Manufacturers are urged to take advantage of one of our most cost-effective marketing tools – the Australian Made logo. Alan Johnson reports.
While Australia manufacturers make some fantastic high quality, innovative products, research over the years has continually found that marketing of these products has often been the weak link. Which is surprising when manufacturers have access to one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available: an Australian Made logo.
True it does cost some money to use the logo, but at a starting point of just $300 a year, it must be one of the bargains of the decade.
Ben Lazarro from the Australian Made team admits there is some mis-information in the marketplace about the cost of using the logo, explaining that the logo's licence is tiered to the turnover of the product that is using the logo.
"The minimum fee is just $300 for 12 months, and that's for products that are turning over $300,000. That's only one tenth of one per cent. You can't buy an ad in your local paper for that.
"Obviously, the higher the turnover, the higher the licensing fee," Lazarro told Manufacturers' Monthly.
"It's a really good marketing tool and enjoys enormous recognition in the marketplace. Research shows it's recognised by 98.9% of consumers and maybe more important is that 88% of consumers trust it."
However, while consumer recognition is high, those figures do not carry over to businesses, with the organisation's research revealing only 20% of companies have a firm policy or preference to buying Australian made goods.
"It's very disappointing, but we are working on it," Lazarro said.
John Jones, Sales and Marketing Director with Melbourne manufacturer AK Reels, is equally disappointed, saying that while the logo does help and has had great support from the public that's not the case with Government departments and major public services.
"Unfortunately they are not tuned in to this thinking due to the 'outsourcing' of supply."
However, Jones said the acceptance of the company's new Safety Barrier Tape Reels by major mining companies around the world was enhanced by the Australian Made and Owned status of the company.
"We are all for Australian Made goods and services with the logo recognised as an assurance that Australia is the origin of the reels they are buying and the standards meet their needs and expectations," Jones said.
Solution for both sides
Lazarro says the logo is a solution for both consumers and manufacturers, and has an association with quality.
"It's a quick and easy way for manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are Australian made, plus it is easy for consumers when they are making that purchase whether it's in a supermarket, hardware store or a business sourcing components for their own manufacturing purposes.
"It also provides a mark of authenticity, because it's 3rd party accredited through the Australian Made Campaign."
Lazarro says the logo has a really good global reach and is used by more than 2300 companies on 15,000 products both here and around the world.
"While we don't have the funds to conduct awareness campaigns overseas, there is tremendous anecdotal evidence from licensees saying it is recognised in many countries.
"In China for example, where it is a registered trade mark and provides a legal framework for licensees, the logo is perceived to be the official brand of Australia."
He said the logo is also a registered trade mark in the US, Singapore and South Korea, with plans to expand into seven other countries in SE Asia in the near future.
"By being a registered trade mark in these countries, counterfeiters who copy an Australian made product with an Australian Made logo are breaking the law of that country, and can be prosecuted there, providing extra protection for Australian manufacturers.
"Plus companies can demonstrate that it's genuinely Australian and demand a premium for their products overseas," Lazarro said.
Using the logo
Mumme Tools, a long term user of the logo, produces a wide-range of forged hand tools in South Australia and is Australia's leading mining tool manufacturer.
Mumme Tools spokeswoman, Alexandra Felgate, said the company puts the logo on all its marketing material and products, where relevant.
"The cost of using the logo is not an issue for us because it's such an important part of our marketing and branding, and who we are as a business.
"We find it's a real point of difference. It gives the consumer a reason to purchase our product over someone else's.
"We export quite a lot of our products and find the logo helps with sales, especially in Asia. It shows us as a quality manufacturer," Felgate said.
Gary Krix, Managing Director of high quality loudspeaker manufacturer Krix, agrees saying the logo resonates with consumers, both locally and overseas.
"A few years ago, we inadvertently didn't put the logo onto one shipment of our products to Hong Kong. The distributor was very quick to complain, so it meant a lot to them as it was a point of difference."
He said the logo is something people look for.
"When customers register with us, after they have bought a product, we ask them the reasons why they bought Krix. Often it's things like sound quality and the overall quality of the product, but a lot of them do tick the Australian Made box.
Krix said the company had been using the logo for over 20 years. "Way before I arrived here, but obviously not on the whole range, as some are manufactured overseas for us.
He said it also depends on the product. "For example, we put the logo on the packaging and the product itself for our consumer products, but on our commercial cinema products we just put the logo on the packaging as they are high volume products and the decision has already been made.
Krix said he doesn't want people to buy his products just because they are Australian made.
"We want them to buy Australian made because it's a well-made and well-engineered product, and the Australian Made logo gives them that final reason to buy the product," Krix said.
Danielle Lindsay Woodridge from Lindsay Pie-Making Equipment, manufacturer of the 'Simple Simon' bakery equipment, says the Australian made logo is essential to all the company's marketing, both here and overseas
"We are proud to design, manufacture and sell pie machines that are sold in over 14 countries. We have been members of the Australian made campaign from the beginning as we recognised that the logo represents Australian made quality; which is known to be the best in the world!
"We use the Australian Made logo on our website, on all of our marketing materials and at trade shows and events, so that when a buyer is researching our bakery equipment, one of the first things they will see is that we are Australian Made certified."
"We are proud of the high quality parts we can source here, our skilled staff and our manufacturing capabilities, and the Australian Made logo represents all of that. People recognise the Australian Made logo and associate it with quality," she said.
To overcome problems of country-of-origin labelling system for food, the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo is to be incorporated into new country-of-origin food labels.
The Government's proposed new country-of-origin labelling system for food will, for the first time, incorporate a bar chart showing what proportion of ingredients come from Australia, and will also include – for those products made and grown in Australia – the Australian Made, Australian Grown kangaroo logo.
Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said the new system will help consumers make informed choices based on the 'Australianness' of products.
However the system will not say where those remaining contents come from due to global supply chains that can change on a regular basis.
The proposed new 'contents symbol' will be mandatory for most (but not all) food products and the roll-out will commence next year – following consultation with the States and Territories – with a phased implementation period for small business.
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