Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taking a local brand to the global arena

This is the view of Mr. Justin Letschert the CEO of Union-Swiss. Letschert was the speaker that the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) business breakfast gathering held on 27 June.

The first thing businesses must realize is that expansion to global markets can not be exclusively done by just starting a new export division. The experts, who established and managed the business and brands on the local market, must be involved in the executing of the strategies for entering global markets.

South African brands may have brand equity on the local market, but on the global stage is just another product. This implies that entering a new market is launching this new product form scratch.

Government regulation and duties, capital expenditure (cost) and the lack of established networks are some of the main difficulties in entering new global markets.

Letschert indicated that a simple calculation can determine the most viable international markets. By adding a country’s GDP/ Capita ranking and the population rankings the possible best export markets can be identified. This figure gives a more accurate indication of potential markets. The top 10 countries on this list are USA, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, South Korea, Russia.

The cost of the media in the specific country as well as the duties and regulations must be taken in consideration when evaluation potential new international markets. Language and counterfeit problems must also be taken into consideration when evaluating proposed new markets.

Letschert emphasized the importance of effective distributors in foreign countries. These distributors must be able to communicate and deliver what they are hired for.

Letschert further added that to succeed in the global business area you must out-think the opposition. The geographical and other practical drawbacks imply that you cannot out-do the opposition, you must out-think them.

You must conduct your business in a more professional manner than the first world standards. The reason for this is because the foreign market participants have preconceived negative ideas about (South) African businesses. You must give them no reason to believe or confirm their preconceived ideas.

Letschert concluded by quoting Mr. Koos Bekker form Naspers. Bekker once said that it is difficult for first world countries to do business in China. South Africa is not from the first world which gives us a business advantage.

South African tenacity is your biggest advantage when we compete and enter new global markets.

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