Cross Group is a Surrey-based company employing eight people with a turnover of around £1 million per year. It has three divisions delivering consultancy, conferences and consumable products to the high security printing industry. Its customers include state banks and governments in the developing world as well as some commercial printers producing banknotes and passports. While it does see some UK attendees at its overseas conferences, it is almost exclusively an export business.
Managing Director, Colin Cross had been working for some time on the re-launch of the conference and consumables divisions, when Andy Parkinson, International Trade Adviser, recommended an Export Communications Review (ECR), “Despite our focus on export markets, we had been working almost exclusively in English before. We knew that we had to improve the effectiveness of our export communications. When you run your own business it is hard to be critical about your activities.”
“We needed a catalyst to force us to tackle our communications more effectively. The ECR played this role for us and we found it worked very well in support of our broader business objectives.” Colin Cross – Managing Director.
Cross Group worked with UKTI Export Communications Consultant, Sarah Carroll, and focused on its use of language specifically. In addition to recommending the targeted use of Russian, German, Spanish and French, the review also highlighted the need to simplify the use of English to make the website and marketing collateral easier to understand. “We have taken on board many of the recommendations of the review, but this is a long-term project. That said, we have a new website and marketing materials with simplified English, as well as a complete brochure in Russian. We have also hired a Russian speaker and are bringing in someone who speaks French and German to support our next conference. We have also found that investing in these languages is helping us more broadly as they are understood in multiple countries. Russian is particularly important for us as we do a lot of business with both Eastern European and Central Asian countries where the language is in widespread use.” said Colin.
Colin believes that Cross Group is already seeing the benefits of the Review and the changes they have made. “The steps we took to improve the multilingual nature of our communication has helped increase interest and sales in our conference business. We have also seen that since we simplified our use of English, and added other key languages into our communication, the consumables business is getting a wider range of geographies contacting us than ever before. We are also getting anecdotal feedback from people that our information is now much easier to understand even in English. We found the Review very valuable and would recommend it to anyone.”
Find out how to grow your business globally online: