Industry lobby group the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) has initiated a new link with the Government's Great campaign which provides the furniture, furnishing and interior design industries with the opportunity to use the campaign to promote themselves overseas.
The Great campaign was launched by the Government initially to take advantage of the London 2012 Olympics, but has since grown and developed to promote Britain and British enterprise worldwide under one brand.
"Our aim was to provide a direct link to the interior design, furniture and furnishing industries," says BFC director and MD of the British Contract Furnishing Association, Colin Watson. "Our industry is worth over £10b to the UK economy, and the Great brand provides a memorable, coherent and impactful platform to enhance the way we promote British products and interior design abroad. It gets the world thinking and feeling differently about Britain, seeing it as a vibrant, inspiring and innovative place, world-renowned for innovative design and cutting-edge and high-quality manufacturing."
Furniture and furnishing businesses wanting to use the campaign in their own international marketing can either use the agreed artwork or elements of the Great campaign. In addition there is support and funding available for both outward and inward missions - the Great campaign currently gets behind over 500 overseas events around the world each year, as well as advertising and digital campaigns both in the UK and abroad.
Tourism, business and education are the three main threads of the promotion, with messages based around a series of approved 'pillars' - Innovation, Business, Entrepreneurs, Creativity, Technology and Green being the primary themes for businesses and investors. The furnishing industry campaign is linked directly to Creativity, and uses the brand Design is Great.
Many Government departments are involved - the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK Trade & Investment, VisitBritain, VisitEngland, and the British Council. Many businesses have engaged with the campaign, ranging from British Airways and the BBC to Mulberry, Mini and Jaguar Landrover, along with many smaller businesses too. A host of celebrities have also lent their names free of charge to help promote Britain abroad - the Beckhams, Richard Branson, Andy Murray and Vivienne Westwood to name but a few.
The opportunity to build new business relationships and revenues is very welcome, and this is endorsed by BFC chairman Paul von der Heyde, who says: "Our industry employs over 120,000 people and has a worldwide reputation for design and manufacturing. It also has considerable potential to make significant progress in building exports which already account for over £1b."