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Deep breath, then move forwards

There has been a lot written on Brexit so I was tempted to avoid the subject for this month’s blog, but it is too big an issue to ignore, so here goes…

Within the DBA membership a large majority were in favour of remaining in the EU, and in the creative industries as a whole the proportion of “remainers” was even higher. But the cards have been dealt and regardless of which side of the fence you sat, we all now have to look to the positives going forward. Fixating on the result itself will reduce the ability of the UK to negotiate the best possible result for the country. So what to do now? Read more

There has been a lot written on Brexit so I was tempted to avoid the subject for this month’s blog, but it is too big an issue to ignore, so here goes…

Within the DBA membership a large majority were in favour of remaining in the EU, and in the creative industries as a whole the proportion of “remainers” was even higher. But the cards have been dealt and regardless of which side of the fence you sat, we all now have to look to the positives going forward. Fixating on the result itself will reduce the ability of the UK to negotiate the best possible result for the country.

So what to do now?
Kinneir Dufort's updated logo including flags to represent their employees' nationalities.
Kinneir Dufort’s updated logo including flags to represent their employees’ nationalities.

1. If you have European clients (or past clients or potential clients) now is a good time to engage with them. Talk to them; reassure them that your relationship with them won’t change. Craig Wightman of Bristol based Kinneir Dufort sent all their European contacts a message:

“Along with many in the UK, we at Kinneir Dufort were surprised and disappointed by the result of the recent EU referendum vote. As a UK-based European business with global reach, conducting much of our work internationally, we would like to reassure you, and all our European clients, of our strong commitment to continued collaboration no matter what the trading framework. This commitment is underpinned by the excellence of our international team proudly comprising German, Italian, Spanish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Polish, New Zealand, Korean and British nationalities. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship.”

Any opportunity to talk to your clients and engage with them on a human level can never be a bad thing.


2. If you have European members of staff reassure them that you will do everything possible to keep them. Make them feel valued and secure. Darren Foley of Pearlfisher said “Morale was affected initially as we have a number of European employees and it left them with a feeling of uncertainty.”

It seems clear that there will not be a sudden expulsion of EU citizens already working here, but there may be the need for employers to fill in some forms to register existing EU staff at some point.


3. If you don’t have overseas clients now is the time to get them. As Anja Klüver, MD of Prospect, pointed out to me in the days after the result was announced “we have suddenly all become much more affordable.” The exchange rates look like they may be staying at the present levels for the foreseeable future making it easier to compete with agencies across the globe. UK design has the best reputation in the world – use this to your advantage.


4. You may see a reduction in red-tape. Gavin Willis, MD and founder of GWCM, was ecstatic at the thought of potentially not having to complete another OJEC tender document. We have to hope that its replacement in the UK is more user-friendly for creative businesses.

The overwhelming response coming from the membership is “lets make the best of it.” As an industry we thrive on change. It is often what we are pushing our clients to do. So it is heartening to hear so many now looking for the opportunities ahead for the UK, the UK design sector, and your business.

Making a success of the Brexit decision is now what everyone should be looking for, and this depends on the negotiations between Theresa May’s new government and the EU. They will need to cover a great deal of detail – but you can rest assured that the DBA will be lobbying government for the best outcomes for the design sector at every step along the way.

About: Adam Fennelow

Adam Fennelow is Head of Services at the DBA.

For more information on DBA membership go to: www.dba.org.uk/membership
E: adam.fennelow@dba.org.uk

Image credit: © Kitano Dreamstime.com