As part of our “UK Market Entry Index” project, the team at Rochester PR Group surveyed Turkish professionals to find out about their attitudes towards international expansion—particularly in relation to the UK market.
The majority of the survey’s respondents are founders, c-suite level executives or employees directly involved in international sales. Most of the businesses the respondents represent operate in the tech and/or financial services industries.
On the whole, Turkish companies are ambitious when it comes to expanding into international markets. Turkey tops the list of countries whose business owners have a global outlook for their brand from the beginning.
In fact, 97% of respondents in Turkey stated that their vision for their company has always been “global rather than local”, compared with just over 50% in Australia.
Respondents are also of the opinion that the UK/Ireland is the second most entrepreneurial country after the US, suggesting that they perceive it to be a viable market that is worth serious consideration.
Bearing in mind the sectors the survey’s respondents operate in, it’s easy to understand why the UK holds such an appeal.
UK is leading the way in tech & finance
The UK tech sector enjoyed a record-breaking 2019 from the perspective of investment, which soared to £10.1 billion, representing a £3.1 billion increase on the previous years’ already impressive figures according to UKTN’s 2020 projections for the tech sector.
“Access to capital, investment and global talent” also make London the second best tech ecosystem in the world after Silicon Valley, according to Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020.
What’s more, the UK has been the number one location for Financial Services FDI for two decades, attracting 99 financial services investment projects in 2019. Despite taking second place, Germany attracted 43 projects, reveals EY’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey for Financial Services.
Omar Ali, UK Financial Services Managing Partner at EY, says: “The UK has again performed strongly on Financial Services FDI and, crucially, should remain in a good position to continue attracting investment this year, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and a weaker economy.”
Access to a large customer base & talent network
We also asked businesses based in Turkey about what makes the UK a particularly attractive market. Approximately 20% of respondents cited “English as an international business language” as their top reason, followed by access to a “large customer base” (~19%).
Reasons the UK market is attractive to Turkish businesses:
1: English as an international business language (20%)
2: its large customer base (19%)
3: its time zone (13%)
4: its large talent pool (13%)
5: ease of setting up a business (13%)
6: the UK as a stepping-stone to other international markets (12%)
7: its multi-cultural consumer base (10%)
In terms of the main challenges facing Turkish businesses in the UK; “Understanding the business culture/way of doing things” takes centre stage (55%), followed by “lack of contacts” (49%) and “competition against brands with a stronger local presence” (45%).
“The marketing world is moving on from the old era of globalization, wherein brands relied on a push and pull model and primarily ignored the receiving culture when entering a new market and moving towards a networked organization. This new breed of organization thrives on recognizing patterns of difference around the world and seeks to actively enrich the cultures it touches.”
– Truth About Global Brands, McCann
When asked about what Turkish businesses should do to prepare to launch in the UK, 60% said “seek local professional advice”, 54% opted for “conduct market research/attended trade shows” and a further 51% selected “employ local talent”.
Turkey-based business owners looking to enter the UK market should consider getting local advice or create a strategy to let people know that they are ready to do business in the UK. Through no fault of their own many of the companies we see looking to enter the UK market come with misconceptions based on what worked in their home country and/or other markets they have successfully entered before coming to the UK. Be that a route to market, visual identity, target audience focus or key message. Like all countries, the UK is unique and many of its quirks are implied rather than actually articulated. Therefore, things can be missed by even the most extensive due diligence research. Our clients tell us that there is nothing better than the on the ground insights we can impart.
Establishing a network and forging connections is also key. Many of the UK’s best trade shows and industry conferences are taking place on the virtual stage this year, making them much more accessible to international businesses.
It is also important to understand what drives UK consumers when it comes to what customers in the UK look for in brands, Deloitte’s Retail Trends 2020 report is a good place to start.
“An authentic purpose is now as important as digital to the next generation of customers. Brands that have a cause have more meaning in the eyes of consumers. As retailers start putting purpose at the core of their business, they will have to rethink what they stand for and define the commercial model required to deliver it.”
– Retail Trends 2020, Deloitte
COVID-19 has prompted more employers to embrace flexible working practices on an unprecedented scale. Nevertheless, it is worth recognising that this was a priority for candidates prior to the pandemic, and as such should be built into international business’ longer-term UK recruitment plan.
What do Turkish businesses look forward to most?
Our research also reveals that the “people” and the “lifestyle”, both chosen by 60% of respondents, are the two things Turkish businesses who are planning to enter the UK market are looking forward to the most.
Unsurprisingly, the “British weather” comes in at last place!
Turkish companies looking for practical information on setting up a business in the UK, as well as some sound general business advice, are encouraged to download Rochester PR Group’s free ‘UK Market Entry Advice Booklet’.
The comprehensive resource is full of advice, tips and antidotes and is a great first step towards success in the UK. Download it for free here.