks included Dave Lawson from AO, who spoke about technology and the future, warning listeners to “adapt or die” in developing insight and navigating the ever-evolving sphere of consumer attitudes.
Another highlight was John Mitchison’s talk on the importance of equipping businesses for the upcoming EU GDPR and e-privacy regulations. In light of these changes, Mitchison urges businesses to see GDPR as a valuable opportunity in making businesses more customer centric, as they embrace the process as a way to further improve their business.
These themes regularly popped up at the event and resonated my experience at gyro because we strive to create humanly relevant content which strives to engage business decision makers on an emotional level.
While the current social, cultural and economic climate creates challenges, our commitment to driving growth in times of uncertainty, through humanly relevant content and precision targeting, continues to deliver results for our clients.
Other key themes included working as a community and improved collaboration were other key themes that kept coming up in the discussions. Speakers urged the creative community to continue to question the world around us, and to create quality creative output that spreads further than the North West region. Evidence of this is StoryLab’s ongoing work with Thomas Cook. In late 2017, the DAN North agency assisted Thomas Cook’s first advertiser funded programme, when they partnered with Channel 4’s ‘Secret Life of 5 Year Olds’. The campaign - which hoped to challenge misconceptions of package holidays – championed an innovative way of how partnerships function, that go beyond conventional ad spots.
Partnerships like this example show how successful collaboration can help North-West agencies spread their wings to reach further than just the region they are based. Just last year the North West headed the league in Creative England’s Future Leaders list, and employment in Manchester’s creative sector is 7% higher than the national average.
Manchester is becoming more and more of a technological hub and creative destination. With the ever-growing Media City development and the BBC’s ongoing relocation showing great promise of a less London-centric industry, the future of Manchester as a creative force with its own identity and community looks bright.
Despite the uncertain climate we currently live in, where our struggle to predict the economic and political environment can encourage us to play it safe and err on the side of caution in terms of creative output, quite the opposite can be said of North West-based creative businesses – we do things differently here.
Evie Garner is Creative Assistant at gyro.