Our top three exporting tips
Best practices in conducting international trade
To coincide with the U.K. Trade & Investment Office’s Export Week event, we felt it was an appropriate opportunity to share some details of our experiences and the recommendations we have for conducting international trade.
As a Queen’s Awards winner for International Trade in 2014, HH Global has been recognized by the U.K. government for its outstanding success in overseas trade, and as a leader in its field.
We’ll try to keep the theory to a minimum, but it’s worth pointing out that international trade and commercial policy is one of the oldest economic considerations and contributes significantly to a nation’s overall wealth. Every day, trillions of transactions are undertaken across borders at unimaginable fiscal values with literally anything with a commercial value being exported. Typical exports include a product or goods, or information being mailed, hand-delivered, shipped by air, shipped by vessel, uploaded to an internet site, or downloaded from an internet site. But exports do not stop at physical and digital items; exports also include the distribution of information and interaction, such as a service, a form of consultancy, or intellectual property. Essentially anything that can be delivered in the form of an email, an email attachment, a fax (a little 20th century we know, but some people still use them) or can be shared during a telephone conversation.
Exporting through direct mail
HH Global exports its brand, products, and services to over 40 countries across six continents. Products such as direct mail, manufactured and delivered pan-regionally into an individual country's mail network is a cross border trade, and is a typical example of the physical products that HH Global manage on behalf of its clients. The complexity of dealing with multiple countries’ mail systems, legalities, custom checks, cartels, subsidies, and tax implications are expertly managed by a dedicated postal team balancing speed to market against optimal cost – no simple thing. And that’s a tangible product, what about a service?
Creative services across the globe
Services are inherently simpler, as there is no physical product to inspect, hold in customs or impose questionable trade barriers upon. HH Global is helping to fly the flag for British creative talent by providing outstanding design and innovative creative services from its specialist Creative Services Studio in London that are exported across Europe. This British-produced work is transcreated (the step beyond translation whereby imagery and messages are localized) by satellite studios across the globe, utilizing the master artwork born in the U.K. Exporting is still taking place, but there are no “goods” involved.
Growth through trade
From a fiscal point of view, HH Global, as with many companies operating in advanced economies, derives a substantial portion of its annual revenues from exports to other countries. The ability to export helps an economy to grow by creating an inflow of capital from other economies. Governments therefore, provide significant support to those companies that wish to grow their businesses through international trade, and HH Global is no different. Our position as a member of the UKTI Creative Industries HVO Taskforce, our Queen’s Award, and our contribution to Government- sponsored trade events have served to foster economic trade in ways that benefit both parties involved.
Three tips for increasing international trade
So as an expert in exporting our global brand and proposition, what tips does HH Global have for businesses looking to increase their international trade or break into exporting? They center around three key areas:
Due to varying labor laws across the globe, competing on costs from country to country doesn’t always provide a level playing field. Many companies in advanced economies struggle with competitiveness of their products on a global scale due to much lower input costs elsewhere.
Competitiveness can be a major drag on a country’s exports often creating a trade deficit, but the key to removing this drag is differentiation. This could be in the form of a higher quality product capitalizing on skills, or through unique branding that offers the perception of a different product versus a cheaper equivalent. Many British brands attach themselves to the iconic Union flag providing a point of differentiation intended to be positive. The use of the Union flag may not always be seen that way, dependent on the perception of the U.K. within a particular market which leads us nicely on to the next point.
- Understand social and cultural nuances
It is a vital but perhaps overlooked area of international trade: understand the complexities of the society which you intend to sell to. Languages, social characteristics, religion, socio-economic development, and political ideology can all have a profound effect on the buying patterns of consumers.
There are countries that share a border yet have many barriers to trade in place due to political considerations and military tensions. As a specialist in global trade, HH Global can advise that in this particular case it is quicker to export via a third country across water than to export directly from one country to the other over land, bringing the third country into play effectively as a mediator.
- Appropriately navigate rules and customs
Every single country in the world has a unique set of trade rules that need to be understood and operated to. Many countries have restrictions on trade, such as tariffs or subsidies, and these need to be fully understood and accounted for in the export model.
HH Global has learned this through an interesting and at times painful incursion into Europe that enabled us to create the global business model which we operate today. Bringing in local specialists in new markets as either full employees or short term consultants can rapidly reduce the time and complications involved through their inherent understanding of the local market.
Exporting is a major component of international trade, and the macroeconomic risks and benefits of exporting can seem like a minefield of barriers and pitfalls. Adopting an appropriately cautious and considered strategy while utilizing the skills and experience of others where your own is insufficient will ensure the highest likelihood of success.