Could Bristol be the new creative hub?
Last week a group of us Brand Republic bloggers, Dave Trott, Steve Henry, Rory Sutherland and myself, headed to Bristol to speak at their Vision creative conference, all about the future of marketing, advertising and digital.
We were also joined by Patrick Collister, John Grant, Ian Armstrong (Honda), Laura Jordan Bambach and many other speakers, including Gail Parminter (founder of the agency, Madwomen). Keynote was by Andrew Keen, author of ‘Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is Killing our Culture.’
They sold it as, “This year’s speakers.. will deliver a series of thought provoking, insightful and motivational talks that will give you the strategies you need to grow your creative business.”
They certainly did.
A great conference and impressive in that so many top London names made the trip. Well worth the trip, and a great audience to present to (especially when you have to do two lectures).
For me it was great to be in the see Dave Trott win over an audience with no Powerpoint, just a flipchart and a few pens. Followed by Rory making Behavioural Economics sound even more fascinating than it already is.
But aside from the speakers, what struck me was how connected the creative community in Bristol is. They really know each other, and not just on Facebook. They talk, exchange ideas and share. Unlike London, they do have geography on their side and lots of very nice bars that sell drinks at reasonable prices.
Egos down, minds open and no snobbishness. I was told it use to be the opposite but times change and old attitudes with them. You could certainly feel a buzz. The environment can be more significant than the individual, as the sum of the parts becomes the whole.
If you look at any creative movements the key element is connectivity and the exchange of ideas. The old 1+1=3 theory. It is a simple theory that has worked in many areas; science, engineering, electronics, arts, medicine, mathematics – almost any area where progress is essential to the growth of the subject. Just take Silicon Valley as an example.
I am sure we are all aware that as much as London has been the centre of creativity it no longer exclusively owns that crown. The old saying “an idea can come from anywhere” is too true, the world is now our competition, not the agency next door.
Personally, I think the London creative crowd needs more connectivity, especially between the new generation of creative agencies, who often have a fresher, more innovative approach towards the business. We need more exchange of ideas, and I don’t mean another back slapping awards ceremony or another conference. Or a Facebook page. But lots of real face to face exchanges.
I’ve started the debate, what do other readers think?