Don’t get disillusioned with the DTI initiative

I have been reading with interest various reports in the past few issues of Design Week on the Department of Trade and Industry’s North America Now/Gateway project selling UK services in the US, as well as the disappointing results from the New York medical show (DW 14 June).

Nettle Design is a partner in a group called Access GB, which was set up three years ago in conjunction with PHT Marketing Research and The Hat Factory Marketing Communications.

The initial aim of Access GB was to identify European companies wishing to enter the UK market and to offer them marketing, research, design and advertising skills. We now have eight French clients and although the majority are looking at the UK, a couple have asked us to handle projects in other EC markets.

About six months ago we decided to target the US and I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at the first seminar organised by the DTI/New York Trade Consul a couple of weeks ago in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Although the DTI was most careful to point out that this was a pilot scheme and that I was not to expect a great response, the seminar ended with me being asked to come back and present our company to 12 New York/ New Jersey companies looking seriously at the UK and Europe.

Attending events such as the medical show are risky because you do not know who is likely to attend and how serious they are. And on top of this, the shows are quite costly to put together.

Based on my experience, talking to prospective clients on a more personal basis – for example at a seminar – seems to be the better option, and I sense that Americans are looking at British designers to help them negotiate their way through the European minefields.

Nettle/Access GB are certainly going to put a great deal of effort into the US and I would suggest that companies which are currently disillusioned should keep trying and not lose heart.

The DTI is there to help, but it does require our collective enthusiasm.

John Hurst

Nettle Design

London E1

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