16/07/2008 - 22:00

FMG emerges on top

16/07/2008 - 22:00

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The Western Australian business success story that everyone has been talking about in the past twelve months, Fortescue Metals Group, has topped the emerging brands list.

FMG emerges on top

The Western Australian business success story that everyone has been talking about in the past twelve months, Fortescue Metals Group, has topped the emerging brands list.

Together with iiNet, in second place, both companies have been favourites of the advertising and marketing industry this year as they feature in almost every category, bar one, of WA Business News branding survey.

The emerging brand table also reflects the improved performance of WA food and beverages businesses, with the presence of Little Creatures, Gage Roads and Muzz Buzz.

According to the branding survey questions, the emerging brands category must feature companies that have been in the marketplace for five years or less.

However, considering the strong vote from the advertising and marketing industry towards Little Creatures, which has been established for about seven years, and iiNet, which started in 1995, this year's results reflect the industry's view on emerging brands.

While FMG only appeared once in last year's survey, in third position of the emerging brand category, it features strongly this year thanks to increased media coverage and the completion of significant milestones for the company.

Respondents also highly rated the persona of FMG's chief executive Andrew Forrest to explain the success of the brand.

"Fortescue is what Western Australians love, it's a success story, it's a start from scratch, a growth phenomena," Marketforce chief executive John Driscoll said.

"With someone like Andrew Forrest, his persona and drive comes through the company, and the brand is built around the determination of its leader. I think Western Australians love that sort of success.

"FMG typifies the spirit of Western Australia and symbolises the boom times that we're having so there's a natural affinity with that brand and what's going on in the economy."

According to The Brand Agency managing director Steve Harris, the persona of Andrew Forrest has been defining for the iron ore exporter's brand.

"They've got Perth's own Richard Branson, Andrew Forrest, spruiking it up...He looks good, he's highly intelligent, he's articulate," Mr Harris told WA Business News.

"You think of Fortescue you think of Twiggy. I think he's done a fantastic job branding it in his own image."

Microbreweries have featured strongly in this category for the past four years.

Other food and beverages businesses, such has the pie franchise Jesters, the Mead Group, and olive oil producer Dandaragan, have also featured in past surveys.

The drive through take-away coffee franchise Muzz Buzz features in the category for the second year in a row, in fifth position.

While Gage Roads was leading the top five last year, the microbrewer features this year in fourth position behind Little Creatures.

Other smaller food and beverages businesses in WA that are not as widely recognised for having a good brand, have been outlined by some of the respondents, including Block Branding managing director, Tanya Sim.

"A lot of small businesses, such as Must and Balthazar, are great micro brands. You enter and you have got the staff, the service, the atmosphere, it all goes in the same direction, the whole product," Ms Sim said.

"It's very low key but it's always right, and the moment you walk in the door, it's a different way to the staff talk to you the right way, they dress the right way and the menu looks right."

According to Ms Sim, there is also a strong growth of niche food brands, such as Blue Cow Cheese, The Margaret River Chocolate Company and Mount Barker Chicken in the WA market place which have a significant potential..

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