Posted by: Ohh la la | October 9, 2011

Export your way to success

Growing your business through export may just be what you need to increase your sales. However  it isn’t just the case of “going for it”. Whilst many businesses get away developing their business locally without a marketing plan, it’s critical to get your business export ready by creating an international sales and marketing plan. Any SME can potentially increase sales, compete in diverse markets and reach a global audience providing they follow the right steps… Or it could end up costing you your business.
Remember just because your product is popular in England, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea!
Five points worth noting if you are serious about growing your business internationally:
1) Research, research, research is paramount to inform exporting decision
From assessing whether to export to scoping the marketing environment (i.e. what the market wants, who your customers are etc.) and understanding local legislations, there is a long list to tick before you can be satisfied you are ready to make the leap. Too many companies still make the mistake of skipping this step – it’s not because clients loves you product in the UK that they will in another market – and your overseas clients demographics may be quite different too.
2) Invest in a robust export strategy and sales and marketing plan
Whatever your business size, it is impossible to be everywhere so think strategically to invest wisely.  Mapping out everything right from the shape of your products to how they are going to be distributed and marketed is essential to be successful in a foreign market.
3) Cross-cultural marketing isn’t optional
Do not get tempted in using the same old marketing communications approach or simply translating a marketing collateral into the local language. It simply doesn’t work. Whilst one market may consider the depth of features a product offers when making a purchase decision, another may focus on ease of use. And whilst the Brits are renown for successfully mixing humour with advertising, misplaced humour could get lost in translation!  A multicultural approach, underpinned by a localised marketing plan, is essential if you are serious about making some inroads in your chosen market.
4) Forge strong links with your distribution network
Remote management of a market is a recipe for disaster. Visit your new market regularly to spot opportunities, manage changes and crucially build water-tight relationship with your chosen distribution network – whether you have appointed an agent or set up an office, those people are your bridge to the market. Make use of all the intelligence they hold. It’s amazing just by talking and asking questions what you will find out – allowing you possibly to spot new market opportunities. By advising one of my Turkish distributors once to take part in a new trade show, he was able to appoint three new dealers across the country – this decision resulted in a 60% turnover increase within six months. Poor distributors can also cause great damage to your brand, so it’s important to ensure they care about your success!
5) You don’t have to be a large company to be successful internationally
There many helping hands out there right from the UK  Trade and Investment (UKTI) to local Chamber of Commerces, as well as international marketing agencies with multilingual staff such as Ohh la la to help SMEs work out their export strategies, identify opportunities and implement successful cross-cultural marketing plans. Best of all social networks can prove invaluable both in terms of engaging but also researching your market with tight budgets – though remember cross-cultural marketing approaches apply online too!
In the end this is about respecting people’s differences. Forget about one size fits all. It doesn’t.
Advertisements
Posted by: Ohh la la | September 27, 2011

StartUp Britain with Ohh la la in York

I was delighted to be invited as one of the team on board the StartUp Britain bus for its last stop at York St John’s University last Friday. There  is nothing more exciting for an entrepreneur than encouraging more people to start and grow their own business!

Ohh la la offers marketing advice to St John's University students on board the StartUp Britain bus

StartUp Britain, the private enterprise initiative for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs that received the thumbs up from the Prime Minister in March, have been successfully touring some of the UK’s entrepreneurial hot spots in a bid to celebrate, inspire and accelerate Britain’s start-up talent.

Throughout August and September, the StartUp Britain team of experts, mentors, entrepreneurs and small business authors has visited 14 locations across the country. And for its last stop in York, the bus that was stationed at St John’s University certainly got some real interest amongst students thinking about their next step in life.

In between the bus being visited by the Lord Mayor and Leon Doyle from the BBC programme the Apprentice, I enjoyed spending the day advising budding entrepreneurs about on a wide range of essential marketing topics – from the need to have a marketing plan to using social media to grow a start-up.

One of the big draws of self-employment, particularly for students, is of course personal freedom. So it’s important they get the right advice so they can fully enjoy it! It always amazes me just how great some of the ideas are – and Friday was no exception with some business ideas worthy of Dragons’ Den – but also how ill prepared some budding entrepreneurs can be sometimes.

A key message for anyone who is buzzing with ideas but has limited resources is that ‘if you succeed to plan, you plan to succeed’. Its one of Ohh la la‘s mottos…

Eram’s new advertising campaign: “The family is sacred !” sparks wide controversy in France for portraying two women and a child as a “Family.”

Once more a major brand, this time Eram who are one of the leading manufacturers and retailers of shoes in France, find themselves the centre of controversy after challenging the accepted traditional family structure with its new advertising campaign.

Eram has received a flurry of vehement posts on their Facebook page criticising the brand for portraying two women and a child as a “family”. The campaign – perceived by many as undermining some of the core traditional family values – has attracted many stern comments advising Eram not to meddle with those sacred values.

The company, well known in France through its strapline: “One would be mad to be spending more!” produces over 11 million pairs of shoes a year and has retail outlets in most French cities and towns, as well as an extensive global franchise network.

With so many clients announcing their intention to stop shopping at Eram, the company has issued a statement on Facebook inviting people to express their view in a dedicated area. Comments from disgruntled people already include: “The family is sacred, Eram is over!”

Interestingly enough, early in June this year, the National Assembly of France voted 293-222 against legalising same-sex marriage… A clear indication for advertisers that even French tolerance has its boundaries.

In the last few years the social media scene has been dominated by American social networks. But now all this could be about to change as a French company launches Selliance – an innovative new social network.

Yorkshire based marketing agency Ohh la la has been appointed to support it internationally.

The work follows Yorkshire’s ‘cheeky little marketing agency’ (which ranks in the top 1% of the Sunday Times Social Media list) teaming up with Paris based agency Idnition to offer their European clients truly multi-cultural social media services.

The partnership with Idnition reflects both agencies’ desire to offer effective, affordable and multi-lingual social media expertise to French and English clients – not only to help them embed social networks in their marketing strategies but also deliver better multi-cultural person-to-person customer engagement. Selliance is the partnership’s first international client.

At a time when it seems there are more social networks than one has time to log in to, Selliance, the new “Made in France” social media, offers users a very innovative, integrated approach to socialising – the best of both worlds against established competitors such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Viadeo.

Available in English and, naturellement, in French, Selliance’s integrated approach offers two social networks under one platform to enable individuals, professionals and businesses to socialise with their peers seamlessly.

It’s early days for Selliance but the social network is already gathering momentum in France – we guess it might not be long before it gets us hooked this side of Le Channel and we enjoy it with a morning croissant.

Posted by: Ohh la la | June 18, 2011

Petit Bateau lost at sea

When French international brand, Petit Bateau, launched a new range of romper suits  in France for baby girls and boys it envisaged it would be plain sailing.

The storm started in France on Monday June 13 at 6.43pm when Elise F. posted the following message on Petit Bateau’s Facebook page: “I have just seen the photo of a grey romper suit with sexist words spelling out the worst stereotypes. It’s pathetic. ” according to Madame Le Figaro online

There are in fact two models – (though the words get a little lost in translation so don’t take me too literally) one printed with pink words: “Pretty, stubborn, funny, girly girl… ”, and in blue letters: “Courageous, strong, proud, cool…”

Petit Bateau - the romper suit at the heart of the storm

By 7 pm the feminist French blog Osez le féminisme ! has published the photo of the romper suits accused on its Facebook page and invited its followers to voice their protest.

A few minutes later, the story has spread out to on Twitter (a hashtag #bodygate has even been created).

Whilst it is unclear whether this started with a real discontent shopper or would be in fact a marketing plot, Petit Bateau has apologised to its fans on Facebook if the romper suits unwillingly conveyed sexist messages but has also insisted that there was no reason why they should withdraw the products from the market.

The debate isn’t entirely finished yet – customers and the public are still posting their comments on the Facebook page and on Twitter. And as Petit Bateau thanks its many followers, whilst the message has since been deleted, fans are invited to continue expressing their views on the page.

It goes to show that whatever the origin of the storm, the instant power of social media is growing stronger all the time. Brands, large and small, local and international, really have to embrace online marketing if they haven’t done so already.

Remember other people will be talking about you or your brand on social networks, even if you don’t. For businesses still hesitating to have an social media presence, what are you waiting for to join in the conversation?!

Posted by: Ohh la la | June 13, 2011

Exploring potential export opportunities

Ohh la la launches InternationalMarketing, a new online magazine via Scoop.it! to help UK businesses exploit their export opportunities.

Like many agencies working with international businesses or companies with the potential to spread their wings overseas, we found the results of the British Chambers of Commerce’s International Trade and Exporting Survey earlier this year rather alarming.

With a staggering 70% of the 8,000 companies surveyed currently not exporting or unlikely to, the survey results highlight a lack of exporting culture among British firms – amongst other issues. Crucially of the 5,500 non-exporting companies 71% thought they had unsuitable products or services and 19% believed they had sufficient business in the UK market!

InternationalMarketing is designed to give SMEs unsure about exporting a bird’s eye view of some of the key considerations to take into account to grow their business overseas. Ohh la la’s page draws in content from successful exporters, case studies, news items and other online resources. Let us know what you think.

Posted by: Ohh la la | June 9, 2011

Marmite – a lesson for would be exporters

Marmite, one of Unilever’s major brand, is no stranger to controversy. Ever since it was launched in the UK in 1902 the brand has become well versed in raising a few eyebrows as well as bringing smiles to many faces for its distinctive taste. That it should be banned in Denmark as it falls foul of a law restricting products fortified with added vitamins is something else…

Love it or hate it – over the years the brand has made the headlines with many distinctive tongue in cheek advertising campaigns. Fans have even gone to town by launching branded websites to fly the cool britannia flag for the brand I Love Marmite 

Legend even has it that the Marmite name may have derived from the French cooking pot  ‘petite marmite’. Certainly the rounded shape jar reminds me of my childhood in France – my grandma used to cook a stew either in the “petite marmite” or the “grande marmite”… No marmite involved!

So whilst the recent ban of  the brand in Denmark may be perceived by Marmite lovers as defying common sense, it also brings back home a few truth for the less experienced SMEs seeking export growth.

Marmite – Centre stage in Selfridges Trafford Centre food hall

To avoid costly mistakes and pave the way for the sustainable growth of overseas sales…

  1. Research, research, research is paramount to inform exporting decision – From assessing whether to export to scoping the marketing environment (i.e. what the market wants, who your customers are etc.) and understanding local legislations, there is a long list to tick before you can be satisfied you are ready to make the leap. Too many companies still make the mistake of skipping this step – it’s not because clients loves you product in the UK that they will in another market – and your overseas clients demographics may be quite different too!
  2. Invest in a robust export strategy and sales and marketing plan – Whatever your business size, it is impossible to be everywhere so think strategically to invest wisely.  Mapping out everything right from the shape of your products to how they are going to be distributed and marketed is essential to be successful in a foreign market.
  3. Cross-cultural marketing isn’t optional – Do not get tempted in using the same old marketing communications approach or simply translating a marketing collateral into the local language. It simply doesn’t work. Whilst one market may consider the depth of features a product offers when making a purchase decision, another may focus on ease of use. And whilst the Brits are renown for successfully mixing humour with advertising, misplaced humour could get lost in translation!  A multicultural approach, underpinned by a localised marketing plan, is essential if you are serious about making some inroads in your chosen market.
  4. Forge strong links with your distribution network – Remote management of a market is a recipe for disaster. Visit your new market regularly to spot opportunities, manage changes and crucially build water-tight relationship with your chosen distribution network – whether you have appointed an agent or set up an office, those people are your bridge to the market. Make use of all the intelligence they hold. It’s amazing just by talking and asking questions what you will find out – allowing you possibly to spot new market opportunities. By advising one of my Turkish distributors once to take part in a new trade show, he was able to appoint three new dealers across the country – this decision resulted in a 60% turnover increase within six months. Poor distributors can also cause great damage to your brand, so it’s important to ensure they care about your success!
  5. You don’t have to be a large company to be successful internationally. There many helping hands out there right from the UK  Trade and Investment (UKTI) to local Chamber of Commerces, as well as international marketing agencies with multilingual staff such as Ohh la la to help SMEs work out their export strategies, identify opportunities and implement successful cross-cultural marketing plans. Best of all social networks can prove invaluable both in terms of engaging but also researching your market with tight budgets – though remember cross-cultural marketing approaches apply online too!
  6. In the end this is about respecting people’s differences. Forget about one size fits all. It doesn’t.
Posted by: Ohh la la | June 9, 2011

Ever wondered how Google doodles come to life?

 

Posted by: Ohh la la | May 31, 2011

“Shine On Social Media” Leeds 02/06/2011

Heard of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube but unsure whether any of these social networks apply to small businesses or how to use them to engage with your existing and potential customers? Then don’t miss out “Shine On Social Media”.

Brought to West Yorkshire entrepreneurs by the Federation of Small Businesses to provide relevant insight into social media, the free event that will be taking place on Thursday at the Shine Business centre on Harehills Road, Leeds also welcomes non-members who are new to business or who are thinking about setting up a business. Simply reserve your place to attend.

Ohh la la is one of the four speakers who will be animating “Shine On Social Media”.  The event is intended to give participants a broad understanding of the key social networks: Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter and YouTube.

 Shine on Social Media Event - 2 June 2011

Don’t miss out. To reserve your place please contact Mike Rose today. Tel: 0113 232 0418 –Email: mike.rose@fsb.org.uk 

More on the Federation of Small Businesses and forthcoming events: http://www.fsb.org.uk/west-yorkshire/events

Posted by: Ohh la la | May 24, 2011

Don’t be such a cow!

Arla certainly don’t have to wait (too long) for theirs cows to come home in those firmly tongue in cheek commercials.

Of course when Harry Reynolds, the Cornish dairyman who started making Anchor® butter in 1886, launched his business, grass dispensers and karaoke machines were not part of cows everyday lives. But customers can rest assured that the butter is still made from the milk of free range cows.

Behind the scenes of the brand success… and how they really churn their butter…

Step 1 – Grazing

Step 2 – Clock-in

Step 3 – Partying

More about Arla’s Anchor butter here.

Older Posts »

Categories