08/08/2006 - 22:00

2006 branding survey shows a shift in perception

08/08/2006 - 22:00

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Our 2006 branding survey – the fifth since 2002 – is the most comprehensive to date and is probably the first to show a marked shift in sentiment in a major Western Australian brand.

Our 2006 branding survey – the fifth since 2002 – is the most comprehensive to date and is probably the first to show a marked shift in sentiment in a major Western Australian brand.

The survey asks the state’s leading communications professionals how they view brands that are unique to WA.

This year – responding to input from several advertising and marketing leaders – we made the survey a lot deeper, asking for more comment from the respondents and, for the first time, requesting they reveal their thoughts on which brands were performing poorly.

We also went outside our traditional survey group to invite public relations professionals to answer questions on corporate brands. We also asked the PR sector about underachieving corporate brands. I thought the responses were worth noting, but it is fair to say this particular list had a smaller number of respondents than the rest of the questions.

As for the general survey, about 30 of the state’s leading advertising and marketing practitioners provided us with their views, representing the bulk of the leading agencies in Perth. That is a pretty powerful collective voice in a town like this.

Having presided over this project for the past five years, I have to say this year’s result is the most marked.

Not only did BankWest slide substantially in the most recognised ranks, but its sudden drop was matched by significant rankings in underachieving and waning (on the slide) categories, which many put down to its bigger east coast focus where its parent, HBOS, has established its Australian headquarters.

Read into this what you may, but its apparent (and hardly surprising) that many poor performing WA brands are held by companies based outside the state. Of course, BankWest is hardly that – yet.

Government unwilling to budge on fuel excise

I think the prime minister is wrong to suggest that nothing can be done about petrol prices.

Petrol taxes, from my recollection, were created to inflate the cost of fuel and encourage energy users to be more efficient. A green tax, if you like.

In that regard, they have clearly done their job and, with oil prices now forming a natural incentive to reduce use, those taxes ought to be removed – especially if they might alleviate the economic shock that we are currently experiencing.

But of course governments don’t do that and John Howard revealed as much when he suggested that cutting 10 cents (from about 50 cents) in fuel excise would result in taking billions of dollars from government coffers, which it thinks it should be spending on our behalf.

With millions hurting at the bowser, including business, the fairest and most efficient way to bring relief to people would be to reduce the fuel excise.

Fuel users need time to prepare for this new world of high prices, where demand has driven costs up at exponential rate. Any tax on fuel now is simply an unnecessary addition to what is an increasing burden for everyone.

Unfortunately, governments of all persuasions prefer to double hand the money, collecting it first and then handing back where they see more votes.

I don’t advocate cutting the whole excise, yet. With interest rates on the march, the government needs to be careful it doesn’t distort the signals of restraint being issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

But it is time to reconsider the value of this tax, to anyone but government, when market prices are at current levels and only expected to go higher.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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