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Putting growth back on the agenda

Posted: 12th December 2018

Growth. It’s a word that seems to be largely missing from the current business vocabulary as we look towards 2019 and Brexit. Currency fluctuations, stalled investments and wobbly share prices have affected many markets in Scotland and beyond. But growth needs to be back on the agenda for everyone and next year will see new opportunities start to emerge in key markets.

At Grayling we’re a bit more bullish about the future. It may be because we’ve enjoyed a bumper year in 2018, with many new clients and projects and the opening of our Glasgow office, but more generally, we think that businesses have got to plan for growth and 2019 presents a great platform to develop new business.

At the time of writing little had been decided about our final Brexit deal, but what we do know is that regardless of the outcome of the talks, there will be plenty more negotiations to come. What’s more important is that the business community builds on Edinburgh and the region’s opportunities to grow in 2019.

We know from our work in some of Scotland’s highest growth sectors that there are significant opportunities. The city’s tourism and retail offer continues to be developed, with major new investments expected, such as the Johnnie Walker Experience, the new Scottish National Gallery and the reconstructed Edinburgh St James Centre. The data, digital and AI sectors are experiencing significant growth, creating new opportunities. The region is uniquely placed to secure additional investment in this sector, with a highly skilled workforce, strong financial institutions and leading universities. Within the next couple of years, we will see the development of the Futures Institute at Edinburgh University and the national robotarium at Heriot-Watt University. Added to this is the continued growth of the regions’ creative sector, including a vibrant games sector. These are companies with an international outlook who will be aiming to grow in major Asian markets as well as closer to home.

What does this mean for the communications sector? Firstly, new sectors will require support. As the data and technology ecosystem grows, for example, there will be increasing opportunities for the sector to promote and communicate their talents and successes. Secondly, collaboration will be key. Collaboration between academia, government and the private sector is becoming increasingly the norm. Communications companies have a major role to play and can often identify strategic opportunities for sectors and organisations to come together. Thirdly, cutting through the noise of Brexit and politics will become more important, requiring creative campaigns to capture public attention. Finally, many companies will be seeking new markets. Those communications companies that only serve the domestic market may find their budgets being squeezed as companies look for new opportunities in overseas markets.

The year ahead will undoubtedly create new challenges, but with these will come new opportunities for growth. Grayling, for one, will be leading the charge.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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