Brand Ideas

Unstable Foreign Grounds for Pakistani Brands

big angry boss screaming at small startled worker

big angry boss screaming at small startled worker

Why Pakistani brands so far have failed miserably to find acceptance in other countries? The answer is very long. But primarily ground is very unstable for Pakistani brands, marred by unstable governments’ policies, foreign-exchange problems, corruption, and lack of technological advancements. Besides, the local companies have no will to internationalize their operations.
The local companies’ lack of enthusiasm is the direct results of their own fallacies, which are strongly based on their incompetencies and running the organisation on “force-fitting” dictator basis rather than well defined marketing management.
The irony is that many local marketing companies even do not have marketing departments; in fact, they still in believe that sales and marketing is the same. No idea of marketing objectives and they are happy with sales ratio. Indeed, a big, big, big mistake!
Moreover, these companies are of the view that research and development is nothing but waste of money and failed to understand that as many countries are eliminating foreign competition through protective legislation, the better way to compete is to continuously improve products at home and expand into foreign markets.
Performing in other countries to flourish brands means utmost marketing understanding as global competition is intensifying in more product categories as new firms make their mark on the international stage. Competition from is heating up to new level.
The problem with Pakistani companies that they have no mechanism upon deciding to go abroad; they have no capabilities to define their international marketing objectives and policies. In absence of such mechanism they have no clue to take crucial decisions whether to market in a few or many countries and rate candidate countries on three criteria: market attractiveness, risk, and competitive advantage.
It is a lesson to learn that developing countries offer a unique set of opportunities and risks. The “BRICS” countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—plus other significant markets such as Indonesia are a top priority for many global firms.
There are very weak modes for the Pakistani companies to enter foreign markets by indirect exporting, direct exporting, licensing, joint ventures, and direct investment. By virtue of scrawny methods, which have required succeeding strategy entails more commitment, risk, control, and profit potential.
In deciding how much to adapt their marketing programs at the product level, firms in Pakistan are widely reluctant to pursue a strategy of straight extension, product adaptation, or product invention. At the communication level, their failure to choose communication adaptation or dual adaptation is further redundant. At the price level, firms are encountering price escalation, dumping, gray markets, and discounted counterfeit products. At the distribution level, firms are yet to understand strategically that they need to take a whole-channel view of distributing products to the final users. Local firms are far away to consider the cultural, social, political, technological, environmental, and legal limitations they face in other countries.


  • Faizan Mahmood

    The article pretty much sums up all the issues for the Pakistani brands in the foreign market perfectly. Organisations have no intention to go beyond their limits due to lack of so many basic operations, marketing one’s product is the key element to survive in the foreign market which sadly Pakistani brands miss out on including so many others.

  • Mohsin Azhar

    Some of the main problems faced by Pakistani brands are highlighted above. Problems which hold back these brands to go in international market. It would be interesting to dig deeper into this study and explore different Pakistani brands in different industries who have the potential to go abroad but they don’t-due to these limitations. While also shedding light on some of the brands who have been a little successful in crossing local boundaries.

  • Muhammad Sanaan

    Proper segmentation of functional departments is way too necessary , where our local industries need to concentrate. No brand can make its place in international market if it isn’t positioned on point of differences. End user/ Consumer of international markets is more educated and smarter . Without risk there can be no growth and this is something our local firms need to understand.

  • Ahmed Khan Babar

    Totally agree with the article . Some Pakistani companies that tried to go abroad for their business were miserably failed owing to the above mentioned facts . Unstable governments’ policies, foreign-exchange problems, corruption, and lack of technological advancements ,surely are the problems that are the cause of Pakistani companies failure in abroad .

  • Namra Nadeem

    Companies here are trapped in the web of “Seith Culture” which does not allow them to step out of their comfort zone to achieve something extraordinary and long term. They believe in the monetary stats only and are not willing to explore more and new grounds for growth due to their risk-averse nature and lack of vision.

  • Muntaha Muhammad Azhar Sheikh

    Totally agree with the idea. Pakistani brands lag behind greatly owing to the incongruity in their knowledge and not complying with the changing market trends and scenarios. And its absurd how they restrict to boundaries and do not want to excel beyond it which is portrayed in their immature marketing plans.

  • Abdul Rehman

    Agree with the above article but the local industry could only afford the available level of technology and managerial skills in the country, like we may produce Addidas Footballs for World cup but there aint much developed skills in our country to develop a respectable brand of our own, but the managers now in Pakistan are getting more skilled and we will definitely see improved penetration in Int’l markets through well thought off brands!

  • Ezaaz Waseem

    Very well crafted article from an expert I had the honour to study under but I would like to add a few things with my limited knowledge of the subject and even more limited insight about brands of Pakistan in foreign markets.
    The food additives (Masalas) are one of the few export products that have brand like significance amongst a certain niche. In Middle East and Canada there are households from Paksitani and Indian origin that buy these products but then again calling it a trans-national brand would be unjust. It is imperative to realize that brands are not limited to a habit but brands make people change their habits hence we must accept that our companies have failed to create a name in international market and many have even died in local markets after a few successful years. This defines a mindset of being complacent instead of being innovative!

    • Wajeeh Ul Hassan Syed

      I agree with Ezaaz but I know few brands operating Nationwide and internationally as well and they are doing good in these markets. I agree with the article itself but I beg to differ that it cannot be made universal for all local companies in Pakistan. Yes, it is the dilemma of Pakistani companies that they know nothing about marketing and even their marketing departments outsource their work to advertisement agencies. They are not yet at the level to understand that brand not only serve the needs but brands also create needs. Also, the companies do not know how to create brand values and how to drive these values internationally. But as starters, they are marking footprints abroad. Khaadi in UAE, USA, Australia and much more, National Foods in the USA, HBL in more than 29 countries, Salt n Pepper in London, Chen One in UAE even Student Biryani in Oman Canada and Abdu Dhabi are the few prominent one.
      Still, there is a long way to go for these companies but they had initiated to embark their presence.


    Consistently we appear to make another ‘worst place in the world” and as luck would have it, Pakistan is reliably in the top 10. Many reasons why we can not make a position in international market are mentioned above and if we want to make it work then we need to go with the flow, adapt to their culture and work on point of differentiation & point of parity.

  • M. Usman Jamil

    Totally agree with this article. Companies are majorly sales oriented. They should work hard on branding. Another major issue with Pakistan which I think is that Pakistan lacks major marketing and branding degrees in universities. A change is required at national level. There are minimal professionals in field of branding and advertising. Students at university level are not taught about how to brand their own businesses rather universities teach students how to be a good manager.

  • Haider Ali

    agree with, we have to overcome these things to get a space in international market.i think one reason of failure is some Pakistani brands not even know the word of customer and Pakistani brands always think that a customer is dependent on us, we are not dependent on them.

  • Salman

    The article discusses about the “unstable grounds for pakistani brands”. i want to highlight here the part “Brands” where we actually lag. Pakistani products whether processed material or finished goods, they have much much potential and they are performing well abroad but unfortunately with the name of other companies. like potato and rice exports are big contributors for our exports but they are being managed by giving them indian names or other names, for example lajwanti rice a famous rice brand in middle east is being exported from Gujranwala area rice mills.
    Different sectors like textile,apparel, orthopedic implants, carpets and furniture industry are successfully producing according to the foreign standards and demands but they again lack in branding. They have no names of their own.
    One have to agree with the writer that there are many factors for immature branding like, low budgets for R&D, unawareness of developments in social, political, economical and legal scenarios across the globe and most importantly a lack of will on the part of governments which is neither finding markets for their products nor educating them. Although we are still boasting on exporting War Tanks, riffles and our best army to the third world countries as a product. in my view point it is just a reason of bad priority settings by the state which has resulted in this big disparity, where we have produced atomic bombs successfully but failed to produce a small needle.

  • Hamza Rafiq

    Pakistani companies lack the foresight and the ambition to penetrate into international markets. As we all know, the line between marketing and sales is extremely blurred in Pakistan. As the competition is increasing, local brands will have to come up with disruptive and innovative marketing strategies if they want to leave a mark but sadly, they lack the basic understanding of what marketing stands for.

  • Tanveer Ahmad

    A well made article about the failure of Pakistani brands in international market.
    A major issue as depicted by the article is lack of proper marketing management.
    As marketing is directly associated with product innovation and design.
    Pakistani brands do not take it in that way due to which these brands could not be able
    to design product according to customer needs and wants.
    And innovator is the leader of market. But Pakistani brands do not consider it.

  • M. Ghalib Raza

    Pakistan is still an under developed country striving hard to excel in many fields. One of the major problems is lack of education and due to that most people lack vision. About 60 percent of our population still living below the poverty line which means they’re earning less than Rs. 5000 per month. Basic issues like water-supply, electricity supply, safe environment to live in still lacks a lot let alone local brands expanding abroad. Although Pakistan has improved a lot over the last few years but it still needs to improve drastically. Vicious cycle of poverty keeps people poor and expensive education system hinders people from having quality education. The government policies to promote local businesses or prevent competition from abroad are not effective enough to result in positive out comes. To sum it up, all the basic problems have been summed up in the article but the overall situation of the country determines the success of businesses directly.

  • Iqra Rasheed

    Not only that but the consumers’ perception of the local brands is very disparaging itself hence exalting the power of international brands in Pakistan owing to which the local taste is gradually dying domestically. Keeping this in point, the local brands somehow have embedded the idea of “complexity in their minds” and they knowingly resist going global with the fear of death altogether internationally as well. They believe they cannot elevate their brand image to such that it stands out globally. So regardless of the macro factors entwined with the turbulence created for the local brands, it is partly the inconsideration of the local brands too.

  • Fatimah

    The article talks about the market dynamics in the country, focusing on the production and expansion of the businesses. The main issue with expansion and international outreach for the pakistani businesses is the lack of structure such as the absence of marketing and sales departments. This results in the general absence of Pakistani businesses in the international market. To deal with this issue there needs to be a policy change at the end of the government and that should be followed by regulations in order to attain presence in the international economy.

  • Khalil Dogar

    Globally successful brands have one thing in common, they were born global. Their foundation stones were laid keeping in mind that they will be catering to the global market one day. Their structures were set up on the principals acceptable as well as appreciable across the globe. Some of them might have taken years before tapping into global markets as part of their business strategies but they were always ready to knock doors of global market on any given day without changing much about themselves. Most brands in our country fail to visualize beyond the local demand and hence limit their scope right from the start. Going global then becomes a far cry with the existing culture fending off the adaptations without which globalization cannot be achieved.

  • Hamza Arif

    I think lack of harmonized product standards in Pakistan is one of the major reasons we are unable to export our products. For example, in Punjab only we have Punjab food authority and Pakistan standards & quality control authority both making their own standards for food products. This becomes a big issue for the industry in order to comply both standards. We need to adopt standards harmonized with EU, FDA and Codex so that our products could be easily exported to other countries as well. Without harmonized standards, no marketing department of a company can market it’s product outside Pakistan.
    In case of protectionist measures, World trade organization can be approached and legal battle can be won there if any unfair protectionist measure is set by a country. It ensures that trade flows smoothly and freely.

  • Zoya Farooq

    The biggest issues, in my opinion, that Pakistani brands have to face while going global are: meeting the international quality standards and choosing the most apt marketing techniques based on the tastes/values of the new markets. Unfortunately, Pakistan lacks in both these crucial areas. Marketing specialists in Pakistan are very few, and most of the local brands only consider the conventional ways of advertising as marketing. Moreover, quality of most of the Pakistani products reaches nowhere near the international standards due to which they fail to leave an impact on the consumers abroad and often face bans from the governments as well.

  • Abdul Rafay

    Pakistan does not have a favorable perception in global world. For example, Germany is famous for engineering and therefore BMW is the global brand. Also, as a “Pakistani”, we are sometimes labelled as cheaters, terrorists etc. We need to build trust with other countries and project our soft image. Moreover, our people try not to go global on their own but instead they sell their products under other company’s tag.

  • Ushna Sabir

    The elitist and feudal culture in our country is also a reason that has made the companies act in such a manner where owners and employers often misbehave with employees. The ‘boss’ culture basically brings no productivity in the company and that itself becomes the reason for company’s decline. Similarly, in such a culture, the employees do not learn much and overall productivity of the firm decreases.

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