There are certain brands and products that are synonymous with Scotland well beyond the country's borders, brands such as Harris Tweed, Tunnock's, Highland Spring, numerous makes of whisky and, of course, Scotland's other national drink, Irn Bru.
Two more brands have in recent years increased their market prominence - Crabbie's, maker of alcoholic ginger beer; and Arran Aromatics, the toiletries company -and both look set to build their profile and market share further, following announcements this week. Arran Aromatics has secured nearly £3m of investment from the Business Growth Fund to cover a major sales push in the UK and overseas while Crabbie's is to become sponsor of the Grand National at Aintree for the next three years.
These brands are in their way ambassadors for Scotland abroad. Crabbie's is doing well in the United States, Canada and Australia, while Arran Aromatics' chief executive Iain Pittman believes the company has a bright future in Asian and Middle Eastern markets, with plans to treble the size of the business in the next five years.
Part of these brands' appeal is their Scottishness, but their success is important also because it reflects a growing sense of optimism about the future of the economy. At last.
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