IKON international Global Trade Experts
Our company is an international expert in providing innovative approach to trade and export development, mentoring and export training to companies worldwide. Through import ex


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Knowledge Exchange Training

It is amazing to go to another country not only to teach, but also to learn. All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.

Great trip, great partners!

Nataliia Hinde
Primary Market Research

Primary, or field research, is specific to your company’s needs. Information that comes directly from the source--that is, potential customers! You can compile this information yourself or hire someone else to gather it for you via surveys, focus groups, interviews and other methods.

It is very important to understand the difference between exploratory and specific types when conducting primary market research.

Exploratory research is open-ended, helps you define a specific problem, and usually involves detailed, unstructured interviews in which lengthy answers are solicited from a small group of respondents. Specific research, on the other hand, is precise in scope and is used to solve a problem that exploratory research has identified. Interviews are structured and formal in approach.

Primary research results can be extremely valuable; however, they can also be much more time-consuming and costly to gather than secondary research.

You may choose to use primary research methods once you have conducted secondary research to determine what information already exists.

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Nataliia Hinde
Types of market research: Secondary research or DESK research

There are two types of research activity: primary research (where you go out and discover stuff yourself); and secondary research (where you review what other people have done). Desk research is not about collecting data. Instead, your role as a user researcher carrying out desk research is to review previous research findings to gain a broad understanding of the field.

Secondary research tends to rely on published data and the quality of this can vary, depending which part of the world you are trying to obtain information from. In Europe, for example, the quality tends to be higher than in African and Asian markets where the information tends to be harder to collect.

Information can be sought from many different places and the cost of information varies depending on the sources. You might like to try:

·       Review existing research done by Government organisations

·       Specialised industry organisations or associations

·       Other private sources such as  banks, consultancy firms and specialised press

·       Search Google Scholar to find relevant research carried out by universities

·       International organisations' research reports, statistics and other publications (The International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Please be aware of the following challenges:

·       Unavailable data

·       Out of date data

·       Reliability of the data

·       Different definitions

These challenges, if ignored, can damage the credibility of your market research, leaving you unable to act on the results.              

Nataliia Hinde
How Does Market Research Help Brands?


In continuation from yesterday’s topic of Market Research in the second part we'd like to illustrate the importance and necessity of it through case study examples of some companies how they have changed using market research.

Apple has been the largest name in technology for years. This is not necessarily, because they are the most innovative. Instead, it is because they use market research to find out exactly what their customers want from their devices; they then figure out how to make those wants a reality.

Their “Apple Customer Pulse” research group is a prime example. Because these are online surveys, the company is able to compile and analyse the data faster, and the surveys are easy to administer, without much effort. This makes the market research more appealing to those that participate, as well as to the company.

These surveys have led to different designs and modifications of Apple products. Such modifications include having bigger screens to view videos and games more clearly.




Kellogg’s used market research to develop a counter-intuitive positioning for the cereal. Market research conducted of U.S. consumers revealed that the most important attribute when choosing a breakfast cereal was taste, followed by other factors such as wholegrain content, familiarity of flavor, fiber content and sugar content. Marketers at Kellogg’s noted that the competition was almost always highlighting usage factors.

The majority of cereals positioned themselves on health factors, such as helping to lose weight, boost fiber intake or help fight heart disease. Kellogg’s introduced Crunchy Nut using the taste angle. The product was marketed on the fact that it tasted great and entire campaigns were built around that notion. Without market research offering core insights into the needs of cereal consumers, marketers might have fallen into the trap of finding a more traditional angle to their messaging and failed to stand out in the crowd.

In order to keep on the leading edge of consumerism, businesses must be willing to listen to customers. Whether it is over the phone, mail, online, or using focus groups, there is no excuse for companies to ignore market research. Understand your market and make careful investments in product development.

Nataliia Hinde
Market Research or ‘selling ice to Eskimos’

Successful businesses worldwide periodically conduct market research in order to stay tuned to changing market trends and to retain their competitive edge. Market research is the process of collecting data to determine whether or not a particular product or service will satisfy customer’s needs. This information is essential to the success of business ventures especially those in the SME business sector.

You must have heard this adage, ‘selling ice to Eskimos’, it serves the purpose clearly here…without a market research, your business idea would also do something like this only. Market research is the important piece that helps to step back and see the big picture of how the product might fit into the marketplace. Through market research, entrepreneurs gain valuable information about industry trends, who their competitors really are, and which consumers they should target and how. Start-up entrepreneurs benefit from market research in developing, fine-tuning and enhancing their particular product or service, which ultimately leads to greater revenue through new customers.

The importance of market research can be best perceived by understanding the various factors that impact your business:

  • Market Information
  • Insight into Existing Customers
  • Customer Needs
  • Customer Behaviour Patterns
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Identify Business Opportunities
  • Resolving Business Problems
  • Accurate Business Decisions
  • Develop Business Strategies

Important to note, that market research is not supposed be a once off activity, but should be continuous activity for the overall growth of the business. Therefore, if you are looking to start a new business, launch a new product or find new markets to sell your existing products or services to, doing the proper market research is essential to being successful.

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Nataliia Hinde
Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair in Nurnberg

Great memories from one of the biggest International Toy Fair Spielwarenmesse in Nurnberg. The fair is the perfect communication and order platform for both national and international manufacturers as well as specialist traders and buyers from around the globe. The presentation of new products and comprehensive overview of the industry, which it provides, are an indispensable source of information for annual market orientation.

A considerable number of trade professionals from 123 countries are looking to invest in the sector and visit Nurnberg Toy Fair exclusively. The fair welcomes over 2800 exhibitors and 73,000 visitors in total, setting the trends for the entire year.

The Nurnberg Toy Fair brings many different sectors in one spot linking companies in a unique way. Visitors from the retail, mail order, media, services and various production sectors are present during the expo. This provides excellent opportunities to extend your business network and enrich your investment portfolio.

Nataliia Hinde
Communicate effectively through exhibitions

In a world where instant messaging, teleconferencing, Skype and email have taken over as the tools of communication, based on our extensive experience, we can surely say that face-to-face meetings and events bring businesses the highest return on investment of any marketing channel. One of the most effective ways to communicate with customers, both potential and existing, is through exhibitions.

Exhibitions can give to your business a platform where thousands of customers can purchase your products, engage with your services or simply have the opportunity to interact with the brands on a one-to-one basis. You can sell product, answer questions, overcome objections, close sales, acquire leads, demonstrate products, conduct market research, build the brands and generate publicity.

Below that a few important moments to consider when communicating at the exhibition:

  • Get people to talk about themselves first, so you know how to frame what you say about your business to suit them
  • Always have business cards
  • Be memorable for the right reasons
  • Listen to others, and show you're listening
  • Follow up with personalised emails where appropriate - but do not spam.
  • Don’t switch off because you can't sell to the person you are talking to - they'll have a network of contacts and clients who may be useful
  • Do not be scared if you happen to end up sitting next to a competitor. Talk about your differences - maybe there is a business relationship to be developed.
  • Use case studies and refer to real customers. Give context to your work. It makes it much more memorable.
  • Try not to read off a sheet. Have confidence in your business - no one knows it better than you do.

If you and your team is well prepared well in advance before the fair it is 90% of success. If you are not sure how to do it properly, contact IKON International team and we will be happy to assist.

Nataliia Hinde
IMM Exhibition in Cologne

Exhibition is one of the market entry routes to access international markets to grow and develop successful export business.

This is place where all market players come together. Here you can meet wholesalers, retailers, architect, specifiers, interior designers, agents, government agencies and many other important people.

Another successful trip to IMM Cologne, great negotiation and partnership building.

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Nataliia Hinde
Exhibition + Preparation = SUCCESS!

Every exhibition you attend requires planning and it is vital that you maximise every opportunity available to you. The more planning that you do, the more you will get out of the exhibition.

Planning ahead of the exhibition should include contacting prospects and customers prior to the exhibition starting. Any email or direct mailing you send should focus on what you will be doing at the exhibition, launching a new product for example. Your diary has to be full with appointments before you go to exhibition.

Even if you have great stand at the best location, but your staff is not fully trained and active at the event and they are not sure what they are doing it can all fall apart. Your employees on the stand are your brand and they need to be well prepared.

Above just some important elements of planning, which consume time and effort to prepare. At the whole, it is big project, but it is vital for the success of any exhibition and it will actually make your job easier once the exhibition is in full flow.

Nataliia Hinde
Importance of Exhibitions and Trade Shows

Exhibitions serve as an influential platform for companies, professionals and industry experts to come together, share information and build long-lasting business relationships. In established economies, exhibitions are a vital part of product marketing, along with direct selling, advertising, direct mail and the internet. In new and emerging markets, they serve as a major stimulus for industrial and commercial development.

Today; one of the most important problems that many companies face is that the physical distance between the producers and consumers has increased and these two groups can have limited communication with each other. Exhibition can bring producer and consumers together in today’s market circumstances, involve the purchaser and sales person together and create a mutual and face-to-face relation between these groups.

In the exhibitions, the companies have a stand in the same area with many of their rivals from the sector, sometimes even in front of or next to their rivals. Therefore, they get the chance to observe their rivals. Thus, they can perform very important researches for collecting information on the sector such as observing the current status of the rival, following the relations between the rival companies and the customers, their attitude towards customers and their working methods.

Besides its benefits that listed above, exhibition organisations can create important results and acquisitions for the companies in several points such as:

·       Supporting sales activities

·       Identifying new customer groups

·       Increasing profitability

·       Expanding distribution

·       New representatives

·       Finding dealers

·       Evaluating the success of a new product in the market

·       Evaluating the acceptability of the products thought to be presented to the market, developing media relations

·       Developing research and sales activities by information share

·       Evaluating exportation opportunities, etc.

As a result, we can say that commercial expertise exhibition is one of the most important elements that increases the efficiency of integrated marketing communication process and will be one of the most used communication and sale tool by the companies.

The question is whether you know how to be prepared to the trade show/exhibition in order to get all the benefits and increase sales or not. In this case, preparation is the key to success!

Nataliia Hinde
Director of the Year Awards

When you know how to do your job and also impact community and voluntary sector with proper things it makes you feel fantastic! It's too easy to think we're doing well enough because our intentions are good. We must focus on maximising impact.

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Nataliia Hinde
Importance of Training and Development for SMEs

In today’s competitive business environment, the capabilities and skills of employees are fundamental requirements for continuous productivity, innovation and success in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

According to John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems: 'Speed of change is on steroids, what used to happen in 10 to 15 years now happens in three to five.’ Therefore, it is vital for SMEs to have access to training programmes that educate them and their staff on how they can improve their business and successfully run their companies up-to-date.

Within this rapidly changing scenario, exporters in developing countries seeking international markets are limited by a number of challenges.  Support services provided by national agencies, both public and private, often go unnoticed or remain underutilised. The result is that these exporters often find it difficult to export successfully and consistently. Most adopt a traditional, product-focused approach, receiving an order, fulfilling it and then closing the sale. This approach may work in the short term, but too often leaves the exporter at the mercy of price competition with little room for differentiation. On this basis, even when an exporter succeeds at market entry, it is unable to maintain a long-term presence.

IKON International aids exporters to become more competitive and provides opportunities to participate in global value chains. To be competitive, SME exporters need a coherent, forward-looking business strategy and must improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the reputation of their products. The result is that small enterprises are better prepared to enter international markets.

Please contact us for more information and we will be happy to assist!

Nataliia Hinde
Merry Christmas and Happy New 2018!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New to all our friends, colleagues, partners and families!!!

We wish you and your loved ones a warm and joyful Christmas period and only the best for 2018!

As we step into this New Year, may it bring new business opportunities, new markets and strong relationships.

Keep doing everything with dedication, passion and confidence to catch the opportunities and success!

Nataliia Hinde
Export Training Programme

Ikon International designed exciting Export programme that make a real difference to businesses in any sector worldwide. This training is the perfect opportunity for business owners, top managers or export directors to step out of the day to day running of the business and focus on how to improve and grow it using export techniques and tools. 

If you want to develop your business and achieve prosperity through the EXPORT, then you have to contact us!

Nataliia Hinde

IKON International представляет вашему вниманию уникальный тренинг разработанный в Великобритании для компаний малого и среднего бизнеса по всему миру по созданию конкурентоспособного, финансово устойчивого экспортного бизнеса.

Если вы хотите развить свой бизнес, и добиться процветания за счет СИСТЕМНОГО ПОДХОДА В ЭКСПОРТЕ, тогда вам к нам!

Nataliia Hinde
2018 Planning

A goal without a plan is just a wish! The strategic planning is crucial step as in private life, so in business. Therefore, we have important tradition in our company every year in December to meet and plan a year ahead!

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Nataliia Hinde
Export Forum in Belarus

Great “Export Forum” event was hold yesterday at IBB Hotel Minsk, Belarus. During the event were presented inspiring speakers and great business cases. So many opportunities for Belorussian companies to start exporting or to develop their export strategy further. Good start for our Belarus-UK business relationships. We are glad to promote and extend trade, finance and industry relations between UK & Belarus.

Nataliia Hinde