In more than 20 years running an advertising and PR agency in Westchester and then Stamford, I’ve seen the tides come in and go out for local firms. And mostly, the tide seems to be receding. Remember the Ad Club of Fairfield County? Agency leadership I speak with say that the talent they need, primarily younger people in the first quarter of their careers, just isn’t available. And top talent (suits and creatives alike) feels isolated in Connecticut. They feel like they’re on their own oases, surrounded by desert.
Most agency and creative services firm principals feel there is adequate opportunity, but these folk also tell me that they are aggressively working their new business programs. There is little “inbound” from local corporate HQs (outside their personal networks, that is). They have to hussle. Being in Stamford, say, is no particular advantage when it comes to attracting clients. My sense is that client-side execs consider local resources too small to be significant. They are dismissed. “We need a NYC agency” is something I have heard when I prospected NYC midsize and larger companies as well as some businesses locally that fit my criteria for a prospect.
As a small shop, we often would win business based on specialization. Nothing we do about catalyzing the creative industries in southwestern Connecticut is going to change that aspect of agency life. But I think we can grow the market for creative services and the talent pool needed by bringing focus on the sector, and competing for State resources and the attention of major local users of these services.
Economic development starts with someone, or a few someones audacious enough to say, “why not?”
Are you audacious enough to learn more? Please consider attending the “Creative Corridor” breakfast event January 25, where you’ll meet some like-minded individuals and also receive insights from the just-completed research project on the state of creativity in our area (thanks to Marian Salzman and Euro RSCG Worldwide PR for underwriting this important first step, as well as FCPRA board members who helped recruit research participants).
Hope to see you there.