Channel 4 has announced its new headquarters – outside of London – will be based in Leeds, ending a lengthy pitching process and fierce competition. Leeds defeated many other cities, including Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham, to be named the new home of some 300 Channel 4 staff – but how much of this was down to the creative agencies, PRs and marketers who banded together for the All in. Leeds campaign?
All In. Leeds was launched at the beginning of September by Leeds Council and over 50 agencies as a collective effort to showcase creativity in the region. Initially presenting a ‘love letter’ to Channel 4 – thanking them for prompting the creation of All In. Leeds – at the campaign’s heart was a manifesto that aims to shape the future of the creative sector in five areas: education, community, talent & diversity, businesses and creativity.
All five manifesto pledges are linked by the agencies’ desire to work together, as a collective, for the greater good of creativity in the city and region.
This collective undoubtedly played a part in the city’s victory, as Channel 4 said, in its official announcement, that Leeds is home to ‘a thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool’, which will help support Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit.
Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: ‘Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region. Locating our National HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the North of England.’
The move is a huge opportunity for agencies outside of London and signals a potential shift in the future of the media landscape. Channel 4 was forced into this decision by the Government, and it may now open the floodgates for more regionally-diverse media representation across the country.
Good news, perhaps, for the three Leeds-based PR agencies that are big enough to appear on PRWeek’s Top 150 – the industry’s barometer for PR success – but maybe a concern for the 122 that are London-based. A surge in regional PR offices is now likely, as PRs look to remain close with decision makers and stakeholders increasingly spread out across the country.
This is all opportunity for PRs, but perhaps the biggest opportunity is the results that can come out of working together. All In. Leeds showed how simple it is to work together and how many common goals competing agencies have. It’s a reminder of the power of the existing collectives in industry – the CIPR and PRCA – and a reminder that PR is buoyant and strong in its own right.
Congratulations Leeds, we’re excited to see what’s next.