I believe that Tameside creatives should collaborate … not just compete.
Last week, Joel and myself were invited to attend ‘Creative Manchester’, one of a number of nationwide events organised by the Creative Industries Council (CIC) as part of a move to help UK Creative Industries to stamp their presence on the British business map. The event offered delegates an opportunity to hear why some of the larger Manchester agencies feel that they are ‘getting in our own way’. There was also an opportunity to discuss the topic. A number of the big agencies and creative groups were represented and we felt quite honoured that AsOne Design, as a smallish out-of-town digital marketing company, was included amongst this elite gathering.
What I heard and witnessed however, only reinforced what I have been thinking for quite some time, and it is this. The Manchester companies, who are so aggressively competitive against each other, truly believe that the creative world revolves around them and the centre of Manchester and it is up to them (and no one else) to do something about it. It came as no surprise to hear them gripe that even though Manchester, after London, is ranked as the second largest creative city in Europe, they still felt that they were overlooked when it came to the availability of funding. As for AsOne Design who is based out in the sticks … well we are totally off the radar.
And that is my point really. OK we might be smaller and when we’re tendering for a project we all know that smaller isn’t always better, but I think I have a solution that will make us more competitive.
For some time now I’ve been wondering how to make the Tameside based creative sector more competitive and therefore more successful. I know from experience that smaller companies like us just cannot afford to employ every possible skill that could be required to complete a cross sector media project. And it must be the same for every Tameside Company out there in the same way as it is for our counter parts in Manchester city centre. An excellent website designer, for instance, might not possess all the necessary programming skills or be totally up to date on social media marketing. Similarly, a company with strong programming skills won’t always have in-house copywriting support. A PR agency may not have a photographer on their staff. And a photographer will most likely not be fully confident in producing artwork or buying print.
Collaborating towards combined success
My vision is to establish a collaborative culture within the Tameside creative business sector in which people are completely comfortable in working with and supporting one another knowing that there is no risk to their own business activities. Such an initiative obviously demands a strong level of trust and ethical accountability on the part of everyone involved, but as part of my role on the Tameside Enterprise Board I believe I am in an ideal position to drive the idea along.
The name for this collaborative initiative? ‘The Creative & Digital Network’ which of course is on ‘The right side of Manchester’. Looking at the map, our local affinities with the region, our undoubted collective abilities and the opportunities available in the East of Manchester then ‘right’ is certainly the right word.
I would like to get as many different companies and individuals as possible participating in this initiative so that there is a fully comprehensive bank of talent and abilities that all our members can quickly and easily access and tap into whenever they require. With enough participants and enough diversity of disciplines then I’m sure that all our Tameside creatives will be able to offer a more complete and comprehensive service than we can when we’re operating alone and in isolation.
I would love to hear what other Tameside creatives think about this idea and of course, the more people we get on board the better it will be.