DENVER — Greg Hanes has recently rejoined the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Denver staff as assistant vice-president, international marketing, after serving for the past three-and-a-half years as the U.S.M.E.F.’s director in Japan.

Mr. Hanes brings experience in the complex and valued Japanese export market, having worked on programs involving importers, foodservice, retail and direct-to-consumer initiatives. In his new role, he will work with U.S.M.E.F.’s international staff to guide strategic marketing programs and maximize the effectiveness of U.S.M.E.F. marketing efforts overseas.

"Working in the Japan office for more than three-and-a-half years and living in Japan for almost nine years, it was a great experience to get integrated into a foreign culture and tying all that together to try and develop and implement new strategies, ideas and activities to help promote U.S. beef and pork in Japan," Mr. Hanes said.

Among Mr. Hanes’ most notable accomplishments was establishing Japan as the perennial market leader for U.S. pork exports.

"We have to give credit to U.S. producers for doing the job of providing the excellent product for the Japanese market and for the work we’ve been doing in trying to build demand and awareness of the product all the way through the whole distribution channel," Mr. Hanes said. "Japan is a very competitive market, especially with pork. Japan has a very strong domestic pork industry. So trying to find ways to really differentiate U.S. pork and highlight the quality and attributes of it can be a challenge, but I think the different activities and the programs we’ve been doing have really started to build awareness with the consumers and importers."

Mr. Hanes cautions, however, that every market calls for unique strategies.

"What we’re trying to do is build on the successes we’ve had in all of the different markets — successes in Japan, Mexico, Europe — to try and share that information to ensure each of these markets is very aware of the strategies that are successful and try to build on that and expand what we’re doing on the marketing front," he said. "Every country is very different so it’s difficult to take one strategy and weigh that across every other market. What we’re looking at is how we can customize these more and develop them for each of the markets to make them as successful as possible."