Thought Leadership

Focus on Edinburgh – Ian McAteer, Group Chairman of The Union

Tom Holmes

Founder & Chairman


Following our recent feature City Brand Leaders – Edinburgh, we interviewed a select group of leaders from Edinburgh’s top agencies to help focus on the Edinburgh brand and consider their own agency vision.

Creativebrief Founder & Chairman Tom Holmes talks to Ian McAteer, Group Chairman, The Union.

Ian McAteer, Union

TH: What does the Edinburgh brand stand for?

IMcA: The Enlightenment. Athens of the North. Festival. Aspiration and creativity. Scottish through and through.

TH: How do you think Edinburgh should position itself?

IMcA: As one of Europe’s greatest cities.

TH: Are the city’s brand values reflected in your own agency culture?

IMcA: We’re a creative agency – so yes.

TH: Does being based in Edinburgh influence your creative output? If so, how?

IMcA: When required, we do work with an authentic Scottish accent.

TH: What makes your agency offer different?

IMcA: Only agency in Scotland which delivers all comms channels from one business, under one roof. Integration without smoke and mirrors.

TH: Why should clients consider sourcing work from Edinburgh agencies?

IMcA: Creativity. Service. Value. Passion. We’re also not up ourselves.

TH: What sort of clients do you want to attract?

IMcA: We already have a wide mix – across sectors, geographies and across disciplines. We’re interested in working with anyone who values marketing and what it can do to grow brands and business.

TH: What Scottish brands do you most admire and why?

IMcA: Highland Spring – because it is a brand leader in a tough market. McEwan’s Ales – because it’s a great Scottish beer brand. Tunnocks – because nothing beats a Caramel Wafer. Both The Dalmore and Jura single malt whiskies – because they are the two fastest growing malts in the world – and we work for them. McSween’s Haggis – because we’re Scots – and haggis, neeps and tatties is the best meal ever. 

TH: Are there any local marketers who have inspired you?

IMcA: All those who value Scottish agencies and/or are prepared to give them a chance. None of the many who don’t even spend two seconds considering a Scottish agency before they leap on the shuttle down to a lunch at the Ivy.

TH: What business would you most like to win?

IMcA: Coke. We’d love to have a pop at making it number one in Scotland.

TH: Thanks Ian.

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