New media groups Cluster round

A group of 14 new media companies have this week launched a collaborative network, The Cluster, in a move designed to manage costs and improve competitiveness among smaller independents.

Founding members include consultancies Lateral, the Pavement, Preloaded and Think Pod, as well as companies across the spectrum of new media, including technical and software developers, games, marketing and PR specialists.

Lateral chairman Jon Bains says the commercial rationale is to keep overheads, and, in particular, staff costs down by focusing on key areas of expertise while sharing information and collaborating on big pitches.

‘For independent consultancies to have a future we need to behave in a more consistent manner and share best practice. This will give us a competitive advantage as the recovery happens,’ he says.

The group also plans to share information through First Tuesday-style informal networking events and seminars.

‘There are real intangible benefits [for smaller groups] in talking to other high-level people in the same situation and solving problems together,’ says Bains.

Companies within The Cluster will continue to operate separate financial and management structures, but Bains anticipates the group will become more formalised in the future and hopes it will ‘gain a voice’ within the industry.

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