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Published: December 17, 2019 | Updated: December 17, 2019

Dorset IS great – but we need to tell the world with a simple clear brand urges entrepreneur

Sunseeker International in Poole – just one of the many ‘world class’ companies in Dorset. Picture: dorsetbiznews
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Entrepreneur Jamie Sergeant is calling for a campaign on the lines of ‘Dorset is Great’ to attract global inward investment.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of creative agency Crowd – and winner of the Business Leader of the Year category at this year’s Dorset Business Awards – makes the suggestion in a blog for Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Jamie, who started and grew his business locally before expanding with offices across Europe, Asia, UAE and North America, says such a campaign could be relatively and easily launched.

It would act as an umbrella brand for Dorset, highlighting the county’s great attributes and its softer assets, such as the environment and work-life balance, as well as showcasing its nationally significant industries, sector specialisms, case studies and commercial assets.

Jamie, pictured left, suggests a ‘Dorset is Great’ campaign could be supported by a powerful website ‘selling’ the county to its diverse global business and consumer audiences with clear points of contact for potential investors.

And he calls for the private sector to drive the development and implementation of a ‘brand proposition’ which should be results-driven.

Jamie writes: “From its multi-billion pound economy and thriving industry base to its world-class beaches and lifestyle, Dorset has it all.

“But a lack of brand and awareness about what Dorset offers as a place to live and work is a significant barrier to attracting global inward investment.

“Never has it been more important to address this challenge. Dorset has huge ambition to extend its market reach globally.

Jamie (right) receives his Business Leader of the Year award from Jim Stewart, Dorset LEP’s Chairman, at the 2019 Dorset Business Awards.

“I am passionate about Dorset and all that it has to offer which is why I spend half of my working life promoting its attributes overseas.

“Crowd has offices all over the world – from San Francisco and London, to Dubai and Shenzhen – but when I tell people our headquarters are based in Bournemouth, they look puzzled and ask “why?”

“I launch into the multifarious reasons. Our thriving economy; the amazing countryside, beautiful beaches and Jurassic Coast; the outstanding lifestyle; the microclimate; our proximity to London; the fabulous talent; two excellent universities; our language schools; our standing as the UK’s top area for high growth businesses; our recent nomination as the best place for start-ups in the UK.  I could go on and on.

“Dorset’s economic offer is innate and powerful.

“Yet, where I do come unstuck is signposting potential investors to where they can go to find out more about Dorset’s offer and brand proposition. Because that place doesn’t currently exist – and this is where Dorset falls short.

“A brand proposition for our county is a vital conduit to attracting direct foreign investment.

“We need a plan, something tangible to showcase Dorset on a global basis. A plan to make Dorset Great.”

In his blog – which you can read here – Jamie also draws attention to Dorset LEP’s publication of the initial framework for Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy.

This highlights that increasing access to new global markets is an integral element of plans to develop economic prosperity for the county.

Jamie writes: “Dorset as a place is quietly great and mighty. But it needs to be packaged, promoted and presented on the global stage.

“Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy offers the perfect opportunity to realise this need and create a framework and a ‘voice’ to build awareness and reputation about Dorset.

“A voice that will shout out loudly and clearly that Dorset really is great, and the most amazing region in the world to live, learn and work.

“The development and implementation of such a brand proposition needs to be driven by the private sector and be results-based.

“We need action not inertia. And it needs to happen now.”

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DORSET BIZ NEWS COMMENT: Time to pick up the gauntlet

Well done, that man.

Jamie Sergeant’s brilliant blog for Dorset LEP perfectly sums up what those of us fortunate to live and work in Dorset know only too well.

This really is the most beautiful part of the world.

But to many outside it’s just that – wonderful scenery.

However, there is so much more.

Even in our short life as a business news website, the stunning array of world-class – yes a well-worn phrase but genuinely the case – businesses and industries we’ve come across is quite amazing.

The truth is we need a simple brand to get the message out to the world that we’re here and very much open for their business (and inward investment).

If, as Jamie suggests, the development and implementation of such an initiative is driven by the private sector, different organisations and individuals in both the public and private sectors will have to unite and work together.

Past differences – and perhaps even egos – will have to be buried or put aside.

But if we’re to punch at our true weight then it’s the only way forward.

Jamie has thrown down the gauntlet.

To coin a phrase, much-used in recent weeks but in a different context.

Let’s now get it done.

Andrew Diprose, Editor, Dorset Biz News