When looking at Scottish culture you recognise the fact that Bonnie Prince Charlie was Italian, Mary Queen of Scots was French, the haggis and bagpipes originate in the Middle East and that tartan is largely an invention of Victorian England. Knowing this you can then appreciate that Scotland is indeed a truly international region of the globe, as we draw influences from across the world.
Scotland still makes true on its culture of having open arms to the world, by continuing to export innovations in the form of many fantastic business that have taken their product to global customers. If your business wants to join the list of companies flying the flag for Scotland on the international stage, you will need to stand out from competitors oversees. Our extensive experience have informed some key success criteria.
Firstly, if you want to differentiate yourself in a market you need to understand the market you are looking to enter through intelligence gathering. There are many research tools and much information available to hand if you are inquisitive, resourceful and plan what you are looking for. Research a target region, you customer will ensure you prepare properly in scoping all of the risks and opportunities for your business.
Secondly, you will need an intimate understanding of how you will create value for your new potential clients overseas and this might be different from how you bring benefit to local markets. A clear international value proposition ensures your business and brand offering relevantly and successfully connects with the target audience in each specific region. Marketing your products and services with the same benefits, messages and marketing across different regions of the globe is often seen as cost-effective and easy. But this approach can be dangerous. It can ruin your company’s reputation and limit your growth potential. A successful business, marketing approach and sometimes brand in one country, does not necessarily guarantee success in another.
Consider the strategic options open to you – will you sell directly or via a partner, agent, distributor? – what are the pros and cons of each option and how does regional practice, law and culture impact your decision?
Next, you need a clear action plan, that needs properly resourced, a stage many businesses don’t think through in enough detail. Resource planning should cover all aspects of the business such as finance, legal, commercial, sales, technical, operations and marketing, and come with ownership and buy-in from all employees.
How you will support your sales entry strategy into new markets with an effective marketing strategy also needs careful customisation. How will your language and culturally aligned tone of voice ensure relevancy? By considering all of these elements businesses are able to plan, prepare and enter new markets whilst differentiating themselves from the competition.
Claire Kinloch is MD of Genoa Black