We talk to the CEO of Virtue Drinks Rahi Daneshmand about the opportunities and challenges of trading overseas
Trading abroad can provide greater credibility for an organisation, improving the brand in both domestic and international markets, especially within the food and drink industry. In addition, it could spread a company’s risk across wider and more varied markets, potentially extend the product lifecycle and deliver benefits from economies of scale.
Is Brand Britain ready to travel?
As Daneshmand explains,
“We launched our naturally sugar-free energy drink Virtue Energy Water 18 months ago and quickly saw a strong initial uptake. When we started to export abroad, we initially exported to four countries. We now export to 20. The British market tends to be a little more conservative than the international market. There are really forward thinking retailers around the world and there’s less competition for shelf space in some countries which works well for us. Being made in the UK is a big credential for us abroad as people trust that – it’s a stamp of approval.”
The internet provides the opportunity to reach global markets
Virtue Drinks attribute much of their brand expansion to the reach of the internet. For example, the company exports to Hong Kong and the Philippines and being able to contact them on email has been key to expansion. Social media has also played a role in the company’s visibility on a global scale.
Addressing the challenges of international markets
As Virtue Drinks found, some concessions are needed to reach global markets:
“We’ve added French, German and Dutch languages to our cans to give us better access to the European market. For certain countries, such as South Korea and in the Middle East, you need to have specific labelling in their languages to be able to do business. Our product is pretty globally scalable otherwise, although we’d need to look at manufacturing in the US if there was a big uptake on our product because import duty rates and shipping costs are quite high.”