(a) The background of a problem
Two Rivers Coffee based in New Jersey, USA http://tworiversco.com/ makes popular American products such as Brooklyn Bean coffee, Tootsie Roll hot cocoa, And Prospect Tea in single serve pods for the Keurig* Brewers. Founded in 2012, Two Rivers Coffee has become a pioneer in introducing Keurig-compatible filtered single serve coffee cups to market.
In the US and Canada their products can be found in over 10 thousand stores and many of their products are already exported to parts of Asia such as South Korea.
To expand their presence in the new market, Two Rivers Coffee from USA decided to exhibit at Foodex Japan 2016 (8-11th March 2016 at Makuhari Messe Chiba, Japan). It is the biggest food and beverage trade show held in Japan.
*Keurig is mainly the US and Canada market. Nespresso is the leader in single serve in Asia, Europe and other regions. Currently in Japan, UCC is licensed to market single serve pods for Keurig Brewers.
(b) The problem itself
The show was fast approaching but there were a number of tasks to deal with in Japan before/during/after the show that were too difficult to manage from the East Coast of the US.
The exhibition services department at the convention center did not speak English. The company wanted to ship brochures, literature, the badge etc to someone in Japan. There were also some items that would have to be purchased in Japan, such as sugar packets, coffee creamer, stirrers, paper cups, napkins, power cord and extension cord that are cheaper to source locally than ship them and would have trouble hand-carrying thru the Japan customs. The coffee brewers that work with the Japanese voltage requirements were essential and this could only be bought in Japan. The setup of the show was on Monday March 7th. However due to the business commitments and uncertainty of the flights arrival time, a number of deadlines could be missed on the set up day. Last of all, the plan was to abandon all samples and products at the conclusion of the expo, this is because of the complexity and the cost involved in carrying everything back home.
Then they found Masaya the director of Masa Consulting International via a website.
(c) A plan for solving the problem
Masa Consulting International proposed that they act as Business Development Manager for overseas companies. This is their main stream of business. It is not just about hiring an interpreter/translator. They are international business developers that not only handing out company brochures, samples, and writing down leads but also speak proper business language in Japanese and follow up leads from the base in Osaka. Using their base, they could receive and store goods before and after the show.
(d) The application of the solution
It is agreed that Masa Consulting International would:
Liaise with the organizer and arrange necessities before the show
Receive goods in Japan to set up at the booth
Hand out brochures, samples, and writing down leads during the show
Be an interpreter for the staff to communicate with visitors/organizers etc
Arrange pick up for all samples and products left behind after the show
Follow-up leads after the show in Japan if the leads had potential
(e) The result
All materials needed to be purchased in Japan are sorted beforehand either dispatched or arranged to be delivered right to the booth on 7th the set up day.
On the set up day, all deliveries received on time. A product of choice was handed over to the show organizer for display in the new product show case. Press releases with booth number stamped about 30 copies were delivered to the press room.
During the busy full 4-day show, there were importers visited interested in handling the products and also many retailers came and demanded that they needs to be informed immediately once the importer is assigned.
Press came to take the photos of the products. They read the press release that was created.
The design of the products caught eyes of the Japanese visitors that even if they do not have Keurig machines they wanted to display the products for the design match the concept of their stores/cafes.
Beans from South America (Brazil mostly), roasted in NY, and packaged in New Jersey appealed big since made in USA products have popularity and now very rare.
After the show, all the materials and equipment were removed. Local courier picked up goods off the booth and sent back to Masa Consulting International’s office. With kept business cards, brochures, big banners, etc., Masa Consulting International is ready to attend any trade show in Japan.