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‘Open-minded’ partners are key to global market expansion

Receptive partners are essential in tackling new global markets Antonis Kyprianou, group franchise manager at Grupo Cortefiel, told delegates at Drapers’ Fashion Forum today.

“When asked what’s important, retailers often say it’s ’location, location, location’, but we say it’s ’partners, partners, partners,’ he said.

“You could have the best location in the world, but not the right partners. You need a partner that understands the brand, and in new markets, you won’t necessarily find experts but open-minded partners.

“The most important thing in a partnership is trust. It won’t happen overnight – respect the partner trusting in you.”

This is particularly relevant when assessing potential risks, he explained: “International business is challenging and anything – socially, politically, economically – can happen.

“What you can’t control is what you need to identify in order to protect market share. You can’t blame it on the weather, as we’re dealing with social issues, wars and customers that you can’t control.

“Assess those risks and prepare to adjust your brand without changing your DNA even if it’s just by 1%. That could be in marketing, in product.

“Customers in China may have different body types from those in western Europe, but that won’t mean it will be the same as in South Korea.”

He also warned that you cannot consider taking a brand and thinking it’ll fit in every market: “Coca Cola can tins vary in each country, and likewise, you must be prepared to adapt some of your product.”


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