The UK exports market provides significant revenue and growth opportunities for your company.
So, you’ve analysed the markets and chosen which countries you are going to export to. But how do you ensure that the products that you have to offer will appeal to your target market and that you will build up the network required to help bring these items to the market in your chosen destinations?
Some of the key considerations to be made in regards to the distribution, sales and marketing of your product include:
Do you need to adapt your product for global markets?
Products or services may require mandatory adaptations to meet the technical requirements, safety standards or local regulations. Take for example, electrical items, whereby appliances made for the U.S and Europe must run on different voltages.
Even if mandatory adaptations are not required you may wish to consider adapting your products to ensure that they meet local tastes and cultural preferences for a stronger chance of success.
- In expanding to India McDonald’s was willing to localise. They promised that there would be no beef or pork on the menu. The Chicken Maharajah Mac replaces the universally known Big Mac as the signature burger for the Indian market.
- Initially, Domino’s Pizza transferred its Western offerings direct to the Indian market, but the company eventually realized that it had to bow to local tastes. As a result of this change of strategy, Domino’s came up with localized toppings such as ‘Peppy Paneer’ and ‘Chicken Chettinad.’
Understand your brand and brand marketing at an international level
Do the consumers in your exports market connect with your brand name?
It’s imperative to investigate the meaning of your brand name abroad; you may be surprised what your brand translates to in other countries, as in the case of Schwepps Tonic Water which translated as Schwepps toilet water in Italy!
Blunders can also occur when translating slogans; KFC in Hong Kong had to rethink their universal ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ brand slogan on discovering that this translates in Chinese as ‘Eat Your Fingers Off.’ However, by adapting to your markets your business can become hugely successful; KFC currently operate over 60 branches throughout Hong Kong with a team of more than 3,000 employees, serving over 1.5 million customers each month!
You may also need to adapt your marketing materials to fit the international market to which you are planning to export, making considerations for the following;
- Utilise social scenarios that your audience resonate with.
- Avoid the use of slang and ‘figure of speech.’
- Consider the use of colour in your advertising materials – In China red and yellow/gold are regarded as lucky, but avoid white as it is associated with mourning.
How do you make the sale on an international stage?
You’ve adapted you product but now the key is to make the sale. Whether you’re selling directly to the consumer or building a network of retailers and distributors, it’s key to have an understanding of local customs as this can put you ahead of your competitors. Customs can vary greatly in the International market, for example:
- Malaysians may occasionally look downwards rather than look you in the eye when meeting you, as this is considered a mark of respect.
- The working week is Sunday to Thursday in Bahrain
- In Japan a business card is still considered to be a big part of business so make sure you have plenty with you!
- Present business cards with both hands at meetings in Japan and Vietnam
When venturing on a new strategy to expand your business internationally the key is to research your markets and to adapt your offering to suit the market. When you’re ready to start exporting, then the assistance of a freight forwarder in doing so can be beneficial as their wealth of knowledge and experience and contacts can save you money and get your product to market quicker.