Export Your “Made In USA” Brand

Hanson Marketing is a member of the San Diego & Imperial District Export Council, and today we gathered at the World Trade Center San Diego to meet Mr. Suresh Kumar, Director General of the US & Foreign Commercial Service. His talk brought us up to date on the National Export Initiative and ways in which the federal government is enabling growth, through such programs as committing 3% of US GDP to R & D tax incentives.

His background in consumer marketing shone through, as Mr. Kumar likened the US’ 1400+ commercial service officers to the “Distribution” pillar that must be solidly in place before US exporters begin meaningful promotions.  These officers are truly commercial diplomats, but they think and act like startup entrepreneurs and hold to the 4Ps of marketing and sales management.

Mr. Kumar presented Export Achievement Awards to area companies and to World Trade Center San Diego. The region’s expertise in water technology and maritime systems infrastructure is evident. (Hanson Marketing is proud that client Hawaii Kai Corporation won the same award, due in part to the global channel strategy we formed for the company)

Made In the USA is still the world’s #1 brand cachet, according to Mr. Kumar; and a Designed In California tag signals world-leading innovation.

Learn more: National Export Initiative, US & Foreign Commercial Service. Bellamare, The Maritime Alliance and The Security Network.

On Imports and the Trade Balance

At the Cato Institute, director and global trade analyst Daniel Griswold writes that “the goal of US trade policy should not be to promote exports at the expense of imports, but to maximize the freedom of Americans to trade goods, service and assets in the global marketplace.”

Griswold writes on why exports are not the only stimulant for our economy, and why imports do not “subtract” from our GDP. He reminds us all what we first leaned in Economics 101: in calculating the balance of payments, that which flows out must flow back.

A common trap of protectionism is that trade barriers “restrict the healthy, circular flow of international trade in goods, services and assets”. The end result of protectionism is reduction of both imports and exports, thereby damaging domestic economies and weakening the market share for a country’s manufacturing sectors.

Read more in The Trade Balance Creed: Debunking the Belief that Imports and Trade Deficits Are a “Drag on Growth”, published April 11, 2011 by the Cato Institute. For more on Daniel Griswold, visit the Center for Trade Policy Studies

If you’re in San Diego, note that Griswold will participate in an international trade symposium at California State University San Marcos on Tuesday, June 21. Register here.

Ignite Exports Seminar Wrap Up, Part 2

I was invited to speak at the inaugural Ignite Exports Seminar on June 10, 2010 in La Jolla, California. Here’s a wrap up at the World Trade Center San Diego website, event hosts.

Speakers Tom Hanson and Tom Cook (l to r) at Ignite Exports Seminar, La Jolla

White House Hosts National Export Initiative Event

A fellow member of the San Diego & Imperial District Export Council participated in the July 7 event hosted by President Obama, held to promote our National Export Initiative . Kim Benson is an international business leader based in San Diego and is also appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Center, a unique private-public partnership that plays a vital advisory role in shaping our nation’s foreign trade policy.

President Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke acknowledged the gathered guests’ contributions to expanding trade, and announced re-launch of the President’s Export Council. As I’ve stated previously on this blog site, this is a commendable and challenging step.

Ms. Benson, who is vice president of Cange International, an international business consultancy observes “a shift in the government taking place now, in terms of the degree of communication among positions and agencies related to trade.” President Obama has also deemed specific members of his cabinet to be Export Promotion Cabinet Members, she notes. “He meets with them regularly and expects cooperation to reach the objectives of the NEI specifically. These efforts will now be supplemented by input provided to President Obama by the President’s Export Council. Having the National Export Initiative clearly set forth is obviously creating unprecedented cooperation among positions and agencies. I see this as something very positive, and I must say that in 20 years I have not seen this level of cooperation.”

The president’s very public and direct pledges since his State of the Union address in January are the best way to hold lenders and government export agencies accountable. Since February of this year, the Department of Commerce has coordinated 18 trade missions with over 160 companies participating in 24 countries. Further, there are eight more trade missions scheduled over the next three months, which can be tracked via Tradeology, the International Trade Administration’s blog. Secretary Locke reminded those gathered in the East Room that in March, the US reached an agreement with China to reopen the Chinese market to pork and pork products. And in June, the US agreed with Russia to reopen the Russian market to US poultry exports. These steps together are worth more than $1 billion. (That’s a start toward reaching $2 trillion in exports in five years, a key goal of the NEI!)

Watch for the Export Promotion Cabinet’s 180-day report to the president, due on September 1.

More About Industry Trade Advisory Center
ITAC is primarily comprised of leaders from small-to-midsized businesses with proven success in global trade. Formed in 1974 and jointly run by the Department of Commerce and the US Trade Representative Office, ITAC ensures that trade negotiators consult with representatives from the private sector during trade negotiations.

Read more about the July 7 White House event here, including a link to a National Export Initiative Progress Report.

Ignite Exports Seminar Wrap-Up

Last Thursday, I presented a series of market-building presentations to current and prospective exporters, during World Trade Center San Diego’s Ignite Exports Seminar. The many and diverse projects that Hanson Marketing has completed for clients in both consumer and b-2-b sectors provided plenty of relevant, timely case studies on which to base my presentation.

Opening speakers set a tone of both urgency and opportunity for US exporters by introducing our National Export Initiative and by spotlighting global issues such as tariffs and embargoes, trade with China, and export control regulations. My co-presenters and I started out the all-day learning session with real-world examples of how we guide our clients in developing strategic, export-driven revenue flow (Hanson Marketing’s Pre-Flight Checklist came in handy). By first conducting detailed, inclusive exercises, studies and analysis; and following up with identifying and assessing new markets, export companies lay a smooth path toward productive global markets.

Next, we delved into Intellectual Property and Licensing structures and how to form and lead best-in-class channel partnerships (our tried-and-true Channel Matrix was the basis for this discussion), wherein I gave a crash course on solutions-based and consultative selling techniques. A colleague from Ex-Im Bank led the audience through a great overview of how their programs create competitive advantage.

Afternoon sessions covered how to master complex issues such as managing channel performance and how to ensure that company departments all collaborate toward successful exports. The audience learned about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and how to guard against infractions and violations when exporting “dual use” (i.e., military and civilian) goods. The path toward earning new, export revenue is made smoother through plenty of financial, educational and regulatory resources.

Early feedback indicates that attendees at this Ignite Exports event came out better prepared and more informed. We look forward to advising some of these companies in the near future!

The Great Pacific Rim Business Machine

The Pacific Rim’s confluence of commerce sits where the Southwest US meets northern Mexico. From San Diego-Tijuana to El Paso-Juarez, Pacific Rim companies gather to design and test prototypes; supply professional services; sell materials and manufacturing systems; build and assemble products; and ship goods by air, road and rail.

Every day, the people running this great machine navigate a mash-up of Asian, Latino and Anglo-European work styles and cultural norms. Are you lucky enough to be one of them? It’s a wondrous machine, one that works. And, considering the makeup of people who have built up Hong Kong and San Francisco into world capitols of commerce, that mash-up has proven to be the essence of the Pacific Rim economy.

Two dynamic organizations equip international business people to succeed in cross-cultural business. I recommend two events from their calendars that, while different in scope and intent, both serve to round out an international trade toolkit.

Cross Cultural Business Communication. Get to know the World Trade Center San Diego, to see the depth and diversity of their resources; then jump to this event page to register. WTCSD’s pedigree among the San Diego region’s international trade sector is unsurpassed, and sharing their knowledge about cross-cultural business communication is but a sample of how they work to put area companies on the map.

By the way, I’ve had some Maalox moments in cross-cultural business communication. In Tokyo, I royally botched the “bow or handshake” greeting protocol while paying a visit to an industry titan. In those fateful 3 seconds, I also dropped his business card. His look of pure disdain still lingers in my head. Gain the upper hand as a well-informed, culturally-aware business person — you can never be too informed or too prepared.

Building Manufacturing and Logistics Partnerships. If offshore manufacturing is part of your strategy for success — whether as a manufacturer or as a supplier thereof — rely upon the U.S. Commercial Service to teach you the right way to conduct business in northern Mexico. The Tijuana office invites you to attend this FREE BajaMak July 7 webinar, and they endorse the upcoming BajaMak show in Tijuana, which promises to be an influential and productive event. Don’t forget that a large percentage of companies who already build their products in northern Mexico are from Southeast Asia and the U.S., among them Samsung, Sanyo, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Daewoo, Hitachi, Hyundai, Honeywell, JVC. They need your expertise and your services.

Make this great Pacific Rim machine of ours start to work for you and your company, by polishing your communication skills and connecting with resourceful partners.

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