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Selling to Australia with hand on heart

MOST shoppers have probably never heard of Kevin McQuay, but if you mention Big Kev, everyone seems to know the cleaning products and the buy Australian message.

Big Kev’s at the vanguard of a quiet revolution that’s been gaining momentum over the last few years in the aisles of the nation’s super-markets.

Big Kev and Dick Smith products represent new interest in an old marketing ploy – selling goods through a marketing focus on the economic impact of supporting Australian businesses.

Market Equity account executive Matt Benson says the most successful proponents of patriotic marketing capture the underlying or emerging values and beliefs in a culture.

“Dick Smith and Big Kev are two brands that spring to mind that appear to have embraced rising nationalism as their brand essence,” Mr Benson said.

Along with the Made in WA birthmark and the Australian Made logo, nationalistic marketing plays a significant role in the battle for a spot in consumers’ shopping trolleys.

However, many shoppers have conflated Australian made with Australian owned and simply don’t realise a product made in Australia can generate a profit for an overseas corporation.

Mr McQuay said Australia has been undersold to the rest of the world

“I was always intensely proud of my products and they are Australian made and owned, but I never saw that as an advantage. We possibly haven’t got the technology to make rockets to go to the moon but don’t tell me we can’t make our own cornflakes and Vegemite.”

The familiar green and gold Australian Made brand is governed by a section of the trade practices and businesses have to be members of the Australian Made campaign.

A fee also is applicable, based on 0.1 per cent of the wholesale turn-over value of the product.

A spokesperson from Australian Made Campaign said there was some confusion between made in Aust-ralia, produced in Australia and Australian owned.

“The differences between ‘Australian made’ and ‘Australian owned’ are not always immediately apparent to consumers,” Australian Made Campaign executive director Jenny Da Rin said.

However, the Australian Made Campaign claims recent research has shown that, after some consider-ation, most people will conclude that ‘made’ is preferable to ‘owned’ because jobs benefit many in the community and must stay here, while profits benefit few and may be invested offshore.

Research undertaken for the Australian Made Campaign claims more than 80 per cent of Australians consciously buy Australian-made goods.

In the local market, the Made in WA birthmark established in the 1970s to promote local products can be used by local businesses without any licence fee.

Department of Commerce and Trade public affairs manager Richard Goodwin said the birthmark has been phenomenally successful, with consumer awareness of the symbol more than 80 per cent, even though the Government hadn’t commissioned any formal adverti-sing since 1989.

“The guidelines are pretty simple. To have a Made in WA symbol you must product the product that is wholly or substantially made in WA.

“The Act doesn’t define the work substantially, but at the Department of Commerce and Trade we take substantially to mean 50 per cent or more of the value of the good must be derived from within the state.”

In the marketplace a brand like the WA Birthmark is only effective if it’s used in conjunction with a quality product.

Consumers are unlikely to buy an locally made item if they feel the product is inferior, Market Equity director Barry Urquhart said.

“If all things are equal, consumers will tend to buy local brands, however it depends a bit on how the good is promoted. People are confused and cynical about what the birthmark actually means,” he said.

“Marketforce chairman Howard Read said nothing would save an inferior product in the marketplace.

“If a WA product is capable of delivering benefits there is no reason why WA goods and services can’t stand up and be proud of being local,” Mr Read said.

“A good example of this is the wine industry. The quality is there and there’s a sentiment towards WA products.

“Reserach shows if you don’t deliver you won’t sell a product just because it’s a local product.”

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