Last year we witnessed great fan fare when the Government launched a new logo to act as an umbrella communication device for Australia’s export efforts. A well conceived mark can play an important role as an aggregator of disparate activities for any country or destination. It is a way of building meaning and association in the minds of target markets about what is on offer.
However, the most potent way to build meaning is to actually know precisely the meaning you wish to create. The best brands have absolute clarity around what they stand for and what they don’t stand for. Australia, as a brand unfortunately has absolute no clarity around what it stands for domestically or in the global market. We raised this concern last year when the logo was launched, now we raise it again, because nothing has changed, except the void is getting bigger and bigger. Our political leaders rightfully argue that Australia as an economy is in a far stronger position than many other western economies. True, but largely because we have been blessed with minerals in the ground that other countries demand. We are fantastic at digging holes.
So is our global brand positioning simply the ‘efficient miner’?
If it is then those of us outside the mining sector have a dim future. Our manufacturing sector continues to diminish, as a country we are even contemplating giving priority to mining as a land use over agriculture when the are competing. The scary thing about a mining proposition is that by definition it is finite, it will have an end date.
The need to create a vision for brand Australia is immense. The current lack of consumer confidence, I think is in part attributed to the fact that as community/country we have no vision of what we should pursue to build a strong Australian brand and sustain our economic well being into the future. While there is huge restructuring going on in the world, with new economic powers emerging, it is difficult to glean any sense of a conversation taking place about the desired positioning for brand Australia. We need a strong brand proposition and we need now.