Most Influential City

 |  By: Steve Johnson

When pitching for work from international companies, does your location influence the client’s decision? Does being in the UK give you an advantage over agencies and consultancies elsewhere?

In a report just published – Size is not the Answer: The Changing Face of the Global City – the definition of successful cities is seen as changing. The authors assert that size isn’t the most important criteria today. What matters more is influence. They came up with eight criteria:

  • Technology and media
  • Industry dominance or hub status
  • Airline connectivity
  • Diversity
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Corporate headquarters
  • Producer services
  • Financial services

And the global winner? London.


In particular they say that London:

  • Has an unparalleled legacy as a global financial capital
  • Is the historic home of the English language and the cultural, legal and business practices that define global capitalism
  • Has an advantageous time zone
  • Is a media hub, a major advertising centre, and is home to the BBC, The Financial Times and The Economist, arguably three of the world’s most influential and respected news organisations
  • Has websites for London newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Guardian which are among the most visited in the world
  • Is a globally important entertainment hub, the second globally in terms of spending by international visitors
  • Is Europe’s top technology startup centre, with 3,000 tech startups
  • Has Google’s largest office outside of Silicon Valley

Previously, cities were mostly assessed by size, and their success was closely tied to their national economy. In this new model, the authors (based in Singapore and the USA) argue that a truly global city wins influence through information-based economies and such sectors as media, culture and technology. These will determine economic power in the future. And London comes first.

Of course UK agencies outside of London, whether in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh or wherever, will quite rightly claim they have their own local culture, enterprise and creativity. The UK is a compact place, so such cities enjoy very many of the spin-off benefits of London, and have fast access to it, but without the cost base. Either way, it’s a compelling argument that team UK agencies and consultancies can look any company in the eye when pitching for new business. It’s nice to be in the sweet spot.