23 (118) 2016
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Why successful exporting is a long-term commitment – the LG Harris story

by Konrad Kubacki, business services manager, BPCC Trade
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Over the past two years, BPCC Trade has been working closely with LG Harris & Co Ltd to help this company enter the Polish market.

LG Harris is a leading British manufacturer of a wide range of paintbrushes and decorating tools famous for quality, innovation and design, coupled with great-value prices. The company successfully supplies millions of decorators around the world and proudly holds the Royal Warrant for product excellence.

Recognising how difficult entering a foreign market could be, including overcoming language barriers and identifying key contacts, BPCC Trade worked with LG Harris to find the best route to market strategy and helped open doors to the right buyers in the market. But our support did not stop there. Exporting is a long-term commitment; finding the right partner is only the first step to success. And LG Harris, an experienced exporter, understood this perfectly. It took over a year and numerous market visits to build a network of direct and indirect contacts, setting the stage for introducing the company’s products into the market.

To build sales, an exporter must invest in raising his profile in the market. To achieve this, LG Harris and BPCC Trade joined forces with Binaria Communications, a local PR and Marketing Agency, and undertook the mission of creating a brand awareness strategy. The first step was to launch a dedicated Harris website in Polish. Hubert Zawadzki, Director of Binaria, explains this in further detail: “In developing our communication strategy we decided first to ask for feedback representatives of our target audience. We have conducted many one-to-one interviews and found out the most important feature they look for in a perfect paintbrush: no bristle loss. This finding was a key to our communications campaign and creating key visual and other marketing materials, including design of L G Harris & Co. Ltd stand at the Budma fair in Poznañ, where the Polish launch was planned to take place.”

Harris products were presented at the 2016 Budma trade fair in Poznañ, which included the world premier of the newest Express range. The main theme ‘Royal Quality of Painting’ and ‘You will loose your hair sooner’ (than a Harris brush), has attracted great interest for the trade fair participants. Hubert Zawadzki concludes: “Our communication strategy has generated a very heavy traffic to L G Harris & Co. Ltd stand at the Budma fair held in the beginning of February in Poznañ. The visitors included new business leads and professional decorators as well as journalists, who provided coverage both on TV (including live broadcast) and in print. The very first stage of launching the Harris brand in the Polish market has been concluded. Now, there is more to come: increasing brand awareness and sales figures with the next stages of the communication campaign.”

LG Harris products will hit store shelves in March and Polish consumers will shortly be able to join the global community that has been enjoying these high quality paintbrushes and paint accessories. This was possible as a result of the close and long-term relationship BPCC Trade has built with LG Harris, providing support in all stages of the market entry process.

“Based on the experience that we’ve had with the BPCC, I would not only advise other companies to use them to gain market entry, it’s almost a must!”
- Nigel Gardiner-Harvey, Lynwood Divisional Manager UK & Export

The LG Harris story allows us to highlight the importance of long-term planning when undertaking a market-entry journey. Exporting is never a quick one-off deal; building a presence in market can take months or years. Identifying a relevant local partner is only the first step in a process that will require time and resources to develop. A company must be open to discussions and negotiations with a number of potential partners, as ironing out the details can be a lengthy process and will not always lead to a successful conclusion. This will require travelling to the target country on numerous occasions, initially with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the market (a great way to optimise a visit is to participate in relevant trade events, which can give hands-on knowledge about the market, competition, and a chance to meet businesses), and further into the process, visiting to build and strengthen business relationships.

Having established a presence, an exporter must be persistent and flexible in adapting the offer to the local market. Working with a local partner to help raise the brand profile and build sales is often a key factor behind successful market-entry. This includes traditional actions such as sales promotions, or translation of a website and marketing materials, and also might require preparing a market-specific campaign that will be attractive to the local consumer.

Although there’s no one clear recipe for success in exporting to a new market, a comprehensive long-term approach that takes into consideration the lessons described above can greatly improve an exporter’s chances. If you’re interested in exporting to Poland and would like to discuss how we can help you in this process, please get in touch!

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