Putting in the hard yards for the Islands

20/01/2015

Jeremy Grennell is <b>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest</b> (<b>PT&amp;I</b>) Australia’s Export Services Manager for just over three years.  <b>Pacific Periscope</b> asked the expat Kiwi living in Sydney for some insight into working for the Pacific. <!--more-->Here are Jeremy’s thoughts on working with <b>PT&amp;I</b>:

Jeremy’s background has been in fast moving consumer goods where he worked in several multinationals in sales and marketing roles. “ I have also worked in the Australian wine industry for over 11 years in Global Sales and Marketing roles. Looking after 20+ markets ranging from Asia, Europe and North America as well as the Pacific Islands gave me great experience where I can help Pacific Island exporters find the right route to market in Australia so they can build their sales and brands.”

[caption id="attachment_6803" align="alignleft" width="105"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/tphoto11.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-6803" alt="Jeremy" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/tphoto11.jpg" width="105" height="146" /></a> Jeremy Grennell - PT&amp;I Australia’s Export Services Manager[/caption]
<p style="text-align: center;">Jeremy says he likes the diversity of products and the Pacific island people that he works with, who are passionate about their products and wants to build their business and boost their country’s economy. “Taking a niche high value product like sea grapes and launching it at Fine Food Australia last year and watching the incredible interest that a product like this generated at the event is very satisfying and can lead the way for other exporters to enter the Australian market.”</p>
Jeremy says running the Pacific Path to Market exporter workshops with his colleagues from other <b>PT&amp;I</b> offices was a fulfilling experience. The team met in country with diverse exporters or potential exporters who presented to them the challenges of their individual markets. “Being able to add value to their individual businesses over the two-day workshop, to share our knowledge and input into the marketing strategies is a powerful experience,” he adds.

Australia is a big sophisticated market.  Jeremy believes in order to compete and get product on the shelf, the packaging of the product has to be impactful, really stand out from the crowd and tell a story. “A lot of exporters wish to sell coconut oil but unless they can have a point of difference from the 50+ brands already on the market they will not get in.”

Communication is another challenge he says.  “Pacific exporters need to be upfront about their capability and what they can send to this market. Accepting an order and not advising the customer that they cannot supply it lets the whole Pacific region down.”

To deal with the challenges Jeremy says he likes to drill down into the exporter’s business to get an understanding of their company, their production capability and their marketing strategy and what customer base that they will be targeting in the Australian market. With email and the internet it is quite easy to show them examples of products that are working in this market so they can get an idea of their competitor set and how they compare to what is already on the shelf.

His best project of 2014 was working with the Fijian company that exports the sea grapes – a unique product in really great packaging. “I firmly believe that high value niche products are the way to go for the Pacific.  I was successful in getting a number of products placed with distributors and retailers in 2014. To be able to add value that way for Pacific Island exporters is why I love coming to work every day.”

Sydney and the other <b>PT&amp;I</b> offices is again running the Pacific Path to Market Exporter workshops in Samoa and Tonga this year. Fine Food Australia will be in Sydney this year and it will be the fifth year that <b>PT&amp;I</b> has helped Pacific food and beverage exporters participate in this event.

Jeremy was born and educated in Canterbury, New Zealand. Though a Sydney resident now, he still supports the All Blacks but wavered a bit when Robbie Deans was coach of the Wallabies.