Trade promotion organisations (TPOs) from over 20 European countries discussed good practice in assisting SMEs finding export markets, as well as building a country brand and using technology to support exporters during the two-day meeting hosted by Enterprise Ireland.
The 86th meeting of the European Trade Promotion Organisations (ETPO) Working Group was held in Dublin, Ireland between the 26th and 27th of September. The working group meets twice a year and is intended as a platform for TPOs to share best practices and experience in areas such as information systems, digital media, market research, and trade information.
The hosts, Enterprise Ireland, opened the conference by sharing insights on their most current initiatives and pressing issues. The presentations covered topics such as exporter development, international marketing and communications, support for companies with their online presence, and GDPR. With the UK being a critical market for Ireland, the Brexit situation is being considered as a huge challenge for Irish exporters. Enterprise Ireland explained how they are helping local companies to prepare for the possibility of a no deal Brexit.
One of the main topics discussed was country branding, with TPOs from Estonia, Norway, Latvia, Iceland, and Portugal presenting highlights from their nation-wide export and brand strategies. Nation branding allows countries to build a specific brand position by focusing on important local economic sectors and resources to enhance their globalisation efforts and increase exports. Some of the unique selling points mentioned included sustainable solutions, innovation and technology, specialised foods and natural products, and cultural and creative industries.
Other discussions tackled some stimulating topics, such as internal employer brand building, optimising the customer journey, and exploring the potential of AI (artificial intelligence) for improved service delivery.
TradeMalta was represented by Joe Schembri and Josianne Vella. The next ETPO Working Group meeting will be held in Greece in May 2020.