Boom time for creatives

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Despite the doom and gloom of the economy Britain’s creative industries report a boom in business.

Britain’s creative industries have never had it so good as many of the UK’s leading agencies report a surge in business as they vow to trade their way out of any economic downturn.
Marketing agents, designers, and advertising bosses claim to be inundated with work as their clients become more competitive in the face of a possible slowdown.
Leading management software company Sohnar has reported a huge increase in business in the last couple of months as many of their international clients in the creative industries are swamped with orders.
“We’ve had training sessions with client staff to show them how to operate our Traffic system moved back on numerous occasions because people are so busy they haven’t the time,” said Tracey Shirtcliff, Managing Director of Sohnar, which last week won a coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation.
“It’s ironic because they are buying Traffic to help them manage their businesses and then finding work is so hectic that it takes them up to six, and sometimes eight, months to implement the software.”
Sohnar designed Traffic to efficiently manage the routine business side of creative industries enabling them to fully concentrate on the job in hand.
In the last five years the Hammersmith-based company has grown from a single back-room office with three staff to a global concern employing 27 people, customers in nine countries and offices in London, Sydney and New York.
”We have never been so busy,” said Ms Shirtcliff, 36, one of only a handful of female businesswomen to be honoured in this year’s Queen’s Awards.
”Our customer base in the UK is expanding daily as many of the major agencies in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Newcastle and Birmingham now use Traffic.
“Our mission is to be the leading studio management system in the English speaking world. We are already the fastest growing, have the largest number of clients in the UK and are well on our way to replicating that in America and Australia.
”There is a lot of talk about a downturn but a lot of business people we deal with are preparing to streamline their working practices, improve efficiency and trade their way out of any possible difficulties.”
Marketing company Ark Communications, whose clients include Madame Tussauds and Elite Spanish Holidays, also report being swamped with work.
“We’re busier than ever at the moment, in fact there’s been no sign of a slowdown at all.” said Ian Wright, Director of Ark Communications.
“The doom and gloom people have read in the newspapers and heard about on the TV has been vastly overdone. There’s a real danger of people talking us into a recession which isn’t there.
“The basic outlook for the economy is still good. The companies we deal with are going ahead as normal and believe that things will be sorted out in a few months time.”
Both British Design Innovation (BDI), an umbrella group for designers, and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) said that their members remain as busy as ever and are inundated with work for several months ahead.
Barnsley based design company Deviate said their staff were ‘hard at it’ after capturing even more clients from London and the home counties.
“We’ve seen a lot more interest in on-line activity and I think a lot companies are looking at their websites and asking themselves if it’s really working for them from a marketing point of view.” said David Winters, Senior Account Handler with Deviate.
“Over the last couple of years there have been massive strides forward in terms of web design and functionality and they are looking to take advantage of that.”
Internet advertising estimated to be a £2.8billion business, in the UK alone, has taken a strangle hold over much of the marketing industry and Mr Winters believes talk of a recession could actually feed the beast.
“One of the big bonuses of internet advertising and use of the web is that it’s very measurable.” said Mr Winters
“We are starting to reach the same sort of interest levels in internet advertising that we had in direct mail in the recession of the late 70s and through to the 80s when direct mail grew considerably.
“Internet advertising grew because it was very measurable in terms of its success rate. I’m seeing more and more people now looking at metrics on the web and a growth of people who pretend to be experts but who aren’t necessarily, they are being quickly found out and the people who really know their stuff are doing very well.”
Some companies may become more cautious according to Mr Winters but he doesn’t think that is where the smart money is riding.
“If recession does come upon us, and we hear different stories every day of the week, measurability will be even critical but companies who are prepared to spend extra will find themselves with increased air space because other companies will be more timid about advertising or marketing.
“Usually adverting and marketing are the first to go when cuts are needed but the people who carry on marketing will get keener deals in terms of rates and their budget will go a lot further.
“The ones who cut back will be the ones who have problems in that they won’t be able to bounce out of a recession. There are countless case studies from history which show this is the case.”