When comparing your target overseas market with the UK, there are more differences than simply language. Is the technology you use to reach your UK audience as suitable for your overseas market? Does your brand positioning need adapting? Will any cultural differences impact on the popularity of your brand?
Protecting your company and your brand in an overseas market is one of the most critical elements to long-term growth beyond the UK.
Four key areas for you to consider:
1. Intellectual property
Intellectual property (IP) rights only offer protection in the countries where they are granted or registered. Where a company only has UK protection, others may be free to use their IP abroad without any infringement of rights.
Registering your IP abroad needs to be considered across trademark, patent, design and copyright. More information is available from the Government website, Protecting your UK intellectual property abroad.
2. Compliance with local legislation
Where you’re targeting markets outside the EU, there can be significant differences in regulations and labelling; they may also vary depending on whether you plan to sell your products online or in territory.
There can also be industry-specific differences. In China, for example, the Chinese government requires tests on animals for all imported cosmetics. Whilst it is expected that non-special cosmetics such as moisturisers and shampoos will no longer be subject to animal testing in future, special cosmetics – i.e. those with a scientific function like sunscreen and hair dye – will still require animal testing.
3. Role of distributors and agents
How do you want to position your brand in your new market? Depending on the number and type of competitors, you may choose to position it differently to the UK, both in terms of price and quality.
The decision on how to position your product should, however, always be yours – and not your distributors or agents.
Misinterpretation about brand positioning can often be deliberate where distributors sell other products and services alongside your brand. After all, it may be in their financial interests to position your product in a particular way against competitor products.
Misinterpretation can, of course, also be accidental; particularly where the messaging from the UK is unclear.
In each instance, the project team at Peak Translations helps to make sure your branding remains consistent and how you would choose it to be. We consult with distributors and agents from the first stages of the translation process. This early buy-in helps to ensure that they remain on message when promoting your brand to your end customers.
4. Financial risk
How well do you know the buying behaviour of businesses or consumers in your chosen market? How acceptable is it to pay late, and how late?
You may wish to set payment terms upfront with late payment penalties to reduce your exposure. Consider too whether you need to employ the services of a credit control agency based in territory; particularly if your usual agency or your Finance team do not speak the language.
What too of bribery? Countries such as China and Russia have a poor track record in upholding anti-bribery practices. In many cultures, bribery is seen very much as part of the negotiation process. As a company, you need to demonstrate that you have undertaken all due care and process to ensure your overseas agents and distributors comply with bribery and anti-corruption laws in the same way as your UK employees.
At Peak Translations, we work closely with the International Trade teams at Greater Manchester, East Midlands and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce to ensure our clients get the latest and very best advice on exporting to new markets.
Do you have a particular country in mind? We’d love to talk to you about what to consider when approaching this market. For an informal chat, contact a member of the Peak Translations team on E: firstname.lastname@example.org or T: 01663 732 074.
For more tips on entering a new overseas market, why not take a look at the first blog in our Market Entry series, ‘Technology and its role in reaching overseas markets’.
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