Targeting the right consumers and markets is essential when exploring export options. Export Connect’s Najib Lawand lays out six essential steps for success.

This is the third installment in a six-part export series. See our January-February and April issues for parts one and two.

1 The importance of being understood

Your product must have distinctive attributes that resonate with your target consumers. It is vital that your target consumer understands your brand and products. Does your messaging show why the product is relevant; what are its key features; what benefits does it provide; and crucially, why should they trust you?

In export markets heavily reliant on imported foods, like Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE, the international product offering is large. Being an Australian brand definitely has its advantages, but that on its own is not enough.

2 Who Is your target consumer?

Many companies think about their target consumer in terms of age, gender, or income, but these are not always the most important attributes. Try asking some of these questions about your target audience:
What is their favourite brand?
What sort of lifestyle do they have?
How do they connect with your product category?
What usage triggers will they respond to?

For example, consider a premium health food and an ASEAN and North Asian target consumer. They might be educated urban professionals in a high income bracket, looking to provide a healthier lifestyle for their families. They are time poor but interested in wellness, and open to innovation and exploration.

They shop at high- end supermarkets, use ecommerce platforms and increasingly, ‘express’ type outlets that stock imported products. They favour products in smaller packaging sizes, which are easily carried on public transport and that suit their appetite. Information shared over social media platforms also influences their purchase decisions.

3 Who and what are you selling?

It is as important to have a firm identity of your own – both for your brand and product – as it is to identify your consumer.
What is the story of your brand; what makes it unique; why are your products special; and what qualities will generate consumer attachment?

To position yourself in a competitive marketplace, you need to understand how consumers differentiate between products. Then, identify ideas that will help your brand stand out, and know how to action them so you keep ahead of competitors.

Consumers in mature export markets like the UK and USA are making informed purchase decisions, often by reviewing information on packaging in-store. Is your story a provenance one or a secret recipe passed through generations?

Is it about being all natural and free from allergens or loaded with functional attributes? Maybe it is uniquely packaged for convenience or has a long shelf life? Does it have a celebrity endorsement that aligns with your brand value? And does it stand out on the shelf?

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