The global recession has had a profound impact on the creative industries and nowhere is it more evident than in the UK, where other traditional flagship industries like manufacturing are conspicuously absent from the GDP and now enjoy a status similar to that of the dodo. Medium sized agencies have struggled to keep up with the big boys in a comparable scenario to that of the high street, in which, nationwide, local retailers are failing to compete with the overarching dominance of the ‘big four’ supermarkets.
The arts has also taken a hit, as consumers think twice about how they spend their money. Luxury items such as trips to the theatre, works of art and concert tickets have all dipped in sales as people tighten their belts and opt for the cheaper alternative.
Interestingly, this need to fight for survival in the marketplace has led to an increased emergence of collaborative business structures and a pooling of resources between divergent smaller companies with an emphasis on bespoke consultancy rather than the one-size-fits-all middle man approach.
In events, specialists, creative consultancies and logistics companies are coming together on a pitch by pitch basis to rival the large go-to agencies to win new work. And the good news is that they are succeeding. At the peak of the economic crisis at the end of 2009, Coca-Cola Enterprises held their largest internal event for 17 years. All about the Idea, the creative lead on the project, implemented a new way of working, which embraced the ideas that event contractors could provide, elevating these specialists from being merely a provider of goods to being part of the team. Guided by the creative directors, the integrated supplier solution ensures no wastage and produces a cost-efficient result for the client, who has their own proverbial belt to tighten.
In the creative industries, as in the natural world, it comes down to survival of the fittest. The way that a species survives in the wild is to evolve and adapt to respond to any given threat. The creative industries are evolving; they’re meeting the threat head on and for the most part they’re surviving.