London's Tech City: Small is beautiful

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03/06/2013
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The WFA recently ran two tours of Tech City, an area based around London's much publicised 'Silicon Roundabout', where 1,340 diverse digital and creative businesses, including many start-ups, have clustered together.

Twenty-five of WFA's corporate and national advertiser association members attended the events and learned how small start-ups work, visiting a variety of co-working spaces, including the Hoxton Mix (www.hoxtonmix.com), Central Working (www.centralworking.com) and Google's Campus (www.campuslondon.com). In a fast-changing landscape where cutting edge content and effective tech solutions are critical for marketers, these spaces offer advertisers a refreshing alternative to the large global agencies they are more used to partnering with.

Inspired by similar co-working spaces on the USA's west coast, the Hoxton Mix founders have pioneered a new way of working which enables these talented specialists to come together in order to answer large corporate briefs. Hans Helbig, Global Head of Digital, Reckitt Benckiser (and member of WFA's DIGITAL FORUM) was on hand to share a real-world example of how RB has taken advantage of this opportunity.

Other knowledge sharing on the days included micro presentations from a selection of Tech City agencies, covering strategy, analytics, social media and digital media (inc. mobile). Companies featured included: Idea Junction (www.ideajunction.co.uk), Solid State Group (www.solidstategroup.com), 3Beards (www.3-beards.com), AnalogFolk (www.analogfolk.com) and Heretics (www.hereticsagency.com).

As one of the participants, Gerhard Louw - International Media Management at Deutsche Telekom, put it: "The enthusiasm and creativity of the people involved in Tech City was hugely inspiring. These start-ups and digital agencies deserve some investigation by big multinational brands - the set-up of the Hoxton Mix makes it possible to incorporate small, highly creative digital agencies in your communication processes.”

One of the presenters during the day neatly encapsulated what areas like Tech City and similar co-working spaces offer: "it's not just a way of working, it's a state of mind". These spaces offer talent a way of working in central London without the crippling overheads and with fewer egos. And the model seems to be on the rise elsewhere in the world, with similar offerings being developed in Germany, China, Brazil and United Arab Emirates.

For more background on Tech City see the video www.hoxtonmix.com/community-2/tech-city or contact Rob Dreblow r.dreblow@wfanet.org


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