White Paper

Working for a growing design and marketing agency in london’s very swamped market.


What I’ve learnt working for a London Design and Marketing agency could fill reams of xerox paper. Don’t worry I’m not actually going to do that to you however, now that I have been given the opportunity neither am I going to let you get away without sharing some of my industry insights.


So to give you some background I came to London like lots of other little Aussie possums all bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the big city and perhaps more stressfully the tube. I had been working in similar roles in Sydney which has a global reputation as a leader in the creative and marketing industry. Country-wide more than 14,000 businesses employ 22, 705 people which generate a combined revenue of $4bn annually and Sydney is recognised as the commercial capital as reported by IBIS world research in April 2015.

The statistics are strong and I felt prepared. In hindsight I don’t think anything can prepare someone for the Bank’s station platform during peak hour on a Tuesday morning. This was my first indication of how the London market would be different to work in.

The UK’s creative industry turns over £71.4 billion per year, that’s £8 million an hour, the sector employ 232,000 people. London and South East based design agency’s makeup 40% of the market according to the design council industry review. In short the industry is swamped and competitive but on the other hand the industry is also healthy and thriving. With the average age of designers only 38 the future is bright.I have heard the terms busy and thankless work amongst my peers and most certainly the hours are long, however the economy of design speaks for of all you over-worked and under-paid designer out there. The figures confirm that the creative industry is punching above its weight, that the skills you have worked so hard to acquire and the talent you possess is translating into a powerhouse of an industry.


So while so many agencies are going from strength to strength how can we future proof our businesses to survive the test of time? How can we harness this energy and the innovation of our dynamic sector?

I have a theory and bear with me here; no amount of white papers, statistical reports or even social media updates are going to make your agency carve out a place in the industry long term.

While these are all significant in understanding our business, forecasting trends and of course presentation via social media has the power to get noticed it’s not going to bring your client’s back with new briefs time after time.

As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature, Man must explore, and this is exploration at its greatest. What does matters is a skillful balance of good business practices;

Your Brand

  1. Specialise in a specific niche, instead of offering your services to a huge variety of industries. Become an authority in one targeted segment and immerse your business within their industry. This will increase your clients trust in comparison to your competitors because you can offer them what others can’t and that is understanding.
  2. Build an organsation that will be both flexible and agile in a changing market. It’s not about follow trends but anticipating and identifying development opportunities and then having the team that are ready to implement accordingly.
  3. Don’t forget about your own brand identity, create designs you are proud of then start showcasing them via your digital and print media great design will speaks for itself.

Your Clients

  1. Business to Business actually means, person to person so pick up the phone get to know the people down the line. Everybody wants to enjoy the 9-5 slog as much as possible and a little goes a long way. You are not talking to Microsoft you are talking to a human that is likely pushed for deadlines and desperate to leave at 5 o’clock to get to the pub just like you.
  2. You’re the expert act like it – you are not likely going to have another design agency give you a design brief. You are likely to have an accountant, a cafe manager or a start-up. They are coming to you for your experience in design, so be honest and don’t let them use comic san in neon green on pink.
  3. In saying that remember not to be egotistical, understand others in order to be better understood then communicate according. Providing a good design serve is about collaboration and communication to achieve a goal.

Your Suppliers

  1. Develop only strategic partnerships, align your brand with other business that value the same principles of quality and service. Build relationships with your suppliers this will go a long way when your client ask the impossible, however competition keeps people honest so always get your three quotes comparison.
  2. Your employees are the most important suppliers you have hire with clarity. Their energy is not an infinite resource treat them well and they will work with passion and inspire you.


In a competitive industry these are the practices that will set your agency aside and future proof our place in the industry. The alternative is larger corporations hiring in-house design teams’ in order gain greater control and payless for intellectual property.

They will keep coming back if we create an experience people enjoy, if we share the creative process within your industry, with your clients and your suppliers.

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