Gary Freemantle, CEO, Clarion Communications
I could just leave it at that I suppose, and there'd be a few nods of general agreement. But what I'm referring to is the ‘London bubble’: walk down any central London street of an early evening and you'll find people spilling out of pubs, even on a Monday (and don't even attempt to buy a pint on a Friday). Try to book a fancy restaurant for a celebration and they can probably squeeze you in at 6pm on a Tuesday in November if you vacate the table by 6.30 AND leave a 90% deposit. Because of course London is a country within a country, an international mega-city still increasing in global popularity, fuelled by the City and by massive investment from prosperous countries around the world.
That's fine. But it does mean that anyone living and working in London whose job it is to communicate to and influence British consumers must constantly be awake to the huge variety of consumer needs and circumstances throughout the country. That’s not to say there aren't enclaves of wealth in many parts of Britain, and similarly areas of harsh poverty (or even just normality) in parts of London. But in general terms, the capital remains an anomaly. So, my advice to London PRs is 1) spend as much time outside London and the South East as possible, and 2) before every creative brainstorm break your bubble-thinking with a short sharp slap - it works wonders.