Tag Archives: John Grimley

Japan-EU Free Trade: Opportunities and Challenges for New Market Entrants

As CNN reports, Japan and the EU have agreed on an historic new free trade agreement which covers one-third of the world’s economy and includes 600 million people

Expected to come into force in 2019 after being approved by lawmakers on both sides, the agreement, as CNN reports (citing World Trade Organization Statistics), will eliminate nearly all current tariffs on EU products of 1.6% when they arrive in Japan – and 2.9% on Japanese products entering the EU. CNN also reported that the EU said current Japanese tariffs “cost its companies up to €1 billion ($1.2 billion) per year”. Notably, as The Economist reported last year, “the deal could raise the EU’s exports to Japan by 34%, and Japan’s to the EU by 29%.”

Ankit Panda, reporting for The Diplomat, detailed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement following the signing of the agreement: “The EU and Japan showed an undeterred determination to lead the world as flag-bearers for free trade”, Abe stated.  And European Council President Donald Tusk, Panda reports, stated “the deal was the ‘largest bilateral trade deal ever.’”

The agreement is important as it comes at a time when both the EU and Japan, staunch allies of the United States, face increased tariffs on exports into the U.S. as a result of protectionist trade policies of the Trump Administration.

The EU Economy

The EU’s economy was ahead of the United States in 2015 with a GDP in 2015 of €14,600 billion. “With just 6.9% of the world’s population, the EU’s trade with the rest of the world accounts for around 20% of global exports and imports.”

The Japanese Economy

And as the BBC reports, Japan’s economy is the world’s third largest — with economic growth (according to the OECD) projected to edge up to 1.4% in 2017, aided by increased international trade in Asia and fiscal stimulus.

7 ways to avoid risk and capitalize on opportunity in new foreign markets

While EU-Japan Free Trade will reduce tariff barriers, making it easier for EU and Japan-based companies to do business in these respective markets – there remain significant challenges which must be understood and addressed on an ongoing basis for any firm to succeed in a market entry strategy.

Lauren Maillian, writing in Forbes, details essential strategies (1 to 5) companies should consider before developing a presence in a new international market. And Marco Calabrese, writing in Trade Ready Blog, details additional prime risks (6 and 7) to companies entering a new international market:

  1. Educate yourself on the customs and business etiquette of the international market.
  2. Gather historical data on the country’s currency value fluctuation and import/export timelines – Maillian explains how deal values can change based on currency fluctuations between the time the deal is agreed until it’s finalized.
  3. Become an expert on the country’s laws governing business.  Maillian underscores the importance of local legal counsel to navigating the export markets unique legal and regulatory environment.  (I would add to this public affairs, financial advisory and local market entry advisement).
  4. Conduct focus groups to test the waters in the prospective international market. “A new approach may be needed to make your product or service suitable to the needs and expectations of the potential foreign market”.
  5. Find out what your competition has done in the same territory.
  6. Protecting your business from political change – Calabrese cites how “the current global economy has been undergoing significant changes that have had major effects on international business.”
  7. Identify and avoid corruption – “Companies entering certain regions may be confronted with unorthodox ways of doing business. In several nations, bribery is required in order to complete trade”.

Henry Tan, Representative Director of Tricor K.K has outlined 5 Challenges Of FMNs (Foreign Multinationals) Entering The Japanese Market. And Donagh Kiernan, founder and CEO of Tenego Partnering, details some of the unique challenges foreign companies face when entering the EU market.

Looking forward

The EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) will provide significant new opportunities for Japanese and EU companies seeking to expand into each other’s sizable markets. As both markets are highly developed and complex, however, they’ll pose a variety of challenges to any business seeking to capitalize upon the newly agreed FTA. Despite these challenges, companies can seek to secure the assistance of local experts in market entry, legal and public affairs advisement and other specialisms tailored to the needs of a new market entrant. By securing specialized market entry assistance, companies can successfully meet the challenges they’ll face when entering the EU or Japanese market.

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How to use online content marketing to increase Middle-Market deal flow

Sophisticated content about the details of the Midmarket deal making process will generate more deal flow for Middle Market advisors, according to a webinar conducted by John Carvalho, President of Divestopedia and Stone Oak Capital Inc.

The webinar, entitled The Changing World of Private Equity Deal Sourcing, notes how the Middle market deal space is extremely crowded, but that great deal sourcing practices can significantly help middle market advisors source more deals.  

Online publishing complements traditional deal flow efforts

Notably, Carvalho details the tremendous cost and effort some Mid-Market advisors are currently making to source good deals.  In some cases, this deal sourcing requires travel of up to 30 weeks a year, with spends of between $450,000 to 1 million annually.

He explains how an online strategy would make these efforts more efficient and less costly.  A sophisticated online effort that strengthens your firm’s brand awareness would sit beside other sophisticated deal flow initiatives, including a carefully defined deal focus, more interaction with M&A intermediaries, and increased targeting of companies that might sell. Importantly, Carvalho explains that if more relevant and high quality deal flow finds you from this online effort, it’s succeeding.  

Carvalho also cites industry thought leader on the subject, David Teten, who has identified 5 best practices to generating more deal flow, which are the establishment of a specialised outbound origination program, via the deployment of a dedicated business development professional, creating opportunities instead of waiting for them, targeting companies that are flashing deal signals, installing a CRM system, and leveraging social media. Also important to note: Another industry leader in advocating social media use by Mid-Market advisors, Axial, in a survey of their members, found that 89% of CEOs research potential contacts online before doing anything else.

There’s scepticism about social media in the Middle Market, but it does work

Carvalho notes that there’s a lot of scepticism about social media among Mid-Market advisors, hence they’ve been slow adaptors. He explains that there’s a perception that deal flow found online may be low quality. And that Middle-Market dealmaking is seen as a relationship business, which social media will never replace.  Efficiencies can, however, be achieved, as Carvalho explains, by initiating connections online that become conduits to deals.

As a counter to the scepticism about social media, Carvalho notes that social media should be seen simply as a distribution channel to increase outreach. He cites in particular how:

  • Social media savvy Millennials already in corporate decision-making positions are increasingly turning to social media to find Middle-Market advisors  
  • Indirect online-generated relationships can be a significant source of deal opportunities.  
  • Educational content can build brand and build investment leads.  
  • Among the top reasons companies select a Middle-Market advisor is brand recognition and the firm’s demonstrated expertise (which online content marketing can amplify).
  • The Riverside Companies have said their brand recognition helps bring in more deals.

Designing a middle market focused social media strategy

Carvalho details how there should be 4 goals for an online social media strategy for a Middle-Market advisor: Build Brand; Drive Traffic; Demonstrate Expertise; and Generate Leads.

What type of content?

There’s an appetite from the C-Suite to learn more about the deal process. The most successful forms of content involve digging deeper into topics and issues for business owners to know about before doing transactions – things beyond the superficial. Middle-Market advisory firms, therefore, can create content from their experience in dealmaking, Carvalho explains. Case studies, videos, and articles about the process can be created from this experience. But most firms don’t have staff able to do this, he details (this is where firms can work with a social media savvy writer with knowledge of the Middle Market, to help them develop and distribute content)

Which distribution channels?

Deal sourcing platforms, your firm website, third party publications, and social media sites including LinkedIn and Twitter (the two prime sources for promoting midmarket content, with YouTube becoming more popular) are ideal as distribution channels for your online content, Carvalho detailed. He also suggests the possibility of using sites not often used by mid-market advisors as a means by which to generate even more exposure.  In a workplace increasingly composed of millenials (35% of the workforce by 2020), expanding the scope of your sophisticated online presence is an important long-term strategy to consider for expanding deal flow

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

9 ways to use social media to promote business events

Social media can be used very effectively to promote business events.  Even if your firm or organization hasn’t yet utilized social media to promote events — here’s an inspirational story:  One very high-profile business organization has successfully gone from opposing the use of social media to promote its’ events — to enthusiastically embracing the use of social media: The World Economic Forum (WEF).

As the BBC reported in 2016 — in the past few years – WEF has gone from opposition to social media use – to a highly active and successful example of its’ best use.  As many will know, WEF’s annual meeting occurs in Davos’, Switzerland.  Attended by many prominent business and political leaders from around the world — in the last few years the organization has been superb at promoting this event using social media.  I wrote in more detail about those efforts here – and emulate them in another blog and social media channels I publish here.

As the BBC details: “In the past couple of years, the World Economic Forum’s social media operation has come into its own. A decade or so ago, sharing what was going on at the WEF’s meetings was verboten, but opposition to using social media as a communication tool at Davos has changed in a big way.”

WEF’s social media team in action

As the BBC explains, WEF now has a social media desk staffed by two professionals who search for what is being shared or provoking online discussion.  They then repost or repackage this content in a way tailored to reach a broader audience.  When WEF conducts its’ annual meeting at Davos, the WEF social media team live-tweets the event — often adding original posts focused on its’ followers on its’ widely followed social media channels.  In addition to Twitter, Facebook and it’s own blog — WEF also utilizes Weibo, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.

Mike Hanley, Head of Digital Communications for WEF () told the BBC that these outreach efforts are intended to harness the power of social media to amplify the conversations at Davos: “It helps us emphasize the importance and complexity of the issues that our participants are discussing, it helps us make those issues understandable, and it helps us bring the voice of the general public into our proceedings.”

How can your organization emulate WEF’s social media success?

Social Media-focused blog Tint has published an excellent article about how you can promote events via the use of social media.  Below I’ve distilled that post into 9 basic tips for promoting business events via social media:

  1. Create a short Twitter hashtag for your event and use it often — It can markedly increase awareness, participation and attendance for your event.
  2. Be proactive with your Twitter hashtag — “Promote it everywhere including your event website, dedicated emails, social networks, and the event’s mobile app. The hashtag is a great way for your attendees to engage with the event content, speakers, and each other. You’ll be able to watch what is trending around your event in real-time and get relevant feedback in the process.”
  3. Promote your event as early as possible — “The earlier you promote the event and dedicated hashtag, the greater your chances are for success. Promote early to create momentum and reach a larger audience.  Social media is an ideal channel for initiating conversations.”
  4. Create enthusiasm before the event — which in turn will encourage others to promote the event.  “Reach out to attendees, speakers, and prospective conference-goers to get them excited about the event.”  Share other related content about the event, e.g. blogposts by influencers, news reports, social posts by those interested in the event.
  5. Leverage Thoughts Leaders — “Using social correctly can help your attendees to become your biggest promoters. Encourage attendees to leverage their social networks to help spread the word. Create mutually beneficial relationships with industry and thought leaders by sharing their updates and engaging them in conversation online. They already have loyal fans and are admired in their industry.”
  6. Encourage event speakers to promote the event. It’s helpful for them to promote conferences where they’ll be speaking.
  7. Engage guests before the event — Here you might publish and promote shareable content with interesting facts, discounts or other creative efforts.
  8. Use All Your Social Channels – Or Create a Dedicated Event Channel — “Create a LinkedIn group and a Facebook page for your event. Post topics including activities, photos, sponsors, special guests, speakers, agenda info, and anything else that is relevant for the conference. Organically growing an attendee community on these networks means higher shareability for your event”.
  9. Follow Back — “Engage with and reward attendees [and dedicated social followers] who are regularly promoting and mentioning your events on social media and encourage two-way communication.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

Deloitte-Forbes study: 1/3 of C-Suite executives prefer reading long-form print content

A 2017 report from Forbes and Deloitte details how top executives prefer to receive business insights.   300 C-suite executives from around the world were surveyed to produce the report, entitled: Thought Leadership in Action: Strategic Content to Help CXO’s Learn and Lead.

Perhaps the most surprising result of the study reveals that despite the tendency for digital media to reduce ideas to brief “sound-bites” — more than one-third of C-Suite executives prefer to read long form content in print.

Key findings of the report include that while C-Suite executives “expect to be able to access content in multiple ways” — the majority benefit from longer formats, including presentations, books and comprehensive papers.

Research-driven content is vital

Bruce Rogers (@Brogers825), Chief Insights Officer of Forbes Media explains that C-Suite executives “want to access longer pieces, which take them from hypothesis, through case studies, to conclusion, and are based on credible data.”  Rodgers noted that “short-form content serves as a gateway to more information.”

Gina Pingitore (@GPingitorePHD), Managing Director, Deloitte Services LP, Deloitte Center for Industry Insights — explained that “thought leadership needs to present [C-suite executives] with data-based insights that are credible, relevant to their organizations and lead to business outcomes” – because “evidence-based decision making is..critical…for setting strategy.”

Print remains an important medium

While content must be designed and distributed via multiple channels – print remains an important medium.   A full half of the C-suite executives surveyed said  it is critical to read long-form business insights.  84% said they would choose offline long-form content.

Professional content producers are important

Results of the study also reflect that “professional publishing and consulting firms produce the most valuable content”.  C-suite executives, the report details, “obtain the most valuable content from organizations capable of analyzing information and then placing it in a narrative context.”

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How a blog can help your business generate more publicity

Competition for available media coverage continues to increase

Competition for available media coverage continues to increase amid a sea of press releases and publicity efforts, according to an article by Ian Felton in SEO Chat.  As a result of this competition, Felton details, it`s “harder than ever for a business to gain much needed publicity.”

“Getting someone to hear the message is half the battle”, Felton explains. “Having the members of the media consider it newsworthy is the other half. Somewhere, there must be another vehicle that can gain the attention of an already swamped news editor. Help for the publicity seeking business person has arrived in the form of the blog.”

And global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller has explained the increased importance of blogs to generating news stories:  “Traditional and Social media are being used in increasingly sophisticated ways to draw attention to issues and mobilize opinion; anyone can now broadcast their views instantly and broadly using the panoply of tools freely available. And with journalists and other opinion-formers using blogs, micro-blogs and other web-based media as core tools to track news and trends, seemingly anodyne issues can be amplified instantly.”

Unique features that make blogs useful for public relations efforts

Felton identifies 4 key elements of blog technology that help make it uniquely useful for amplifying your organization’s messages

  1. A blog can provide an instant pipeline directly to interested news media outlets when combined with an RSS news feed, which employs the same technology as stock market and weather forecasts.
  2. A blog is a search engine optimization vehicle requiring minimal additional effort. The regular addition of relevant and keyword rich content provides a powerful boost to your business in the search engines.
  3. Other blogs and blog-based news sites will often link to content they source for information – which increases your exposure.
  4. High-ranking sites send a message of importance to reporters.  Hence, you may well be regularly called upon as a source as a result.

Consistent, sophisticated content will make a blog a regular source of news stories

Making your blog a source of consistent, well-informed opinion will help it grow to be regarded by journalists as a must-read source of expert opinion on your industry and specializations.  But reaching that pinnacle takes very hard work — which organizations must understand and genuinely commit to before embarking upon any blogging effort with such a lofty ambition.

Felton sums up the blog`s importance with a message about authenticity:  “Blogging as a public opinion medium [leaves ‘spin’ behind] and [instead] presents a message in a conversation with the reader…In that sense…blog[s] cultivate public opinion…with increasing transparency.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.