Flog The FULLER blog

28Mar/140

Guest Flog: New laws may expose your Privacy parts

iStock_000012304366Small

by Gavin Klose, FULLER Digital Strategist

New laws may expose your Privacy parts Did you know that new Australian privacy laws (namely, the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act) came into force on 12 March, 2014 and that there is up to a $1.7m fine per individual misdemeanour?

And did you know that there is a good chance that this impacts your organisation?

These new privacy laws recognise the growing concerns of people wanting better transparency and protection of their personal information.

So, does this apply to you? Well, if ANY ONE of these sound like you, then “Yes”:

1. Most government organisations
2. A private sector organisation with a turnover greater than $3m
3. Any entity that discloses personal information for some sort of gain
4. Any entity that provides something in exchange for personal information.

So the law applies to agencies like FULLER and most of our clients – because the definition of personal information is quite broad:
• Information or an opinion about an identified individual
• An individual who is reasonably identifiable.

“What is reasonably identifiable?”, I hear you ask. Well, because the privacy law reforms began back before anybody had even heard of Facebook, the new laws have been future-proofed by including a definition of reasonably identifiable. This covers the possibility of combining different data sources to identify someone now or in the future (regardless of whether you actually do or not).

So whether your website uses cookies to provide a better experience to visitors (most of them do); personal information that is collected or used for sending newsletters; or have fans on your Facebook Page, it is best to err on the side of caution and assume that the new laws apply to you – meaning that you may need to add some transparency to the way you communicate what you do.

Now, FULLER are not Privacy Lawyers but from what we understand it has been recommended that every organisation should:
• Consult with a lawyer specialising in Privacy Law
• Appoint a Privacy Officer
• Do a Privacy Audit
• Create Privacy Procedures
• Update their Privacy Policy (and publish it on their website)
• NEW!! Create Collection Statements (whenever private information is collected)

The last two recommendations will have an impact on your communications - particularly when you are collecting or using personal details (eg newsletters and online subscribers) and FULLER is ready to help you implement these into your current materials.

In the meantime, watch this space for more information including revealing the “13 APPs” and other recommendations. Stay tuned.

For more info.

We would like to thank Normans Waterhouse and von Muenster for their insights.

Gavin Klose Senior Brand and Digital Strategist.

Filed under: General No Comments
31Jan/140

Horse Whisperings

2014 Chinese Wood Zodiac Horse IllustrationOn Friday some 2 billion Chinese ushered in the new Year of the Wooden Horse, which according to celebrity feng shui master Alion Yeo, could be a rough ride.

Yeo argues that the combustibility of wood points to scandals, conflicts, explosions and arguments in politics, economics and business - so we could say what's new?

But other web gurus suggest the real symbolism of the horse (wooden or not) is of the Chinese people's unremitting efforts to improve themselves – they insinuate  energy, brightness, warm-heartedness, intelligence and skill. Wooden horses are strong and stable (well pretty stable) and people born in the year of the horse have an ability to make wiser decisions, are excellent at interacting with others, and are successful personally and professionally.

Mmm. Like most quasi-religious superstitions we tend to grasp what we need or want from these tea-leaves of futurology. However, if energy, intelligence, decisiveness and interactivity are the take home messages then for businesses, content marketing is going to be the winner this year.

Like Mr Ed (the talking horse of the 1960s) what you say is going to be equally as important as how you say it in 2014. After breathtaking progress in mobile and web technology for the last decade, your customers are now looking to you for more than a "one night stand" type purchasing experience.

Our research is showing that when customers buy products they are now seeking engagement and connection, along with knowledge and insight, to satisfy their ego and status. With their free range chook or their organic Shiraz people want to buy a relevant, compelling and credible story which connects them with the brand and rusts them on as loyal long termers. 

In this increasingly genericised, mass produced world, customers will want to know where the chicken grew up, what it was fed and whether it died happy; who made the wine and designed the label and what their philosophy about global warming is.

A back story on your label, website, Facebook page or brochure today is mandatory.

For client focused professional firms which are selling services (architecture, law, accounting, engineering), original and well researched content will also build your point of difference by confirming your expertise and leadership in your field.

If your newsletter article or website blog or email tip makes your clients more competitive, more profitable or even more interesting to the people around them at a dinner party conversation, chances are you will retain them for the longer term and grow that account.

Of course not all content is good content. For content marketing to work, you must create insightful, engaging, interesting and where possible, captivating information. It must be deeply researched and referenced. It must be professionally written in a lively, engaging and easy to read manner. It should also be re-tasked as a short digital video for your website or You Tube channel, or as a podcast to listen to in peak hour traffic or as a media release or a blog (like this).

If you want to now more about content marketing and how it can help generate business growth and loyalty email me or visit our website and see how we communicate knowledge.

Or you can take the guru's advice and place mandarins in bowls throughout your house today. Mandarins with their leaves still intact are the fruits of happiness for the New Year.

But keep the numbers even – uneven collections of mandarins will usher in unhappy horses.

-Peter Fuller.

Filed under: General No Comments
29Nov/130

Positive Attitude

Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

I'm surprised when South Australians are surprised.

David Washington seemed bemused in his article in InDaily on Wednesday that, since the 1970s, we have been complaining about Rundle Mall.

Yet from day one, South Australians have been obsessed with not just having their say, but having the hubris to suggest the average Joe Blow knows better than professionally trained, experienced surveyors, architects and designers.

Although we were established as a unique colony free from religious or political persecution, with such liberty came a license to labor every decision, to navel scratch and chin wag until any agent of change virtually gave up.

Poor old William Light who, given just a few months to determine a site for the new city and start surveying it before Proclamation in December 1936, was blocked every step of the way. Nearly 12 months after the first landing at Glenelg, after Adelaide city's visionary grid pattern was nearly complete, after people had established lives and businesses, dissenting meddlers such as Strangways and Stevenson were still bellowing in Governor Hindmarsh's ear that the city should be relocated to Victor Harbor or Port Lincoln.

Light would eventually resign his commission and die a broken, tubercular anti-hero due to the constant barrage of ill-informed, amateur opinion... and yet we now laud him as our visionary founder.

South Australia's communication agencies have just finished rushing around tendering for one of the state's prize projects in 2014 – the branding and marketing of the "new" Rundle Mall.

It is a very exciting communication challenge, which will start with market research to determine public attitudes not just about the Mall, but also how we all interact with the adjacent North Terrace cultural precinct and the East End more broadly.

It has taken 40 years to correct the original oversights of the Mall and project a fresh image for this important central retail precinct. It has also taken several decades to give North Terrace the international feel it always deserved. Bookended at one end by the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the sensational SAHMRI building, and at the other by the precious stretch of Victorian sandstones and potentially a new art gallery, it will indeed be a world-class cultural boulevard.

For once in our 177 year history, wouldn't it be great if we as citizens agreed with the repeated plaudits from travel writers about the livability and attractiveness of our state and welcomed our new Mall rather than maintaining that old hobby of shooting – then aiming.

-Peter Fuller.

Filed under: General No Comments
4Nov/130

NUMBER 9 AND COUNTING

Why would anyone in the world want to visit Adelaide?

This is one of those questions I was mulling over from my God-like perspective of an uncomfortable armchair at 30,000 feet a few weeks ago. Passing over places such as Omsk and Chelyabinsk and Nizhny on the vast silk route between London and Hong Kong, Adelaide fades into a tiny speck of grit on the Cathay Pacific video screen.

But just after we touched down I was surprised to find that Adelaide has been ranked Number 9 in the world's most popular cities by Lonely Planet, mainly because of our cool inner city lane way bar culture and our impressive new Adelaide Oval.

We've just returned from a couple of weeks in London and Barcelona and judging by the crowds we jostled with, it is not McDonalds or Burger King or Zara which draws millions of tourists to these ancient cities – it is the chance to "bucket list" culture. Certainly recreational retail therapy is amusing for some. Trying out new restaurants and local taste sensations is fun. But frankly if you were going to London for the food or Barcelona for the wine, then you probably wouldn't leave home.

We went to London for the Tate Modern, the Saatchi, the "gherkin" at St Mary's Axe, the National Gallery and The Eye. In Barcelona we went to see Gaudi's Sagrada Família and La Pedrera and the Picasso Museum and the Torre Agbar.

So when we stepped back into our beautiful, blindingly blue sky (which it seems we only recognise when we get off planes) we were at first disappointed by the sad dotted eucalypts and sand colored concrete plaza at our airport. Appropriate for Alice Springs maybe but how does this provide what should be a welcome to a truly Mediterranean city down under. A little vineyard might provide a more verdant surprise for the few OS visitors who do make the trek down here.

But then we drove past the exciting SAHMRI building on North Terrace and felt genuinely proud of this contemporary architectural statement and the white bulge of the new Adelaide Oval rising up behind it in the distance. Down our cultural boulevard – the University, Library, Art Gallery – and one feels that we have got this right, a proud reflection of our cultural and colonial roots that a lot of other similarly aged cities have bowled over in the name of progress.

Having been involved over the last two years in a project to reclaim Adelaide's identity as the Wine Capital of Australia and also participating in the State re-branding research and development, we do have much to offer in terms of creativity, innovation and industriousness, and those little bars and cafes in Peel Street and Leigh Street are public symbols of that.

But we can't fool ourselves. London, which has a population of about 8 million, attracts nearly twice that number of visitors every year. And even that incredible achievement has been surpassed by Bangkok, which is now the world's number one tourism city according to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index with 15.96 million international visitors annually.

So we can't rest on our Number 9 laurels. The next big move to truly put Adelaide on the world map is not the Kensington roundabout or even the 22nd century transport plan (underground train systems are so yesterday's).

No, the real change catalyst will be the decision made about the old Royal Adelaide Hospital eye sore site. We've got one bullet left in the breech. This is our one chance to make an architectural and artistic statement which will indeed internationalise Adelaide. Nick Mitzevich wants to open up the whole of the Art Gallery of SA's collection on the new site, which is great - but why don't we all lift our gaze from our navels about the building which will house this.  We don't need to renovate the infected old dumps that are there and plant a tropical garden!

We do need to talk to a Guggenheim or Saatchi to co-invest in building Australia's greatest contemporary gallery. Did Leon Bignell raise this possibility with Fleurieu Art Prize guest judge and Saatchi Gallery Director Nigel Hurst last week? With Saatchi hosting a contemporary Australian art exhibition in London next year (brokered by the said Mr Mitzevich) surely the foundation stone is almost laid?

Of course there will be the predictable wails that we don't have the cash. But we didn't think we had the $575 million to build a new Adelaide Oval or the $1.8 billion to build a new hospital either.

I doubt the UK economy was in great shape after Trafalgar and the battle of Waterloo but the government managed to erect Nelson's Column.  Spain remains resolutely unemployed, but billions are injected into Barcelona and Bilboa every year by people like us happy to shell out 20 or 30 Euros to stare at wonders of the world.

The MCA works on Sydney's Circular Quay. Art has worked at Hobart's MONA. Wouldn't it be something to have a world class gallery and architectural statement in Adelaide. It is time this government (or the next) builds on our wine capital status - because that is certainly unique in Australian terms and will continue to draw more Asian tourists here - by making Adelaide an art and architecture capital as well.

Can you think of a better thing to hang our hats on?

-Peter Fuller.

 

Filed under: General No Comments
1Oct/130

Buying wine on a mobile: too hard = too bad.

iStock_000023637156Mediumby Gavin Klose, FULLER Digital Strategist

Whilst researching mobile ecommerce solutions for wineries, FULLER reviewed 87 Australian wine brands currently selling their wine online.

We were staggered that only seven (8.1%) had mobile friendly websites meaning that potential customers of just over an alarming 9 out of 10 from our sample group had the unpleasant experience of zooming in, out and around their screens to read content and worse still, complete their wine purchase on their smartphones or tablets.

Interestingly, this statistic was spread across small to large wine brands.

So, what does this mean and does it matter?

Anecdotally we have spoken with our wine friends (without mobile optimised sites) who have become concerned of poor conversion rates from their email and Facebook campaigns. They are finding that people are clicking on posts and emails but then soon drop off and fail to complete wine purchases. Now, when you consider that globally 45% of people open emails on the mobiles and 40% of Facebook daily active use happens in people’s hands could non-mobile optimised be playing a major part in this lost opportunity? (Email Client Market Share – Litmus Email Analytics, August 2013 and Facebook Reports Second Quarter 2013 Results, July 24 2013).

According to recent research from Google, the third biggest barrier for people not buying on their mobiles was it being “too complicated”. (Our Mobile Planet: Australia, May 2013).

There are countless statistics showing the rise of online purchases from smartphones and tablets (in the infamous words of Clive Palmer, “Just Google it”).

We have mentioned smartphones AND tablets but it is important that wine brands consider both (and not JUST smartphones). Tablet ownership is on a steep rise (with PC and laptops on the decline) and more importantly, recent Adobe research shows that consumers are almost twice as likely to purchase from large touchscreens than their smaller cousins. (2013 Digital Publishing Report: Retail Apps & Buying Habits, January 2013).

So, why was FULLER doing this research again? Whilst upgrading the websites of our wine clients, we wanted to see whether there was a need or opportunity to package our affordable mobile ecommerce website solution for others in the industry. Well, we concluded that there was so we have.

It was encouraging though that a number of the wineries we contacted were in the process of rebuilding their websites to make them attractive to mobile users. The hard sell: If you are looking to upgrade your online store (or website) to make it easy for people to browse and buy your wine on their iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows devices then we would love to give you a demo in person or by Skype.

For more information please contact Gavin Klose.

Filed under: General No Comments
30Aug/130

Why is it so?

tumblr_mjnvq6tcmX1rquhqmo1_500Increasingly in our brand discussions with business and organisational clients we are starting to ask them a very simple question – why?

Why do you do what you do? Why did you start doing what you do? Why do you continue to get up in the morning and do it again and again? Why should your customers be attracted to your products?

It's an interesting technique, introduced to me by our brand strategist Gavin Klose, and the more we use this with clients the more we help to demystify the constructed complexity that exists around branding. Like Max von Pettenkofer  who drank cholera  bacteria to help discover a cure (he later shot himself after a not surprising bout of depression), self experimentation is one way of testing a theory.

When Gavin asked me "why" it became clear that FULLER's brand DNA is all about story telling. I've been a professional writer for more than 30 years and I take a lot of joy out of crafting text which reflects the heart and soul of individuals. Whether they are farmers or fishermen, winemakers or welders, scientists or sausage makers I always feel privileged to enter their lives, listen deeply to them and re-tell their story. Often I get the response - "I didn't realise I sounded that good" - and while I like to take a little poetic license, essentially my work is done when they smile shyly at that shock of proud self-knowledge.

Why do I do it? There is definitely something visceral about it. My father was a farmer who would rather dig 100 postholes than write a letter – but he was a great pub listener to stories from the flotsam and jetsam of country life that he delighted in re-telling. My brother is a builder and a terrific yarn-smith. I like words, placing one after another in lines and paragraphs and pages, in a construct that is both original and hopefully arresting.It's clearly genetic.

I believe a brand is a story and our role as brand communication specialists is to reach into the heart of that story, pluck out its essential message and then explode it to the world. These days we use everything from YouTube and Twitter to clever advertising design and media campaigns to tell that story. But the basics are still the same as when I worked in newspapers and had a Remington typewriter on my desk instead of a MacBook Pro with the 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 6MB of shared L3 cache and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3GHz.

Next time you see a brand such as McDonalds or Coke or GMH, close your eyes and think of the story. Brylcreemed Richard and Maurice McDonald who started a barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino, California in 1940. John Pemberton who invented the patent medicine Coca-Cola. The Adelaide based Holden saddlery family who made Australia's first car in 1948.

Thinking of building your brand in these competitive times.

What's your story?

- Peter Fuller.

Filed under: General No Comments
31Jul/130

Guest Flog: We all need to eat local

iStock_000016452865XSmallby Will Fuller, FULLER Account Director

Since the over hyped media circus about Spring Gully’s financial problems, there has been a lot of focus on ‘Eat Local’. The campaign generated by Food SA, encourages South Australians to put our hard earned dollars back into locally owned and operated food businesses.

With our economy recently ranked as the worst performing of all mainland states I’m wholeheartedly behind any movement that assists in keeping South Australians employed and keeps the dollars bouncing around our state borders.

But it’s sad to see that this sentiment hasn’t been adopted by the very businesses and organisations that scream the loudest.

I read recently that the Paech family from Hahndorf re-branded their famous Beerenberg range of jams and spreads.

Great idea I thought. A timely refresh, nice cottage feel to fire up shelf appeal in a fast moving marketplace and improve their presence when their old competitor Spring Gully was getting some limelight.

Then to my disappointment I read on to find that Beerenberg had chosen to employ a Sydney based graphic design agency to work on this important project.

Anthony Paech, who is also the Food SA Chair, should be acutely aware of the push to support SA business with their Eat Local campaign. So why go east where higher fees don’t necessarily mean better quality.

I also just this week received a note from another local successful food producer informing me that after several months of diligent creative pitching and idea generation we were the bridesmaids – for their rebranding, graphic design and public relations campaign – to a Sydney creative agency.

Another proud member of Food SA. Another project lost across the border.

Of course everyone is entitled to spend their marketing dollars wherever they like and I’m sure both organisations had a reason beyond my parochial understanding.

However, if the South Australian food industry wants us all to eat their food, instead of generic supermarket brands made from imported product, they might want to think about practicing what they preach.

Buying local doesn’t just extend to pickles and pork belly – it means giving every business a fair go.

There are more than 150 fantastic graphic design agencies in Adelaide that produce work of an international standard.

Some of our local food producers might want to check out the menu: http://sa.agda.com.au/ the next time they want to add some extra flavour to their brand.

Filed under: General No Comments
26Jun/132

Flog: A Business Lesson from Despicable Me: Keep the Minions Happy

Despicable Me 2: Happy Minions

Despicable Me 2: Happy Minions

by Hayley Conolly, FULLER Digital Communications Consultant

No matter how successful you are at marketing and communications, ensuring your employees are ambassadors for your brand is vital in today’s fickle ‘on-line word of mouth’ era.   It's not just the BBQ where unhappy employees can whinge - it's also Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine...

There are plenty of articles on how to harness the power of social media to ‘leverage’ your staff, but LinkedIn training and a signed social media policy does not equal an employee brand ambassador.

It runs much deeper than this – a brand’s values, culture, education and processes all play an important role in creating authentic brand champions.

The ultimate goal is for your customers (and potential customers) to have a positive experience with every touchpoint of your brand - not just the receptionist or sales staff.

Whether it’s a cheerful logistics manager keeping their cool with a distributor or a cellar door manager lending an umbrella to a bedraggled boozehag, these little things can make all the difference to reputation management and ultimately your bottom line.

5 Ways To Make Minions Happy

Values

People identify with brands that hold a similar value proposition to their own internal beliefs. It’s this ‘personification’ of a brand that makes businesses awesome. What does your company stand for? Does your business prioritise Corporate Social Responsibility? Flexible hours for families? You’re more likely to retain employees if you’re meeting their needs.

Fun, fun, fun

Okay, so not every office can have a Google-esque jungle gym and day-spa but an early minute on a Friday, a surprise chocolate cake or a knock-off drink goes a long way for fostering a happy work environment. Actual beer and Skittles couldn’t hurt either. It’s these little rays of sunshine that keep the team going through the tough times.  A great company culture should reflect the brand values – living it – not just empty words in a strategy document.

Processes

A strong human resource system in place will allow for employees to love their job – and people who love their job are going to shout it from the rooftops.  Providing regular positive and constructive feedback, performance reviews, setting clear KPIs, providing support for growth and training all contribute to making your employees feel valued.

Be open

It starts with listening. Welcome and incorporate feedback – because even if you don’t agree with it, your employees still believe it and they’re still telling everyone they meet about it. Sticking your head in the sand won’t help anyone. Involve employees in decision making: co-contribution can have some great results (think of Despicable Me’s ‘Fart Gun’ – Genius!) Transparency doesn’t need to be seen as a sign of weakness. Explain WHY things are happening. Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg cites Starbucks as an example - when the coffee giant was on the verge of bankruptcy, management pulled everyone into a room and through the support of the employees hard work they turned things around.

Educate and Empower

Traditionally, brand management has been left to the marketing people, but it shouldn’t just fall on their shoulders. How can you expect your employees to hold your core brand values true when they’re saved in some Word document that hasn’t been opened since 2008? Talk openly and often about the company story, the mission and values so everyone sings from the same hymn sheet.

 

30May/130

Let’s just be friends

iStock_000019127111XSmall Have you noticed that not a day goes by when you find you are being assaulted by wine deals – brochures which offer a dozen unknown reds for $99.99 drop out of the Weekend Australian every Saturday morning; phone SMS messages alert me to deals of the week; and Wine Market tells me droll stories of export shipments that didn't make it and now represent sensational bargains. If you're like me you're probably wedded to your favourites bottles based on price and quality, and rarely buy promiscuously - but millions of people do.

A lot of this wine marketing is the work of a company called Cellarmasters, which was a very clever idea by a bloke called David Thomas. Long before on-line retailing, David was bemused by the Sunday Times Wine Club while visiting London and came home to Australia and started his own mail–order wine company in 1982. In 1996 he sold it to Fosters for $160 million, and being a very nice man, established The Thomas Foundation which gives away millions a year to conservation and the environment.

Like everything else in Australia that is not securely bolted down, Cellarmasters has since been purchased by Woolworths and now represents one of the largest door to door delivery networks in the country alongside Australia Post. It is also the perfect example of vertical integration as Cellarmasters/Woolworths now has its own vineyards, its own winery (in the Barossa) and alternative marketing outlet through Dan Murphys, Australia's largest wine retailer.

Anyway it was interesting to learn yesterday in Smart Company that Cellarmasters has been pinged $110,000 for not having an Unsubscribe button on one of its wine newsletters.

I have no wish to gloat – Cellarmasters and Wine Market provide a valuable service to consumers and are extremely important marketing partners to many of Australia beleaguered wine companies who would quite possibly have gone broke (or drunk themselves to death) without them.

But it acts as an important warning to every business which is embracing e-newsletters as a tool of communication. The Australian Communications and Media Authority take a very dim (and expensive) view of unsolicited spam and it behoves all marketers to devote adequate resources to managing their databases and monitoring newsletter responses. It's all part of having a strategy to integrate your e-comms into your overarching brand communication plan rather than seeing it as a last minute blast before you go to the pub on Fridays…which of course you could talk to us about (the strategy, not the pub).

Anyway to add an element of humour to the parting of the ways, you might even like to try this latest unsubscribe video from HubSpot. Clever…and you could just change their minds.

- Peter Fuller.

Filed under: General No Comments
30Apr/130

In A Pickle

iStock_000015288825SmallIt was that day in April when SA food producer Spring Gully announced it had gone into administration.

I can't forget the ABC TV News headline. Sitting on the right shoulder of the cherub-faced anchor, alongside a photograph of a jar of the familiar yellow mustard condiment, were the words "In a Pickle".

This flippant insensitivity about the potential demise of a long standing South Australian company might have led to the ABC sub-editor having his ears boxed, but it was a fairly predictable media response in a punch drunk economy which is seeing small businesses bite the dust on a weekly basis.

However, who could have foreseen the sensational turnaround for the multi-generational company, largely the result of a well orchestrated and sublimely managed PR campaign waged on Spring Gully's behalf.

Normally cynical morning radio jocks started tearily calling for the community to rush out and buy a jar of cocktail gherkins (whether you needed them or not). The daily paper ran recipes using Spring Gully products (oysters kilpatrick?). Local retailers took full page advertisements proudly showing off their loyalty to Spring Gully and slamming the big two food retailers.

The result –  a level of consumer hysteria which has not been seen in this state since Baileys Irish Cream was rationed in the 1980s.

Now no-one feels sorrier than me for the Webb family of Spring Gully and their financial problems. I can think of few more captivating meals than a slash of that golden pickle across a slice of lamb enfolded in fresh Tanunda Apex Bakery bread and Farmer's Union butter.

But when a business says that it had no idea how much people loved its brand until it was on its death bed;  when it is using a label that is so old fashioned that it is almost retro-contemporary; when it started a Facebook page only days before administration; then such disasters can't be blamed entirely on Coles or Woolworths or the Australian dollar or Julia Gillard.

The way Spring Gully has pulled itself back from the brink at the eleventh hour will become a case study in public relations for many years to come.

But it is not advisable as an effective marketing strategy unless you have a strong heart.

Compare Spring Gully's previous brand strategy with fellow Adelaide Hills food processor Beerenberg's decades of consistent PR appearances, consumer tastings, constantly tweaked label and package design, proactive social media and online activity and targeted advertising. Same duopolised retail market. Same consumer challenges (a population that hasn't embraced pickles since World War II). Same Australian dollar. But very different story.

Then there's the other leading condiment producer in  South Australia, Maggie Beer. Maggie produces the same pickles and jams and sauces as Spring Gully albeit with a twist of preserved lemon here or sprig of thyme there. But it's her commitment to the brand and brand communication which has made Maggie Beer Farm Products famous, not the Barossa quinces and quail livers.

In her mid 60s Maggie is an impressive dervish of 30-something bubbling energy, constantly travelling, smiling, laughing and pausing to have conversations with people, touching, kissing, signing autographs, sharing recipes. She is across the brand from tasting the latest trial recipes to tweaking new packaging concepts and labels designs and commenting on adventurous advertising concepts. She is a walking, talking marketing machine and she deserves her 30 years "overnight" success.

Whether the sudden re-kindled interest by consumers in Spring Gully's range of products is sustainable, is now up to the company's marketing team. When the love affair wanes, the national thirst for worcestershire sauce will not have changed and in this extremely competitive niche food sector proving their ongoing point of difference with a consistent brand strategy will be the only way to avoid another pickle.

- Peter Fuller

Filed under: General No Comments