Wales Needs Its Own Brand Image to Attract Custom

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Byline: Andrew Crawley AT THE HEART OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS Dr Andrew Crawley of Cardiff Business School

WHEN someone mentions Ireland what do you think of? Guinness, leprechauns, the Celtic Tiger? And when someone mentions Scotland what images conjure up? Haggis, bagpipes, tartan? Although these are stereotypical symbols of these nations they resonate around the world and offer a distinctive view of their respective nation.

What about Wales? In a recent piece of tourism research Americans were asked where Wales was and most said it's in England.

From a business point of view having brand recognition is key as it provides you with a unique selling point that others cannot copy.

For Welsh businesses operating overseas it is important to have this selling point and it could be argued not enough has been made of brand Wales.

Business is about people and connections and one way of making the most of this is having a large network where ideas and opportunities can be spread giving new routes for development.

Where their Celtic brothers have succeeded Wales has struggled to get its brand across in a crowded market.

Things are not all negative for Wales though, in the last year exports have seen some modest increases and this is an important trend if Wales is to improve its economic position.

Overall trade increased by PS85 million with exports to non-EU countries seeing the largest increase (6.8%) - as a backdrop, other UK regions struggled to secure any substantial new growth with the notable exception of Scotland, which saw a relative rise in the value of exports of 3.2%.

Another positive sign for Wales has been the growth in exports to countries outside Europe, notably the US with more than a quarter of Welsh exports (26. …