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Think Challenger, Think Local

Why do some businesses think the answer to their comms* progress lies with a London agency?


I‘ve just changed the company’s bank accounts after four years. In this instance I had to as we were with a banking monopoly that then had to offload a raft of SMEs and pay us for the privilege. I decided to go with a challenger bank.

Why? Because I already have a relationship with them here in Cambridge – but perhaps more importantly because they asked and because they were interested in our business (quite rightly).

And that’s got me thinking…

Why don’t more founders and CEOs think like me – that is, ‘Think Challenger’, even ‘Think Local’ when it comes to choosing their comms company?

Last month, we were told by one that, while they would love to work with us – as they ‘get’ our ethos and, perhaps more importantly, we ‘get’ theirs – they’ve opted to go with a ‘London’ agency. The misconception being that if an agency is located within our capital city, it must mean they can do a better or more efficient job.

As far as I’m concerned, that is just not always true.

At Cofinitive, we succeed in bringing together start-ups and investors, media and opportunities because we’ve worked in the business world and we know what we’re doing… and because our pants are on fire as much as our clients’!

We do nothing less than a ‘London’ agency; although quite possibly we do more, and quicker, and I say (flinches a little), for less. Take for example, one of our clients who, within weeks of our completing their strategic communications plan, has enjoyed extensive national and global media coverage across TV and radio, having never had any broadcast coverage before. Of note, this is a London-based client who wanted to work with us because “We wanted to work with a communications company that offered something different to more traditional agencies, and Cofinitive is incredibly well connected round the globe as well as in the UK.”

Meanwhile, another very disillusioned start-up consulted with us after a relatively disastrous launch. They came to us with a brand and website which looked as if it had been knocked together in a few hours by their “brother’s friends mate who does this kinda stuff”. The ‘brand’ we could turn into something positive, but what was even worse was the execution of the brand – indeed the lack of it. I was (to put it mildly) professionally upset, border-line incensed,  when I heard it had actually been developed by one of the big name top ‘London’ agencies that would have charged them an eye-watering amount of money – they should know and do better.

Conversely, I was told by another London-based start-up that they no longer work with big London agencies after being sold a contract by a senior executive and ending up with a junior intern running their account. And that’s a story we hear time and time again.

People think that going to a ‘London’ agency adds credibility to their stage of development – that it means they’re going to get more coverage; a shinier new logo; a bigger, better brand; a more engaged team. But you can get all that here with Cofinitive. We’re happy to be your ‘London’ agency, we’re just based in Cambridge!

We get results. We get exposure. We’ve got decades and decades of experience on the ‘coalface’ on both sides of the table.

And, what’s more, in the burgeoning Cambridge and East of England region, we’re also part of a world-leading, thriving business community, which means we know you, we know your market and we know your contacts.

So remember, ‘Think Challenger, Think Local’. Why wouldn’t you?

* comms, PR, strategy, brand, engagement and so on

PS We have worked with, and will continue to work with the best agencies and comms companies, irrespective of what city or country they’re based in.


Faye Holland, Founder, Cofinitive