Ayton Global Research expands into Croatia

The expansion of international consumer research group Ayton Global Research continues apace with their recent tie up in Croatia with entrepreneur Davor Dubokovic. This is the third successful franchise about to be signed by AGR, following the roll out of the concept by AGR's founder Sue Ayton in 2008.

As a business model, Ayton Global Research provides consumer trials to industry, by matching any trial requirement with its extensively profiled and rapidly expanding panel of volunteers, which currently stands at over 250,000 worldwide.

In the UK it is a requirement of the Advertising Standards Authority that any claims made about a product must be substantiated with a variety of evidence. In other global territories similar legal requirements exist. Ayton Global Resrearch has successfully provided the empirical part of this evidence for over 10 years to over 120 clients throughout the world. Research has ranged from toiletries and cosmetics, where the business was founded, but now covers food and drink, household products, fashion, automotive, travel, footwear, white goods and, in fact most, FMCGs.

Returning recently from Croatia's beautiful capital city of Zagreb, AGR's CEO Sue Ayton explains: 'I visited Croatia to look in detail at the 'high street' stores, retailers and the brands they were selling. There is a backdrop of large stores moving into Croatia and this makes it a very timely business opportunity as many of the big stores wish to trial prospective store items/ranges or benchmark trial their own brands against leading brands - all of which our system is excellent at handling. This is also true of any emerging market.'

Talking specifically about the franchise opportunity being taken by entrepreneur Davor Dubokovic, Sue Ayton says: 'Davor is already a business man in his own right and currently runs two Croatian businesses: a website design company and a hugely successful online 'yellow pages' company, both providing a perfect fit and fast track synergy with the AGR franchise concept.

'He has committed to translating all of the material for the business start-up in Croatia and AGR's bespoke ACORN software system has the capability of accepting any translation in the chosen territory - and more than one translation, if required, for the chosen territory. In Switzerland, for example, we now have German, French and Italian translations in place to accommodate the entire Swiss population. So, in the Croatian example, the volunteer zone translation will be tailored to Davor's intimate knowledge of his homeland markets and will be tailored to the Croatian manufacturing and retail bases. Clearly, this model can be applied to any territory and makes research findings relevant and pertinent by capitalising on local knowledge and expertise.'

Talking about his recent tie up with Ayton Global Research, Davor Dubokovic explains: 'My background was always in technology and I believe strongly in business models, which take the Internet and its technologies as their main core component. And that's why I decided to get together with Ayton Global Research and build such a business in Croatia, which fits well not just with my business philosophy, but also with the skill set of some of the people I employ in Croatia.

'Most of the activities of AGR are around internet. There is a web presence, database driven web applications, CMS system, online questionnaires, data analysis tools - everything I am familiar with and something I was working with for most of my life. The only non-internet activity, apart of acquiring new clients, is sending sample products to the volunteers.

'In my opinion such a business model is cost-savvy and brings with it a distinct advantage over similar, classic market research companies.'

Since the break up of the former Yugoslavia, Croatia has made a rapid transition and has invested time in increasing manufacturing and infrastructure in the last 10 years, making it a more attractive prospect for manufacturing companies in the future.

Davor has seen this change and comments: 'Croatia as a young and developing market is missing such business models as AGR, while at the same time we have seen the entrance of some of the world's biggest brands into the Croatian market. They need the level of expertise offered by AGR, while at the same time they need to feel familiar and relaxed to work with a research and business development provider who understands their corporate culture and values from their established common co-operation in the UK market.

'If you add to this the pleasant, informed and always happy-to-help personnel at AGR there is no reason why this interesting business and franchise proposition will not work in Croatia - or anywhere else in the world for that matter.'