Case study

New US business for Smart Cookie following UKTI support

Smart Cookie has benefited from several UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) programmes as it expands its client base in the US.

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Thanks to new business from this market, the company has recently taken on new premises in both the South East of England and in Dallas, increased its staff from ten to 40 and its turnover from £1.1 million to £3 million.

Smart Cookie is an award-winning specialist creative technology agency. It helps clients engage with their customers, in interactive and visual ways, by exploiting the potential of cutting edge technology. One of the company’s flagship projects was making a short on-board film for American Airlines. It used time lapse photography shot on six locations to capture incredible scenery and landscapes. 48 million people will see this film this year.

UKTI has provided a range of support to help Smart Cookie increase its market presence in the US:

  • Passport to Export, the UKTI programme that helps businesses to prepare for international markets - the company attended various courses covering issues faced by exporters
  • International Trade Adviser (ITA) - provided feedback about the company’s plans and advice about how to achieve its goals
  • Funding through UKTI’s Export Market Research Scheme (EMRS) and Market Visit Grants - supported several visits by the company to the US to research Dallas (where American Airlines is based), meet potential new clients and build on existing client relationships.

We were ready to use all of UKTI’s capabilities to help us,

says Chris Searson, Executive Chairman of Smart Cookie.

Passport to Export gave us a lot of useful information. We found the ITAs to be well-informed and quick to answer our questions. UKTI’s financial support allowed us to make more frequent trips to the US than we would have managed otherwise, showing our commitment to the market and helping to establish ourselves as a serious player.

Fast-track to success

It became clear that if Smart Cookie wanted to attract more top US clients it would need a local presence. UKTI introduced the company to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce which provided on-the-ground support with getting set up.

In March 2013, Smart Cookie opened an office in Dallas which now has a staff of three. The company’s American client base has grown quickly and it is shortly moving to new premises which will also eventually house a development studio of the same scale as the one it uses in the UK. Meanwhile, as well as an overall increase in staff from ten in July 2012 to 40 today, Smart Cookie’s turnover has almost tripled from £1.1 million to £3 million in the past two years.

Working with UKTI and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce undoubtedly fast-tracked our entry into the local business community,

says Chris.

We knew that it wasn’t enough to be an award-winning creative agency – we wanted to be seen to run a great business. UKTI gave us this credibility. With offices in both the UK and the US we can offer 24 hour coverage for clients all over the world.

Fast facts

Company Smart Cookie
Industry Creative Industries
Target Market US
UKTI Service Passport to Export, Export Market Research Service
Published 19 March 2014