Exporting – quality and self-belief

by Michael C Hughes

Attending this year’s British Chambers of Commerce Global Network event in London and the mood was inspirational and upbeat. The presentations and main theme of the event was how to export and reach overseas markets; and even post-Brexit, one couldn’t resist the positivity and ‘can do’ mood from the speakers, but more pertinently this was absolutely the same feeling from amongst those attending that I spoke with.

British Chambers of Commerce

British Chambers of Commerce

Lots and lots of really interesting and thoughtful information delivered from various International business chambers. The trick is, of course how to translate the data and think through the implications. How to weave these gems of ideas  and facts into what we, at Wild Dog are doing now, or rather, maybe we should be doing in order to help our clients achieve their business objectives. Although I am not going to share all my notes, here are some interesting facts(well I think so!) for you to consider and do what you will with them:

  • In the Philippines, an area comprising over 7,000 islands, live a vast and disparate but growing mobile owning population with an unquenchable need/desire for mobile apps.
  • Whilst in Chile, with an established and growing middle-class, there is an anglo-love-in for quality and beautifully made UK goods and services.
  • In Vietnam, 45% of their 90 million population are under the age of 30 years and education is their absolute driving force; amongst the young is a desire to learn and in an interesting and engaging manner.

Needless to say, the real key to success with exporting is to design and create something beautifully, that is effective and ultimately, it needs to be commercial (people need to want it). However you can also lead and one should never forget that is one of the greatest strengths of design; design changes minds and mind-sets.

On the stage were the owner/founders of three extraordinary leading UK brands – Brompton Bicycles, Fever-Tree and Unruly. To a person, they were passionate about what their company did, how they do it and always without compromise of quality. They designed/built/created a product/service/thing that they knew was right, that the world needed, that they wanted/needed themselves. Once you have achieved this – then this is what you take to market. And it is that absolute self-belief (and justified I might add!) that has ensured their success overseas.

When asked what should the Government do to assist with exporting, one speaker said ‘nothing’. They then added that the Government just needs to tell us the ground rules, and we will create quality products/services and sell them. Equally tellin,g was the digital company speaker who explained that they had not appreciated that they were ‘exporters’ until someone congratulated them on the large number of overseas clients that they had…they had simply traded digital design in a world without frontiers from the start; it hadn’t crossed their mind that they were actually exporters.

Why should any of this be of interest to us at Wild Dog? Well, we too have flown out to market, and never thought twice about it being challenging. Okay maybe it can be challenging, but goodness the fun outweighs any sense of this. Europe? Yes of course, frequently and often. The USA? Absolutely – in fact this year we have been working with a very large pharmaceutical company on the US east coast rebuilding their website from the ground up (launches in the new year), a website for a charity on the US west coast…and in the mid-States, an engineering firm creating their catalogs and advertising. They simply like having a British design company do their creative; they believe it is better (and of course, they are correct!) and now it is incredibly good value with the Dollar/Sterling rate (please note my American cousins). Further over in the Far East, from a chance business encounter attending a conference in Myanmar, we now frequently work with organisations in the Far East.

As a consequence, our knowledge of a global audience assists all our clients. Those little things that you learn which are important in one area of the world, and less so in others. The most obvious being language and its structure. All print designers learn early on about most european languages and how to accommodate different character requirements (if you’re interested, for example the German language needs between 15-20% more space in print).

In the digital world the whole process of creating multi-language, dynamic sites takes on a vastly more complex design approach. The USA pharmaceutical company website we are presently working on is in four languages (Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and English), and requires a CMS and overseas editor access; plus of course training from us as to how to run their respective part of the corporate website. We are frequently involved with multi-language projects;  in fact even at Wild Dog, we have multi-language sites each geo-targeted in-country (here is our Burmese site: http://wilddogdesigngroup.com/mm/).

Wild Dog - Burmese language website

It is all part of the wonderful, extraordinary world in which we live; if you are in business, believe totally in your company’s product/service, then you have everything to gain by setting out on that road of discovery and excitement; and if you need a design agency to assist you, then you’ll know who to call? Wild Dog of course; because we live and breathe it –  just like you do.


Main image copyright – Michael C Hughes