Location, location, location

Location, location, location

November 2017

bigdog Creative Managing Partner, Cordell Burke, recently spoke to DNA Recruit in Campaign about the value location diversity can unlock for an ad agency and the benefits of moving beyond a London-centric worldview.

With four offices around the country – London, Norwich, Leicester and Birmingham – we’re one of only a handful of UK agencies that can claim to be national. As a creative agency, we’re characterised by London-centric principles and work with international clients but, because of our company history, the London office was never our centre of gravity. It’s grown out of a need to service London clients, but not all clients are headquartered there.

For example, Aviva are our next-door-neighbours in Norwich. Our Leicester and Birmingham offices serve Midlands-based clients, like NEFF, and those in the north, in the same way. We pride ourselves on being geographically close to our clients, wherever they are.

Capital punishment?

Historically, London has always been seen as where the exciting work is, leading talent to naturally gravitate there. But, as it becomes increasingly costly to live in London, we’re seeing increasing receptiveness towards looking at opportunities elsewhere.

That applies equally to brilliant graduates who might question the affordability of London at the start of their careers, as well as top London-based talent looking for a lifestyle change. Both groups are increasingly realising there are great agencies to work for outside the capital and that moving away from London no longer means moving away from the kind of top tier accounts they want to work on.

Choosing where to live and work is a major life choice, but there are great agencies all over the country producing work that’s ended up in Cannes, D&AD or other national/international awards. 

Looking beyond London

We’ve found that having a geographical spread works brilliantly for bigdog from a talent recruitment point of view as it makes it very easy for us to consider candidates from all over the UK. Our ambition is to attract the best talent, wherever they may be, and give them varied opportunities, including working out of whichever of our offices fits best for them.

What’s key is to dispel the industry-wide myth that doing great work for big clients are London-only opportunities, it’s just not true. And increasingly staff, particularly younger staff, appreciate being given a variety of location-related options to choose from. It’s all about grabbing the best people as they become available, and making them aware of the range of opportunities that are out there.

A greater spread of talent

At the end of the day, there’s no great secret to achieving a location-diverse workplace. Different working practices mean location diversity no longer simply means new offices. People can work remotely so easily now. And we regularly implant people in clients’ offices. They often work out of ours too – it’s all about close collaboration and cementing those relationships.

Our structure and history made location diversity a natural evolution for bigdog, and now, it’s about meeting client needs. Stay close to your clients, ideally close enough that a face-to-face is always possible within the hour, and take all the steps necessary to attract the very best talent available with an even spread across all your locations. 

All types of diversity are important and diversity applies as much to location as it does to other factors. In advertising, it’s particularly important to have staff that reflect the landscape that you’re trying to reach. Sex, age, class, ethnicity, location – diversity across all these areas is important and if you can achieve variety in your team, you stand a far better chance of producing great, ground-breaking work.


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