While the UK economy may be picking up pace, there are many reasons why an increasing number of manufacturing companies are looking at foreign markets. As the UK has lost its global dominance in many volume markets, with countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China keeping some consumers happy by driving prices down – there is still a massive market for UK-produced goods abroad. Our manufacturing “brand” is still incredibly strong and many UK firms believe this translates to increased sales overseas. When this is coupled with the Government’s push for an increase in UK exports (with an associated £5 billion investment) now may well be the time to take the plunge abroad, or increase activity in foreign markets.
But how do you ensure your business thrives overseas? With over 12 years’ experience in helping UK manufacturers attack international markets – we share some tips on how some of our clients have approached marketing.
Knowledge is power!
The saying that ‘knowledge is power’ can be no truer when dealing with a market that is initially an unknown quantity. In addition to your market research there are various bodies that may provide further professional insight. These bodies include: the UK Trade and Investment Organisation (UKTI), the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, The Institute of Directors, Business Councils and Professional Associations in your specific manufacturing industry.
Those businesses who have failed to see growth at home are advised that a decision such as expanding abroad should not serve as a plan B, and is one that is only likely to be successful when built upon a solid domestic structure.
Market research – A decidedly foreign affair
Amazingly, some companies don’t even carry out market research when entering new markets – beyond a quick Google search!
It may sound obvious but market research in an overseas market should be seen as distinctly separate to domestic market research. We’ve been working with some of the world’s largest market research agencies, translating consumer questionnaires and surveys for some of the biggest brands. We’ve found that there are cultural nuances that simply don’t translate and sometimes the research can be biased by poorly translated market research. The key here is to “assume nothing” and to consider expansion as if it were starting a new business afresh.
Choose the Right Strategy
We’ve detailed three different marketing strategies for entering and maximising your export market in another article on the blog. Most UK manufacturers start by offering the same products into other territories to minimise R&D costs or product adaptations in uncertain markets. Often, a great first step towards marketing your manufacturing business is finding an export agent locally. This can prove truly invaluable throughout the processes of market research, campaign and sales development but they are not always the perfect partner for translation services due to their lack of understanding of the source language’s nuances.
Don’t get lost in translation
Translation services are going to play a key role in communicating your message of what your manufacturing company can bring to your prospects, however with little or no knowledge likely of either the language or culture of another country, you’ll need to ensure your message isn’t lost, or worse still, changed into something else entirely different!
These situations aren’t merely for the medium sized businesses either, and how detrimental poor translation can be is no better demonstrated by the translation gaffs of the world’s biggest companies. Consider the Pepsi campaign slogan “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation” was translated into Chinese as “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave” or the Swedish Vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux’s campaign where the slogan read “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” meant something quite different in America!
That’s where we can help.
We’ve translated over 50 million words, many for companies in the UK manufacturing sector across a huge multitude of products. No product has ever been considered too technical for our trained and experienced translation team!