The demand for British labelled exports is continuing to rise and the Government has a vision for 100,000 more SMEs to join the ranks of exporters, which has the potential to help reduce the UK’s trade deficit.
‘Brand Britain’ has evolved over the years but its true value is becoming increasingly apparent. Today, SMEs from a wide variety of sectors are enjoying fast international growth and more are expanding overseas every day. The question is: how can SMEs make the most of the opportunities that ‘Brand Britain’ offers?
We wanted to share some top tips on how to make the most of your UK heritage, using the real world example of Swaine Adeney Brigg. The history of the British company goes back to 1750 starting in St. James, London. Today, they hand craft the famous Brigg umbrellas and walking sticks along with Swaine Adeney luxury bridle leather luggage, holdalls, gentlemen’s attaché cases and folios. Swaine Adeney Brigg is already enjoying huge growth overseas thanks to its rich history and long-held traditions.
Understand where British products and services are most revered
Ensure you research your target market before making any big decisions, such as overhauling your entire brand. You should look for countries that have a high regard for British products, particularly in your own sector. At Swaine Adeney Brigg, 38 per cent of its shipments go to the US alone where it’s well known that British luxury products are desirable. A natural and fruitful fit for a brand like this.
The Internet is a good resource for research, as are trade bodies such as UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). It’s also worth speaking to your logistics provider who may be able to offer expert on-the-ground insight.
Consider making Britishness an integral part of package design
The obvious way to do this is to add a Union Jack flag, or a “made in Britain” label, but this isn’t always possible or suitable and there are more subtle ways of doing this as well. For a high-end brand such as Swaine Adeney Brigg, the nuances of font, tone of voice and a sense of provenance can combine even more powerfully. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, the key is to find out what works for your business, and your target market.
Offering a high level of customer service
While Britain has a reputation for providing quality goods, it also has a reputation for trustworthiness, politeness and professionalism. Perhaps the best way to ensure this comes across is to offer first-rate customer service – something which is easier said than done when your customers are half the world away.
Choosing the right transport provider is critical to this – ensuring quality service is delivered from start to finish is crucial in gaining customer loyalty. “With many of our goods becoming family heirlooms, it’s very important that from design to delivery our products are respected and cared for,” says David Albon, Commercial Director at Swaine Adeney Brigg. The British brand offers maintenance and restoration services for all goods and uses FedEx to return any international shipments so they can be brought back to the UK for restoration and then sent back to the customer… This ensures that should a customer need a new umbrella canopy, everything is dealt with seamlessly right up to delivering the product back to their door. By offering such a service, Swaine Adeney Brigg is able to give a supremely high level of customer service, years after the sale is complete.
Tapping into ‘Brand Britain’ could be a powerful use of time and resources and could grow your business significantly. Gaining insight from other brands and speaking to your logistics provider, who has a sophisticated understanding of the export market and the challenges that this brings, will set you in good stead for success.
By David Poole, Managing Director Sales, UK South at FedEx Express