EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #madeinbritainhour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 19,500 followers and the results are fascinating. Previously this information was enjoyed by the audience at the time and then left to drift away in the Twittersphere, rarely read again. So, we have decided to capture some of the best comments and re-present them for a new audience and easy reference. Some of the responses have been edited.
This week we look at marketing and selling internationally.
Question one: What are the biggest challenges for companies when entering new overseas markets? How do they overcome these?
Response: They will certainly be #marketing knowledge of the new marketspace; local contacts; different #cultures & networks apart from the costs of doing business overseas #trade #manufacturing. The customer experience maybe different to their other markets & must be mapped out beforehand
Response: It must be a considerable investment for companies? do many companies try to take what they already have and "hope" it works internationally?
Response: I would not advise that. Markets are different and even the brand may need to be revised to succeed in a new international market. Another factor to be considered is the protection of their #brand and their #IP
Response: Brexit. We’ve already seen the disruption it causes with supply chains in Northern Ireland
Response: Yes it causing us issues. The stuff has been sat dock side for weeks but HMRC seem to be either struggling or on go slow.
Response from Made in Britain member Muggi: I am now working with a US company six hrs behind us! Means I work 2-3 hrs later in the evening! Needs must
Response from Made in Britain member Linian: Challenges: Being aware of regulations, USP's, pricing structure, local duties/levies, credit approved customers (banks can help), cultural nuances etc. Overcome them: Be prepared & research everything.
Response: Just ensure your customer has a good customs agent...the rest is easy!
Response: In Latin America, it tends to be lack of knowledge/understanding of the markets + lack of contacts (not knowing anyone). Market research and networking help overcome this. We find language not so much of a barrier, unlike what many think. Also distance (12-20h) - thankfully videocalls more common now Pace (much slower here) - cultural awareness important to adjust And generally adjusting expectations, having a plan and being realistic
Made in Britain: Do you have any examples of "cultural differences" in your market compared to the UK?
Response: Latin America is actually a lot closer culturally to the UK than most Brits (who haven't been here) think! Business is a lot more personal here, for sure, and it takes a lot longer (partly because of that).
Made in Britain: How has the pandemic affected business being "more personal" in Latin America?
Response: Fab question. You have to double-up your efforts to stay in touch: WhatsApp's a must! Don't let them forget about you. Here in Uruguay there is no lockdown so we can still meet. No regional travel = lots more calls, videocalls, etc
Response: Regulations such as protectionist UL certification for cable assemblies going across the pond
Made in Britain: Does that help you to work out which markets to target? ie. which are worth investing in?
Response: As a lot of what we manufacture are subassemblies going all over the world, its best to conform to what our clients need. While onerous there are economies of scale from a single production line.
Response: Quite a topic, regulations! American v European standards also an issue here in Latin America, some markets we work in are very EIC-friendly, some NEC-friendly and some have their own bureaucratic/regulatory nightmare to deal with! Takes time to figure it all out.
Response: It is hard sometimes, even more so if we are dealing with markets in #Australasia and also with some middle eastern countries who have different working days? And #cultures and #customs. This is made more difficult in a #digital sphere.
Response: One big challenge is estimating what the level of demand will be in a completely new market, and therefore getting your volumes right.
Response: I would say the same challenge for any start up. You have to build trust, from the ground up. Let your work/products speak for themselves, no amount of marketing will sell a bad product but make sure you shout about a good one!
Made in Britain: Trust is a broad term - how do you go about that?
Response: I suppose it would mean trust in the product/service. What you pay for is what you get, at least in the most basic sense. Trusting a brand is more complex, and more long term.
Made in Britain: Pricing in different markets must take quite some working out? is that an extra bullet in the list from Nigel Packer?
Response: Most definitely. Pricing should always be monitored to ensure customers are getting the correct value for money.
Response: One price for all markets? or individual market pricing? Sometimes a difficult one to decide or maybe that helps with the question about which markets to enter?
Response: I agree, I think its objective, and definitely should be considered when weighing up options.
Response: Planning Research, Legal requirements, Tax policy, Language/translation, Localisation, Time, Delivery,Testing a new market can be as straightforward as an in country website, as long as you have done the necessary planning.
Made in Britain: There must also be a phase of the process of deciding which market and doing this for many different countries to work out where to target?
Response: The @tradegovuk and @tradegovuk_ecom has lots of information from every country in the world. Can be used for research and market exploration. They arrange trade missions as well.
Response: Yep, you need to do some market research. Having said that, it will never be absolutely perfect, sometimes it has to be just good enough to get started or otherwise you could end up with a 4-year PhD-thesis that doesn't help decision-making at all.
Response: Absolutely - in fact this goes for the plan as a whole too. You need a plan, and you need to put a lot of effort in to make it as accurate as you can - but at some point you need to look at it and make a decision. You can always tweak it as you learn more.
Response: And quality? - Being able to ensure that the product meets specifications without physically being there.
Response: The #marketingplan is vital as is the knowledge of the target audience.
Question two: How important is local knowledge when entering new markets and what options do companies have to get this?
Response: There are many ways to get local knowledge - there are many guides from @britishchambers@tradegovuk, trade advisors, marketing agencies, not to mention local chapters of business networks, contacts & within the supply chain. What do many of the @MadeinBritainGB members use?
Response: We have carried out research for clients looking to enter new #markets and the #findings firmed up the offer before the company branched in to the new market. #trade
Response: An effective marketing strategy needs to be streamlined and targeted toward specific audiences. If you’re looking to brand into a new regional space, it’s best to find someone who knows about the culture
Made in Britain: Do you think it is best to get that information from "someone on the ground" rather than from "websites and books"?
Response: You may not always be able to, budgets may be tight, so you must use all the resources you have available. This is where the power of networks and collaboration, as well as a well-thought out strategy, come into play. And don't forget the quality marque which is a door-opener too
Response: This is where @tradegovuk comes in. They have people on the ground in other countries and help UK exporters. There are a number of country specific twitter accounts as well. Follow and engage with them.
Response: Absolutely! We work with DiT across many countries in Latin America. They support us and we support them with clients/sectors they don't focus on or don't have time to deal with. Lots of public-private synergies there.
Made in Britain: Quite a lot of businesses can learn from each other too, especially ones that are complementary businesses?
Response: Absolutely! We encourage that all the time with our clients, introducing them to each other. I think that's one of the best things about Made in Britain in general, I'd encourage members to talk to each other about exports!
Response: I have been involved with the Exporters association in Wales for some years. the networking and sharing of knowledge has been beneficial for many new members
Response: You can absolutely get started from "websites and books" but if you're serious you'd go for "someone on the ground" at least here in LatAm because: 1- not all your potential partners, clients, etc have websites 2- websites are hardly ever up-to-date or complete 3- you need someone to add meaning to the info you find 4- there can be too much info out there, someone local can save you time 5- lots of info online is way out of date, eg govt regulations 6- what actually happens on the ground is not what you find online! E.g. you're researching how to certify/register a product. The website says one thing, the govt office here says another, but when you get down to business, what happens is totally different from all that! Oh, we love Latin America. Local distributor/expert a must.
Response: For me, it's too big a risk to simply go off info I've read on websites -- would definitely want someone who has evidenced experience in those regions
Made in Britain: It is the real-life experience that is important, and there must be some things that are important that the DIT or others wouldn't put on websites......
Response: Indeed, there's two sides to every coin
Response: We predominately service the UK so have little exposure, but I would guess its essential to know to have local knowledge working via partners, resellers etc This helped in my previous role, removed some of the risk and gave you a perceived local presence
Response: I worked with a company some years ago who were complaining about the in-country rep they sourced themselves. We pointed them in the direction of the DTI who were able to check people in country. Had a much better outcome
Response: Very important! You've got to understand the differences between customer bases - what works in the UK might not work overseas.
Response: Not knowing cultural differences can damage your reputation before you get started. It pays to find out especially when it comes to websites.
Response: Absolutely. Get it wrong and you could cause offence, or worse still permanently damage your reputation!
Response: Training of staff to understand the culture is so important, little things like what to do at dinner in a restaurant etc can have a massive impact
Response: Crucially important. You hear of mistranslations and other cultural mishaps quite often. I think the translation of 'Turn it Loose' by Coors to be the funniest (not for their marketing team!). I think its a necessity to hire local people who have this.
Response: There are some Translation agencies that specialise in #Transcreation. This will help Comms.
Made in Britain: How widely used and understood is Transcreation? It is a very important consideration
Response: The value of transcreation is that content is made relevant both in terms of context and translation. It is invaluable when dealing with international markets
Response: It is more expensive than straight translation. Transcreation is the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context. It is an important investment in Comms.
Response: Is there a certain amount of "Sector knowledge" needed to be able to do it properly?
Response: I have trained several UK and EU translation agencies in website translation and transcreation. They have seen a growing demand for this service. It is often a subject for the annual conference.
Response: When we work with UK manufacturers, we get a professional translator to do the translation, then we QA it, then we run it past sector experts (even potential clients/distributors). When I translate small/quick pieces esp for marketing, I transcreate a lot!
Response: We read, in Spanish, that the London Underground had complained about our client's products... then we realised that they had translated "compliant" as "complaint" and hence the mistake in Spanish! Goodness! Glad we asked to QA the brochure!
Response: Well, that's what we do for a living here in Latin America but you can also ask your local ITA (International Trade Advisor) at DiT for signposting. There are many sources of (free, online) info but nothing beats truly local knowledge.
Response: Is seniority a particular cultural difference in Latin America like it is in places like Japan?
Response: Not as strong as in Japan, from what I know from there. It depends on the sector. Software a lot less of an issue, for example. Depends on country, too (Uruguay in general more horizontal than Peru, for example)
Response: It's critical to know your target area / market. The business development team will research buying preferences. Most info needed initially can be found searching online & then it's a case of making direct contact with buyers and asking the right questions
Made in Britain: Making direct contact with buyers and also making sure you are using the right people to make contact so as not to offend. In some countries it is seniority, in others it may be gender?
Response: Yes very true. It is important that cultural differences are understood and abided by definitely. This would hopefully be founded in the initial research gathering stage though!
Response from Made in Britain member Linian: It's critical. The same knowledge & understanding is required of the territory as if trading here in the UK. In market visits are a great way to familiarise yourself. @Glasgow_Chamber run useful seminars on how to understand chosen territories
Response: Very important. I know that UKTI offer some help and so do some private organisations, including banks. They make quite a thing of it; I wrote about it 3 or so years ago in @TheManufacturer. I don't think they're alone.
Question three: Are there specific sectors and specific countries/regions where British products are in particular demand?
Response: @tradegovuk are working to open up new markets & introduce them to #British products. Sometimes there are markets that are naturally more aligned to our customs & brands. These are low-hanging fruit options. The #Commonwealth & English speaking markets should also not be ignored
Response: I think from experience companies in the Middle East like the MiB mark. They know they are getting quality products, if we do say so ourselves.
Made in Britain: we've seen a lot of news stories about Made in Britain members and Middle East case studies. With so many ex-pats in the region that must be of great help to UK exporters?
Response: The Middle East is a fantastic training ground for exporting to Latin America, by the way. When a potential client who sells successfully to the ME approaches us, we know they're ready for this region, too! ;)
Response: Definitely, I think following a path already walked makes entering new markets so much easier, especially if entry was successful. I think I may use that as a quote in the future, had quite a proverb-y ring to it!
Made in Britain: What is the key similarity?
Response: I know hardly anything about the ME but clients tell me that in both regions business is personal, they say that's the key, and the basis to understanding so much about selling there.
Response: Here in Latin America, British manufacturing is extremely well-regarded and the Made in Britain marque can add a real plus. In terms of sectors: any. In terms of products: any that are sufficiently niche, top-class, unique, to be less price-sensitive and compete here.
Response: No bias but I think British made products do hold a reputation for heritage and high quality.
Response: It is encouraging to see more companies who are making more of their history. So many British manufacturers who date back decades and some even centuries.
Response: Yes I think that 'heritage' is such a powerful message too. If a brand has been around for many decades then logic says it is clearly providing what the customer wants!
Response: It is more than that. Heritage and longevity are the hallmarks of what makes a brand that transcends time. It isn't about providing what customers want - it is about defining what customers will want
Response: Here in Latin America I've seen UK products in agritech, mining, energy, infrastructure, etc do well. But they must be niche, not commodities, not something you could manufacture in Brazil or Mexico
Linian: Yes, there are certain territories who have a greater appetite for #madeinbritain products. The Emirates is one example
Made in Britain: The Middle East in general has been mentioned several times today as has Latin America.
Response: Yes, I guess that's a good sign we're all onto something. Sounds like we'll have to look into Latin America more too
Response: Yes but they must be high quality to justify premium prices & definitely must be 'made in Britain'. A ceramics company that shipped production to China came a cropper when trying to justify high prices with 'MiB'. OTOH, @JCBmachines eg have quality, brand and #MiB as +ves.
Question four: Has Brexit changed the demand in EU countries for British made products?
Response: This is an interesting question as #Brexit is affecting British products in different ways. I have heard from international contacts that the pricing has completely thrown them, and they are now struggling to restock. This will impact the market as they will find alternatives
Response: I think it is too early to tell, as some of the additional friction that we talked about earlier will be distorting supply/demand. It will be interesting to see longer-term what happens to demand, and in particular the image of British products.
Response: It has made it a struggle to get products in from Europe, not only delays but increase costs from additional paperwork and time. I'm hoping it is short term challenge
Made in Britain: If it doesn't settle down then do you think the additional costs will end up being passed on in the final price?
Response: If it doesn't settle down then yes these cost will end being passed on.
Response from made in Britain member UTS: I don't think so in the short-term. Even long-term, I think it will be highly product specific. Perhaps perceived lack of access may lead to an EU boom in Haggis or other British foods?
Response: I think this is a two way street. Lots of pro's and con's. Time will tell as we settle down to a new set of rules and processes. Customers around the world still see the Union flag as a mark of Innovation, quality, safety and sustainability
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