Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Look Abroad for New Markets...But Do Your Homework First

The Irish crisis and the downturn across the Eurozone has potentially far-reaching consequences for home grown British brands – and with a challenging year ahead now is the time for brands to take steps towards spreading risk and finding new markets in the months and years ahead.

The current crisis has highlighted the UK’s failure to redirect its own economy towards emerging markets. Not only do we export more to Ireland than to the BRIC countries combined, but our trade with Holland is worth more than most of our trade with Asia. We are, to an extent, at the mercy of the Eurozone even if we are not party to it.

So, is now the time for brands to begin exploring emerging markets in Eastern Europe and in Asia? Tesco clearly thinks so. It has just announced plans to nearly double its selling space in central Europe and Turkey over the next five years, whilst also aiming to quadruple sales in China to £4bn by the 2014 financial year.

Put simply, to grow the UK economy and for brands to achieve sustainability let alone profitability, they must start to find new markets outside Western Europe.

This needs to be a research-led process. Initial research can deliver insights that will help assess the viability of a particular market or markets for your products. Carefully structured research can provide extensive information on purchasing habits, particular taste buds and food choices, variations in brand meanings across different languages and even behavioural and cultural issues that would need to be considered. Start that process now and you will be ahead of the game if 2011 remains a little rocky.

There’s only one thing worse than not taking steps to explore new markets and that’s doing it without being armed with the research and customer insights you need to make informed decisions.

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