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23 March

Why Austin Is Becoming One Of The Best Cities for Creatives

Posted by in Musings on March 23, 2017

If you’ve opened a national newspaper, INC, Fortune, Fast Company, Wired or read any news story about fastest growing cities in the last few years, each recognizes Austin as a great place to live. But why? The cost of living is rising, traffic is a nightmare, and the city is in constant change.

Of course, there are the canned responses like, ‘The economy is booming,’ ‘It’s Silicon Valley 2.0, ‘It’s the Third Coast.’ or ‘It’s the music capital of the world!’ But none of those do Austin justice, especially from a creative perspective. Why would a creative want to pick up and move here? Why would a marketing company want to open their doors in Austin?

The answer is outlined by a friend and colleague of mine, Paul O’Brien, “The reason we’re all drawn to Austin isn’t the startup scene nor headlines that it’s the best place to start a business, it’s that unique in the world is how the arts are colliding with entrepreneurship.”

Simply put, creatives are no longer the sole inhabitants on this little island of misfit toys. For a long time, it has felt like creative agencies were “out there” and there was a huge disconnect between our mentality and that of an entrepreneur. That’s simply not the case today. Particularly in Austin, there is a creative angle associated with virtually all new companies (and increasingly with the established ones). It’s not just fun to be a part of and witness that shift in mentality; it’s gratifying to see the value of what you do being recognized and sought after.

This collision of art and entrepreneurship is closing the ‘us vs. them’ gap and affording creatives with great opportunity to be on the ground floor of new technologies, new business models, and booming economies.

Concurrently, this is a driver of a new-found respect for the creative process (yes, even though it’s creative there is a process). One of the biggest shifts Spoke has seen since opening in Austin has been how much our clients value, appreciate, and seek out our expertise. Many new businesses have trouble simply, clearly explaining the value they provide. As an agency, we have been able to push the limits of our entrepreneurial-minded clients in a way that has often been a struggle for us in other cities. Often, we shed new light and understanding of the power of the business to the owners themselves.

These businesses want to stand out; they want to be unique and understood. They are eager for help and seek out our experience as marketers, storytellers, designers, and yes…creatives. Are you jealous yet?

We all agree that Austin is the “Third Coast” and (according to Forbes) the “Next biggest boom town in America,” but if you look a layer deeper, these headlines represent a great opportunity for creative agencies in a city that actually wants them.

Let us know if you want to learn more about our Austin roots or just meet up for a beer.