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Export Week: How design can open up new markets for UK businesses

Export Week: How design can open up new markets for UK businesses

18 May 2015

Export Week, organised by UKTI, starts today and promises an action packed week of seminars, workshops and briefings to help promote the export industry to businesses.

Increasing exports is a critical part of the Government’s strategy to rebalance the UK economy, and there are several measures that have been introduced over the last few years to support this, including focusing on sectors that the UK has great strengths in, such as Creative Industries, Aerospace and Automotive.

Design is a vital ingredient for any business wanting to make more of their exports. Our research has demonstrated that for every £1 companies invest in design to support their growth they can expect to return £5 in exports.

Many UK businesses have successful products or services from which they could open up new markets overseas. However there are a number of barriers preventing businesses from exporting, among those cited in recent research studies, including a lack of confidence in knowing where and how to export.

As we continue to work with businesses, we have been looking at how design can help companies fast track their way to exporting success.

Among the areas of opportunity, there are four key ways in which design can enable growth for businesses that want to export more effectively:

  1. By helping businesses to understand end user and customer needs, therefore providing fresh insight into existing and new markets that can deliver value
  2. By better understanding needs within existing or new markets, a business can dramatically strengthen how it is positioned against its competitors and how it communicates its brand
  3. Often, products and services require adapting to ensure they are successfully adopted in a new market
  4. Design-led businesses are often highly innovative and, in turn, this can transform the innovative capabilities and confidence of teams engaging with overseas customers.  

These four strategies can all be enabled by the application of design-led thinking and planning, leading to a better understanding of international markets.

However, UK businesses need guidance to help them develop a better understanding of how design can help them enter international markets. They need to refine their products and services to meet the needs of these markets.

With UKTI, we’ve discussed the ways we can work together to support UK businesses to actively design the best possible way of interacting with potential customers in overseas marketplaces. 

Combining our design expertise with UKTI's export infrastructure, we will provide UK businesses with tailored advice on how to succeed internationally.

Stay tuned for further announcements on our plans and keep up with all of the highlights from Export Week on UKTI’s site.

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