Why is design and marketing so different in the Midlands?

General

We set Zulu Creative up because we felt that the Midlands market place was not being well served by the design and marketing industry. Many agencies treated the midlands in the same way as areas such as London where companies traditionally committed greater resources to marketing and branding budgets, not ever appreciating the differences between the two locations. The failure to recognise the very different heritage of the Midlands market place has lead to an under investment in creative resources within the local area. Industrial heritage

The West Midlands industrial heritage is well documented and has witnessed many a rise and fall in fortune in recent years. The region has been a manufacturing centre of excellence within the United Kingdom and is rightly credited as the birthplace of the industrial revolution; with this in mind it is encouraging to see the resurgence in national interest in manufacturing because of the recent economic difficulties. Although the regions economy is diverse and rapidly evolving it still retains much of its industrial psychology. Being part of the bigger picture.

The Midlands manufacturing base has traditionally produced components or baseline products that have then been assembled or sold by third party organisations, therefore much of the packaging, branding and marketing of these goods has been the responsibility of company that are based outside of the region. The focus (rightly) of the manufacturing economy has been on the nurturing of engineering skills. Neglect of this skill is beginning to be addressed with the recognition that the nation must manufacture goods in its own right, however with the recognition that we must produce things for sale in other countries as this provides the region with a much wider opportunity. Breaking the mindset. 

The West Midlands now has the opportunity to create a centre of excellence that not only manufactures, but provides the whole through life solution. Through partnering, outsourcing and regional focuses we can build a sustainable thriving economy. In order to do this our business leaders need to think bigger and invest in the local businesses in order to provide these essential skills.

Marketing agencies in the West Midlands.

The Birmingham creative industry also has a significant part to play in this evolution, it must advise, mentor, champion best practice and lead the regional business base to increased sales and improved bottom-line performance. At Zulu we often find companies that have received very little proactive help from their agencies, few have spent the time to really understand their clients business needs and have traditionally focussed too narrowly on selling their own services or products. I believe that Birmingham businesses require more from a marketing agency, I think that agencies should aim to provide a wide and comprehensive marketing consultancy service with highly experienced specialists when required. Marketing companies should see their own fortune more closely aligned with the success of their clients and in so doing form a more symbiotic mutually beneficial relationship. What are your thoughts on the design and marketing industry within the midlands? 

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