Thinking outside the box (and the office) on the North Coast of Cornwall
Mostly, the Wavelength Media office is just like the office of any other creative agency. It’s filled with magazines, computers, desks and a team who pile in in the morning and put the kettle on. In the evening, after a hard day’s work, we shut the doors and go home.
But there are a few differences. Some are subtle, like the fine coating of sand that lightly dusts the floor, no matter how many times it’s swept out, or the occasional squawk of a seagull. And some, like the surfboards and wetsuits stacked in the corner or the constant roaring of waves crashing on the beach less than twenty metres from the door, are not so subtle.
They’re strong hints of what is by far the biggest difference between Wavelength Media and your average creative agency in the UK: our location. Nestled against the cliffs of Tolcarne Beach in the seaside resort of Newquay, 250 miles from London, we’re based in a town with a population that’s 0.2% the size of the capital’s. Here, the opening of a sushi bar raises the question of whether the town is being gentrified.
Yet with the number of people fleeing the capital to live elsewhere having hit a five-year high and net outward migration from London having reached 93,300 last June, this location is one of our biggest assets. Integral to our brand identity and the agency’s roots in Wavelength magazine, Europe’s oldest surfing magazine, our spot on the Cornish North Shore puts us within easy reach of a grassroots culture that’s yet to be diluted by regeneration and luxury housing developments. Here, our team enjoy a quality of life that’s unimpeded by long hours commuting or the looming threat of forking out for an overpriced cab if you miss the last train home.
In the office itself, as the growing collection in the corner suggests, everyone is encouraged (within reason) to adhere to a work/life balance inspired by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s policies (namely, “I don’t care when you work as long as the job gets done” and “when the surf comes up, you drop work and you go surfing”). Our team fits in lunch-break and post-work surfs whenever they can and these “board meetings” are just as much a part of our nine-to-five as watching a sun set into the sea with a cold beer are to our lives outside the office.
But what does this mean for us as a creative agency? And how does it empower us to improve the services we can offer our clients?
The key advantage is that here, we have both the time and space to really exercise our creativity and to be inspired. Life outside the office is just as important as the work we produce in the office, and this inevitably leads to thinking “outside the box” when it comes to servicing our clients. Time isn’t wasted commuting or queuing in Pret every day; it’s maximised and spent being creative.
Moreover, with more and more of us prioritising quality of life as well as career opportunities and economic attractiveness, when it comes to where we choose to work, our location has enabled us to attract a uniquely qualified team. Imaginative, passionate and ambitious, they have the opportunity to develop their skills, to flex their creative muscles independently on a daily basis, and to work with a rapidly expanding portfolio of clients.
Of course, running a creative agency in Cornwall isn’t always a smooth ride- reminding delivery companies that, yes, we’re actually down the steps and on the beach is an almost daily struggle. Yet when it comes down to the daily business of finding creative solutions, not only do we have countless opportunities to be inspired , but we have the time and space to turn that inspiration into engaging, persuasive and compelling content for our clients.
The result? A growing agency, a growing team and an environment where thinking outside the office, and the box is part of the job description.