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Boost your exports – Tips for SMEs

By Lauren

One of the biggest assets to grow your exports is free – THE U.K. FLAG – are you making the most of it?


500 years ago, if a ship arrived offshore, would you run for the hills or fire up a feast? It’s pretty likely you’d make a snap judgement based upon the flag you saw flying – and how fast you could run.


A similar scenario still plays out if your product or brand is unknown when it reaches an export market for the first time. A customer will look for your flag.


If your brand is relatively unknown and the perception of the U.K. as the ‘Country of Origin’ is positive in your target market, then leverage it.


Not just a ‘MADE IN THE U.K….‘ (or DESIGNED IN THE U.K.) on pack, but print the U.K. flag on packaging, build it into presentations and leverage iconic images from the U.K. on social.

Landscapes, buildings, celebrities, you name it. It works. I’ve seen the boost it can make to a company’s sales many times.


‘MADE IN THE U.K.’ not only plays an important role in first impressions, it also influences purchase decisions and margins. The Harvard Business Review confirms that:

  • Your ‘Country of Origin’ influences perceived product benefits. Even before you open the pack or twist the corkscrew,  you have a sense of how good that product is going to be for you. French wine, Belgian chocolate, British design and fashion, Swiss watches. MADE IN THE U.K. is a great competitive advantage we have.
  • Your ‘Country of Origin’ influences perceived quality and durability. British goods and services are perceived as good quality and built to last. Not always true of course, but that’s the general perception. In contrast, Chinese manufacturers have had to work really hard to change the perception that MADE IN CHINA means cheap and throw-away.
  • and because of these perceptions, MADE IN THE U.K. influences price expectations. Your overseas will not expect the cheapest price (although they will negotiate for sure!), they are buying because their customers want the feeling of ‘Buying British.’ It says something about them. It suggests they are cool, discerning, cosmopolitan.

And the ‘Country of Origin’ of your brand is more important than the ‘Country of Origin’ of your product.


So don’t worry if you outsource manufacture, DESIGNED IN THE U.K. will still work for you.


Wherever the perception of the U.K. is stronger than your brand in the beginning, take advantage of what is all around us. FLY THE FLAG, it works.


UKBA Consultant Gemma Clarke works with UK SME’s to drive international sales and revenues. If you would be interested in a review of your exporting business and potential, please email .

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