Pan-European marketing Brighter Directions tells Pound Sterling Live that many European companies looking to expand into the UK have delayed or put off entirely this objective owing to the June Brexit vote.
Brighter Directions are marketing outsource agency who act as a remote marketing team for brands and businesses across the globe; from innovative start-ups through to global corporations needing extra capacity.
Their specialist areas of delivery cover PR & Media communications, Social Media Outreach and email marketing campaigns.
They therefore have a pulse on the business investment intentions at a wide array of UK and European businesses and have noted some concerning changes since the Brexit vote of June 23rd.
“We have seen first-hand through our international relationships the value the EU creates for Britain and the countries within the consortium who are now absolutely distraught to see that the positive EU relationship will not continue as part of the wider network in the future,” says Managing Director Claire Curzon.
The company anticipate a “dramatic reduction” in that business which offers support to companies investing in the UK in the future and they report to have already seen this from the immediate revolution of the Brexit vote.
Brighter Directions are a multidiscipline agency which means that they don’t work within set sectors; the business covers a wide range of sectors from widget manufacturers through to consumer retail – and everything in between.
The majority of this work takes place remotely with companies who are based in the EU.
Curzon is now worried that her business is suffering from the recent referendum result.
“We are in a unique position with our export activity, in our main work (which focuses on things such as product launches, crisis management, staff marketing and skills training) we work mainly with corporates globally. Here, our EU clients account for around 66% of this work, with the remaining stretching across mainly Emirates, Africa, USA, and the Far East.
“But we also work with SME organisations of a predominantly European base, who are looking to launch their products and services within a UK marketplace. Our job is to work with them and support their UK entry. The EU makes up around 98% of this segment.
“Finally, we work on European funded contracts in the UK, delivering mainly under tender agreements. Although we predominately work within pound sterling, the deflation of the euro has affected us, yes. Although we haven’t increased our prices as of yet, but we will have to, to compensate for the euro loss.”
With such a lot of the business having a vested interest in European relations, it’s no wonder that Claire and her colleagues are now looking at whether their long-term strategy will stay the same.
“We have noticed that many of our EU enquiries who were looking to launch into the UK have delayed or put off entirely to look at exporting to other countries. Out of around 60 enquiries, we have seen this across around 85%.
“In terms of our Corporate work, although this has not reduced, it is campaign based work predominately and fluctuates anyway, we won’t really see the extent of this until maybe the Q2 of 2017. Sadly, we have seen many of the ERDF projects pulled as a result of Brexit.
“Our long-term strategy has to change. The third segment of our export (EU funding) makes up a bulk of our turnover and, as a result we are now looking at alternative UK based tenders to fill this declining gap in our provisions. I was a keen ‘stay’ campaigner, not only for my own commercial desires but I believe that as a whole the UK was stronger in Europe.”
One bonus is that as of yet Curzon isn’t effected by the threat of a curb or restriction on freedom of movement within the EU.
She says, “We don’t tend to employ from overseas, however, we do support and take on a number of international work placements throughout the year on internships, which I believe will be massively affected by this.”
So what does she think now that the public has had its say?
Claire says, “I think it’s unfortunate that the majority (even though a minor figure) vote is already seeing very significant repercussions for the UK inwards investments as well as external exporting opportunities and I don’t see this changing for the positive in the future.
“I think the gap between Europe and the UK will widen – we were previously thought of as a very cultural, accepting and excellent trade country and already we have seen first-hand that these relationships have become diluted and the preconceptions change to wonder ‘why we don’t want to do business with them’… which is very sad.
“I believe Theresa May certainly has a very difficult job ahead of her. I think first and foremost before any negotiations are made she needs to change public perception and educate the country on what Brexit means and be honest with people who voted what this means for the core voting principles, immigration and NHS funding – total transparency is required whatever direction we move forward with EU and unfortunately I see don’t see this.
“Clearly there are some very difficult days ahead, yet the transition is likely to take some time to come into full force; Brighter Directions will continue to support EU and other international organisations enter and remain successful the UK market through outsourced marketing solutions, PR and social tactics.”