I’ve been working in regional marketing agencies for 12 years this Summer and I’ve written before about what I see as the positives of Life Outside London, but I thought it was probably worth mentioning some of the not so brilliant bits as well:
– Your face, body, children, house, pet, car and all your personal possessions will be fair game for low budget photo shoot appropriation purposes. To be honest, Big Budget Photo Shoots are the exception, rather than the norm, even in the bigger agencies Up North.
– There’s a bit of a Northern agency sensibility about not spending a penny more than you absolutely have to. Good news if you’re a client, bad news for agency staff’s travel budgets, salary reviews and when the dodgy office carpet really needs replacing.
– You can’t just ‘drop in’ to an evening APG or IPA event as it would involve a several hundred mile, five hour round trip.
– London based agencies and/or clients may make comments in meetings like “oh Leeds, isn’t that near Scotland?” or ask why you don’t have a heavy Northern accent (both true stories, sadly).
– Your cunning plan to do your ‘Northern’ focus groups near the office (and home) will be scuppered by all the London research agencies who see Leeds as the Big Northern City with the shortest train journey from central London and thus have made it probably the most over researched city in the UK (according to the quallies, second and third place goes to Bristol and Milton Keynes).
– Particularly if you are a Planner, there will not be that many agencies with the size and set up to warrant doing Planning properly. This results in a job market that works on the ‘musical desks’ principle.
– You will spend a lot of your time on the train to and from London for meetings, but very little time in London itself. The chances of being able to fit in dinner with your old uni mates who live down there, a night at the theatre or a quick shopping spree are, frankly, slim. So you may find yourself back on the London train on Saturday morning in order to fit all this in.
I still think the positives (fresh air, affordable living, decent parking, challenger brands) outweigh the negatives, but at least I’m now giving you a balanced view.
my commute :-)