Marketing International Business: Branding, Communications, and Relationships

You are the New Business Development Manager for a large UK – based food and drink company that imports and sells coffee through its numerous retail outlets. Your imported sales line consists of a variety of coffee beans (ready for home grinding), ready ground coffee, and instant coffee.

Some months ago it was decided that your current supplier in Costa Rica would have to be changed as there were a variety of problems that had led to an irretrievable break – down of the relationship. A review of the partnership concluded that your personnel had insufficient knowledge of the linguistic and cultural aspects of dealing with your supplier, and this is had resulted in a variety of problems, contributing significantly to a lack of trust, and ultimately to the break- down.

Consequently, the MD is to seek a new supplier for your current range of products – the basic requirements will not change, and have already been agreed with a potential supplier in Bogotá, Colombia. You and your team are due to Colombia next month to visit this supplier, and look at their operations, premises, and speak to some of their other – domestic – customers. However, in view of the breakdown of the previous relationship, the MD has asked you to prepare a report in which you detail the cultural and linguistic requirements of working with Colombian companies. Based on this, you are to suggest how you might best go about ensuring that the relationship develops over the long term. This report will then be passed to your HR department, so that they may devise an appropriate training schedule for those who are likely to be involved in the development of this relationship.


1. Written Report
Your group are to prepare a group written report, of no more than 2,500 words (excluding references), based on your presentation, and incorporating any comments from the Board of Directors that may be suggested at your presentation.

The written report should indicate (on the cover page) the contribution by each member of the group. Your written report will be divided into the following sections:

A) The various stages through which a relationship is likely to progress, and your objectives at each stage (30% of marks)
B) The variables (factors) that you consider important at each of these stages (30% of marks)
C) The cultural and linguistic requirements necessary (in Colombia) for the establishment and maintenance of the relationship over the long term (30% of marks)
D) Referencing and presentation (10% of marks).

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