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Somerset 3D


Communicating Somerset’s business benefits

By Chris Langdon, of market research specialists, The Langdon Partnership

Somerset 3D’s research has proved that Somerset offers precisely what businesses within the target markets need.

But our challenge is to get past the ‘one-dimensional’ perceptions of Somerset as merely being ‘nice’, ‘unspoilt’ and “a place where they make cider” to communicate the depth of what Somerset offers. Entrepreneurial Somerset has highest business start-up rates of any county outside London, is home to some world-class innovations, including the world’s fastest accelerating production car and gives people and business the space to grow with a refreshing 140 people per sq kilometre compared to a UK average of 240.

To attract the right businesses (small teams of specialists bringing high value to the economy and communities) the outdated and negative perceptions of Somerset typified perhaps by a song from The Wurzels needs to be replaced by an updated and stronger image of Somerset that is accurate and attractive to the right businesses. That is the challenge for the Somerset 3D team.

The surprise from the market research undertaken by Somerset 3D when 650 businesses were surveyed was that the key factors affecting choice of business location were not as many would expect. The requirements for businesses to have quality, cost-effective premises or for access to the rail network and airports were well down the list with only 40% and 25% of businesses saying these were important. The top three requirements as stated by over 70% of businesses were quality of lifestyle, quality of internet connections and good access to customers. For larger businesses, availability of workforce replaced good access to customers as a vital need.

Somerset can offer lifestyle in spades – but what are the key elements of “quality of lifestyle” and how can this be promoted? The research identified that 76% of businesses identified the most important lifestyle components as short commute times, low levels of pollution and good air quality, easy access to countryside and coast with 71% citing availability of good housing as important and 62% wanting to be in close proximity to good schools.

One of the “bullseye” targets for the Somerset 3D team is to communicate that Somerset offers real strength in all these specific elements of lifestyle - in particular for the low commute times in comparison with other places in the UK and the good schools.

In reality, Somerset is innovative, entrepreneurial and accessible and attracts and retains world-class people and business - a place where you and your business can grow.