|Inglot's nail polish is a hit in the Middle East|
Courtesy of Inglot
Poland continues to increase its exports year after year, and the success is being led by Polish food products. Prince Polo wafers, Winiary mayonnaise, Jutrzenka candy, Dawtona cucumbers, Tymbark juices and Lajkonik breadsticks are flying off the shelves in the UK, the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) boasts. Tesco’s “Taste of Poland” campaign put 75 new Polish food products on the British menu.
Total Polish food exports to the UK reached E1 billion in November last year, a 19.3 percent rise year-on-year, according to data from Poland’s Economy Ministry. A quarter of Poland’s total produce goes abroad. That’s a threefold increase since Poland joined the EU in 2004.
But the results aren’t the effect of a particularly good marketing strategy. Instead, the rising food exports to the UK are the effect of a weak złoty, a growing demand for cheaper products, as well as an appetite for native tastes within the Polish community living there. But it’s clear that Polish foodstuffs are among the most internationally recognizable Polish brands.
Other “made in Poland” products that have managed to gain ground abroad include furniture, chemical products, cosmetics, software, and even yachts. Exports of Polish cosmetics rose to zł.7.6 billion last year, a 5 percent increase y/y, with Inglot leading the way.
The Przemyśl-based cosmetics manufacturer’s rich assortment of blushes, nail polishes and lipsticks is available in over 300 stores in 46 countries on six continents, from Ukraine to Malaysia, Lebanon and Argentina. The company recently opened its first flagship store in New York.
Geographically bold but stingy on marketing, Inglot’s expansion strategy relies solely on a franchise model with own-brand retail outlets in shopping malls. It seems to work: with 40 percent of its revenues coming from exports, Inglot is a record-setter among Polish companies selling abroad.
Other cosmetics producers are following suit. Oceanic exports its AA toiletries line to 25 countries, including Ukraine and the US. Dr. Irena Eris Cosmetic Laboratories, whose merchandise debuted on the US market in 1989, now sells hundreds of products in 30 countries (primarily Ukraine, Germany and Asia). Other companies that have already built strong brands at home, such as Ziaja and Dax Cosmetics, are planning further foreign expansion too.
Showcasing the “made in Poland” label may not always be a good marketing tactic, though, especially for Polish companies in hi-tech industries.
“Having Polish roots might be an obstacle rather than advantage for innovative companies in the hi-tech or the medical sector,” said Piotr Żółkiewicz, vice president and CFO at MEDICALgorithmics, a mobile arrhythmia diagnostic technology provider. The company’s PocketECG device is used by several hundred medical centers in the US, where the firm earns more than 90 percent of its revenue.
“Poland’s innovative technologies have yet to become universally recognized, so you have to work twice as hard to convince potential partners that you are better than your competitors,” said Mr Żółkiewicz.
The Ministry of Economy recently carried out a survey on brand awareness and the perception of Poland’s products abroad as part of a new program for Polish brand promotion. The results were disheartening. Among the associations that German businesspeople, for example, came up with when asked about Poland were: dental services, cheap spas, vodka, sausages, amber, Polish car dealers and the Smolensk plane crash.
|Despite its problems, LOT is still one of the strongest Polish brands|
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
With the exception of (troubled national airline) LOT and (vodka brand) Żubrówka, they were unable to name any Polish company or brand.
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