In a new series of posts Polish born Kamil Michlewski, Senior Consultant at The Value Engineers, looks at the big questions facing Polish brands trying to make it in the UK.
Can Polish brands seriously compete with more established brands in the UK market?
For the Polish brands to compete with the mainstream they would have to bring something distinctive and authentic to the market. There are plenty of substitute brands which would be impossible for the Polish equivalents to upstage, no matter how much was spent on research and promotion. Delicje and Tiger are just two examples of such brands. Jaffa Cakes and Red Bull – their UK equivalents – have dominant market positions and are deeply entrenched in the minds of the customers.
Kubuś, Almette and Tymbark, on the other hand, are products with distinct offers which have enough going for them (e.g. different taste/texture profile) that they could potentially cross-over into the mainstream. It would not happen by simply increasing their availability, though. Their branding and the way they connect with the British consumer would have to be looked at and modified to meet the subtlties and nuances of the UK market.
Another potentialty successful strategy to embed a Polish brand would be to follow a sizable chunk of the Polish population in the UK and determine their professional needs. For example, it is very likely that a big number of Polish tradesmen would prefer to use the Atlas range of building materials, if readily available in the UK. Rather than wasting time having to relearn what the British equivalent of certain Polish materials was, they would already know. In such circumstances their brand loyalty would be even higher in the UK than it was back in Poland! What could follow would be an increased penetration amongst the indigenous population as a result of product trial and word-of-mouth recommendations. I think this is a significant opportunity to spearhead the brand sales in the UK.
Note: Some of the questions in the series have been supplied by Monika Bodera, Managing Director of Polarity UK Limited – a Polish panel provider and a consultancy. They were part of a report put forward by Polarity UK which was covered in a Cooltura/elondon article.