U.S. LIKES OUR 'CAN-DO' SPIRIT
News source: The Australian, 11 November 2005
By Ian Harrison
WITH Australia pretty hot in the United States at the moment, some of the nation’s biggest entertainment exports coupled with the likes of John Travolta, the Sydney Swans and the North Melbourne Kangaroos will headline G’day LA Australia Week early next year.
The week was launched last Friday at Sydney’s Park Hyatt Hotel and some of the nation’s heaviest hitters turned up to lend their support. Australia Consul General to Los Angeles and former South Australian Premier, John Olsen, said his committee would shortly announce some other big name Australians who will lend their talent and presence to the week’s activities.
Mr Olsen remarked that the week represents an opportunity to celebrate everything Australian from our business to the arts and tourism.
“The US is the biggest market in the world,” he said. “To be able to pitch this country in the mass consumer US market is one of the greatest jobs in the world.
“Throughout Australia Week high profile Australian government and business leaders will also anchor a number of events.”
Outside of the formal business events, Australia will be front and centre in LA with INXS performing at a gala dinner honouring Olivia Newton-John. Steve Irwin will also perform a special one-hour show at a family barbecue as a curtain-raiser to an AFL clash between the Swans and Kangaroos.
Ian Baker-Finch succeeds last year’s golfing ambassador Greg Norman in hosting a CEO Golf Day offering Australian businesspeople an opportunity to meet with their American counterparts in a relaxed environment.
Recent research in Los Angeles has found American interest in Australia continues to ride. Our clean environment and Australian attitudes like our sense of humour, open-mindedness and “can-do” approach are the attributes that appeal most to US consumers.
The markets research conducted for Australian Made Campaign Limited (AMCL) by the Horizon Research Corporation, a leading market research firm in Los Angeles, included face-to-face interviews with 400 consumers and telephone interviews with 50 importers and distributors.
The research found that the Australian Made logo is not well known in the US, with under 5 per cent consumers recognising it.
“This was a not unexpected result, given that Australian Made has not previously been promoted in the US,” said Ian Harrison, AMCL’s Chief Executive.
“The purpose of this research was to benchmark awareness and perceptions of the logo, and of Australian products generally, prior to a promotional campaign we will be running in 2006.”
Mr Harrison said the very favourable perceptions of Australia provided a great opportunity for Australian exporters to capitalise upon, by associating their products with the positive attributes that US consumers relate to.
The food and wine industries in particular can benefit from the recognition of Australia’s clean environment – at 78 per cent it was the quality that has the most positive effect on their perceptions of Australian products.
“This suggests that ‘clean and green’ is virtually synonymous with Australia, so promoting food and wine products as Australian will automatically convey a positive image,” Mr Harrison said.
More broadly, world class achievements and a sense that Australia is totally different to the rest of the world rated 59 per cent and 61 per cent respectively – these are more general attributes that could apply to all product categories, suggesting that Australian products are innovative and unique.
“These are very powerful image values, and strongly support our promotional campaign theme – Australian Made, global quality. Here in Australia we often suffer from a cultural cringe where we think our quality is not up to world standards, but that is not how the rest of the world views us,” Mr Harrison added.
The other attributes that rated highly included sense of humour and willingness to laugh at ourselves (69 per cent), enthusiasm and a “can-do” attitude (63 per cent), open-mindedness and not standing on tradition (62 per cent), and willingness to try new things (61 per cent).
“These attributes capture the uniquely irreverent nature often associated with the Aussie character, but combine it with a progressive and quite sophisticated quality standard,” Mr Harrison said.
“These are very favourable attributes to associate with our exports and confirm that promoting our products as Australian Made should make them attractive to US consumers.”
The old “shrimp on the Barbie” image of Australia has been replaced by perceptions of a country that, while retaining the positives of its laid-back sense of humour, is now seen as dynamic, unique and capable of world class achievements. This provides a powerful marketing platform from which to promote the Australian Made brand, according to Mr Harrison.
Australian exporters wishing to take advantage of Australian Made’s promotional campaign in Los Angeles in 2006 should contact Ian Harrison on 1800 350 520. or visit www.australianmade.com.au