Brexit and COVID-19 are setbacks, but London will always be PR capital of Europe

These are tough times for all of us, and big cities like London have felt the pandemic harder than most.

London's ambition is not only to be the PR capital of Europe - but of the world, says Chris Rumfitt
London's ambition is not only to be the PR capital of Europe - but of the world, says Chris Rumfitt

Today, the centre of our capital city is largely empty, and most of us sit at kitchen tables and in spare bedrooms, keeping our businesses going and clients serviced.

Brexit, too, adds to the uncertainty and concern many people feel, and has led some to jump to the conclusion that London is somehow finished as the PR Capital of Europe.

But while these are difficult times, with the vaccine being rolled out at a rate of nearly half a million people a day, I am certain London is poised and ready to bounce back sooner rather than later.

Indeed, not only will it retain the crown as Europe’s PR epicentre, but it will continue its march toward being the world’s number-one hub for the profession we all love.

Brexit is a red herring

First things first: Brexit is a red herring. Services were never covered by the EU Single Market, so leaving the EU makes little difference to how we trade. We do need to make sure we maintain the flow of European talent into London, and need to keep a beady eye that immigration policies are sufficiently liberal and open in this regard. But we’re far from the only sector that will be arguing for this, and my bet is that while bureaucracy will go up, at the end of the day we’ll still remain the honeypot for the best European PR talent.

A global media hub

It’s simply a fact that London is the only European city that is a global media hub, producing content with real global reach. Does Le Monde have reach like The Times? Does Germany’s ARD compare in influence to the BBC? And is there a publication, anywhere in the Europe, with influence over financial markets on a par with the Financial Times?

Disparate competition

Sorry Europe, but London’s competitors to be the pre-eminent international PR market are primarily across the Atlantic. But there, the market is much more disparate. Public affairs is led from DC. Financial PR from New York. Corporate from either NY or Chicago, and tech PR from the west coast. In London, we have everything – all of these disciplines, at scale, in one great city. And with a time zone that helps with international working.

That concentration of all of the PR disciplines, combined with our amazing media landscape with global reach, is what makes London the most diverse, dynamic and exciting PR marketplace in the world.

Brexit and the pandemic are a setback, but London’s strengths are much greater than those challenges.

Chris Rumfitt is founder and chief executive of Field Consulting

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