Archive for April, 2010

#64 Donuts for Russia!

Friday, April 30th, 2010

donutAs the Wall Street Journal reports, Dunkin Donuts is returning to Russia. After it has retreated from the market in 1999, the owner of the Dunkin’ Donut brand, Dunkin’ Brands, is planning to open 20 stores in Russia this year. At the time when then owner Allied Domecq decided after only three years in the market that Russia would not work for their brand, there were two Dunkin’ Donut stores in Moscow and three outside. The official reason has been Russia’s economic crisis, but there was also talk about difficult relationships with franchisees (in particular one who sold liquor and meat pies in addition to Dunkin’ products). There may have been at least one more reason – at least according to the Wall Street Journal, Russians aren’t really familiar with donut’s. In recognition of this, Dunkin will be experimenting with scalded cream and raspberry fillings. Plus, this time they are bringing in a lot of Russia expertise – Dunkin’ is teaming with a Russian real-estate developer. What’s also noteworthy is that Dunkin’s CEO, Nigel Travis, has developed the Russian market for another US brand in the past, Papa John’s.

#63 Cheat Sheets for Doing Business Abroad

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

airmailHere’s an interesting list of “100 Essential Cheat Sheets for Doing Business Abroad”, ranging from ‘food faux pas’ to ‘dress codes’ to ‘negotiations across cultures’. Not all of it offers the deepest insight available, but it’s definitely a good place to start.

#62 Dancing around the volcano

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

ForG_3620Having been in Iceland during the most recent eruptions of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland has been an interesting experience, even with a view to international strategy. Academics and managers have come so accustomed to being in control that the only thing we worry anymore are issues that may be tricky, but still are manageable. Standardize or adapt? Send expatriates or promote locals? Export or invest? Most answers to these questions aren’t easy ones, but there are ways to handle them. Enter the volcano. Apart from it being a belittling experience if one sees the volcano spewing boulders, it is definitely worth a thought to bring the simple things back into the design of international strategies. Let’s not forget that there are events beyond our control that render any strategy, no matter how well designed useless.

#61 Tata and Land Rover

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

TataJaguarLandRoverInspired by the recently announced sale of Volvo to Zhejiang Geely by Ford Motor, I tried to find out what’s happening to British Jaguar Land Rover that has been acquired by Tata Motors of India in 2008. Well, the news has been mixed. In fall 2009, Tata Motors has announced plans to close one of two Jaguar Land Rover factories in England by 2014. This didn’t seem surprising for ailing car brands. It made even more sense when the year-end results showed a loss of $565 million. Most recently however, in March 2010, the US magazine BusinessWeek reported that sales are picking up and Tata’s luxury division has even turned a profit of $141 million in the most recent quarter. New executives have been hired away from GM and BMW, so everything looks good. This will certainly be a transnational acquisition that continues to be of interest.