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Take a sales lesson from luxury goods companies, Business English delegates told

13 12 2012

13 December 2013
 
The importance of luxury branding for the Turkish market and the growing importance of teaching soft skills were stressed at the Business English UK annual general meeting.
 
The event attracted a variety of speakers and 50 delegates who travelled from member schools all over the UK.
 
"We're looking forward to really interesting developments in 2013," outgoing BEUK chair Sue Johns told the meeting at International House in London before handing over to her successor, Maurice Cassidy. She said it had been a busy year for the organisation, which had taken part in several UK and overseas events, including masterclasses in Sofia, and very promising UKTI scoping visit to Costa Rica and a global skills conference in Japan.
 
Delegates were also urged to put staff forward for the organisation's new award for
Business English trainers, the EBET (Excellence in Business English Training). This is the first national award to recognise trainers who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of business English training, inspired colleagues, and made a significant positive impact to their clients' learning.
 
Richard Parry of UKTI gave the meeting an indication of the countries which may be the focal point for trading policy from next year, and concluded: "I wish all the trade bodies were as good as BEUK."
 
The day's other speakers included David Mitchell of Levant Education, who explained his belief that success in the Turkish market means borrowing from the strategy of luxury goods manufacturers. Students from poorer families were much likelier to study locally: it was therefore better for executive English centres to market themselves as a luxury brand.
 
"Marketing in Turkey isn't about discounting. It's about maintaining the appeal and increasing the desirability of your brand," he said, adding: "You need to make your course something to show off about, so that the students are proud to be doing it and shout out on social networks. One student reaching a network of friends in Turkey is extremely important." However, it was also important that the pricing was premium but not exorbitant, and so it was essential to find good agents to work with, he said. It was also a good idea to think about using any celebrities who had been students in marketing, he said.
 
Emma-Sue Prince, director of Unimenta, closed the day with a talk about the growing importance of 'soft skills' for business and life in the 21st century. She said that business English trainers were very well placed to incorporate these competences into their teaching, and that while such courses were currently unregulated, she was piloting a postgraduate certificate course with Roehampton University early next year.
 
The day's other speaker, Claire Hart, attended as part of a move to more closely align Besig and BEUK. She gave an insight into English language training in German industry, and also encouraged delegates to consider joining Besig and taking part in its regular professional development sessions.