The Big Debate: Call for one voice to speak for Birmingham
The question of whether the West Midlands needs a trade body to represent its digital marketing sector is among the issues being raised ahead of The Big Debate taking place next month.
With just two weeks to go until the creative industries-themed event on November 2 at the ICC, the way in which the Midlands’ digital marketing sector is working together and being promoted outside the region has been a feature of recent online debate.
In a wide-ranging post on the Clarity Digital blog, Jason Navon, managing director of the firm, raised the question of whether the Midlands is suffering because of its lack of a trade body along the lines of Bristol Media and Manchester Digital.
Mr Navon said: “The key thing for me is if you want the region to maximise its potential then we probably need to speak with a uniform voice.
“If you look at Manchester and Bristol, they have forums where they talk as one voice about their successes, which gives clients that reassuring factor.
“It helps businesses partner up and find the skills they need to offer new and innovative solutions.
“It’s one of the factors that has contributed to the success of Bristol and Manchester. The sub-one-million pound agency range in the city is very positive and something we should be proud of.
“The question is how do we take that to the next level and take on some of the big players that are competing nationally.”
Jake Grimley, of Made Media, agreed that the issue of representation was an important one, but emphasised it was something that needed to come from the industry itself and have a strong commercial focus.
“I think we have got representational organisation fatigue,” he said. “It needs to be run commercially and funded by a group of agencies and maybe only involve agencies who are turning over a certain level.”
The Big Debate will bring together speakers such as Charles Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation and strategy and author of the book We-think, Toby Barnes, from Digbeth-based cross-platform agency Mudlark, and David Harris, executive creative director of direct marketing agency Wunderman.
The event, which is organised by the Birmingham Post, the NEC Group and Birmingham City University, will invite interaction from everyone attending through a series of brainstorming sessions and challenges which aim to produce a list of recommendations to be handed to the Government.