In this special My Business feature, Ian Harrison explains why exporters need to be using the Australia Made, Australia Grown logo.
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement has opened up a number of doors for SMEs, particularly for those in the food and beverage industries, but strong country-of-origin branding is the key to making the most of these opportunities.
Australia’s great reputation as a supplier of high quality, healthy, safe products and produce can lead to a premium price for genuine Aussie products if marketing and sales strategies leverage it appropriately. If you are a current or prospective exporter, now is the time to make country-of-origin branding a priority.
Research shows that country-of-origin branding has a direct impact on purchasing behaviours, in Australia and overseas – and our reputation for making and growing products and produce is strong on both fronts – providing a great competitive advantage for eligible products.
Australia’s registered country-of-origin trademark for the full range of genuine Australian products and produce is the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) green-and-gold triangle kangaroo logo. More than 2,000 businesses are registered to use the symbol, which can be found on more than 15,000 products that are sold in Australia and around the world.
The widely recognised AMAG logo has been helping businesses identify their products as Aussie for nearly three decades, and its strict compliance program has earned it credibility both in Australia and abroad. For many Australian businesses, particularly those involved in export, the logo is their strongest brand in the marketplace. The AMAG logo is also a registered certification trademark in China, offering vital protection under Chinese law for goods authorised to carry the symbol.
AMAG LOGO MAKING WAVES IN ASIA
The AMAG logo recently became a registered certification trademark in Singapore. Being a registered certification trademark means that it is legally protected under the laws in those countries, providing an essential legal framework that exporters can rely upon in the event that the logo – or the product carrying it – is copied or used without proper authority.
Every year for the past three years the logo has made its mark in another Asian country – it was registered in South Korea in 2013 and China in 2012. It is also a registered certification trademark in the US. And more Asian countries are set to follow, in line with the growth in exports to the region.
The Australian Made Campaign also recently partnered with Australia Made Shop Pty Ltd (AMS), to roll out a number of Australian Made-branded stores in China, along with a Chinese-language website with ecommerce functionality. A majority Australian-owned company, AMS will initially launch in Shanghai in January 2015, with stores to open in other major Chinese cities throughout 2015. AMS will only showcase and retail products certified to carry the AMAG logo to the affluent Chinese market.
The initiative, endorsed by Federal Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson, will provide a significant channel to the Chinese market for many Australian producers and manufacturers, building on the benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. It follows the launch of Australian Made branded stores in South Korea in 2011.
The network of overseas businesses using the AMAG logo to boost the Asian sales of their imported Australian products and produce is also steadily growing. In Singapore it now includes some of the biggest distributors and retailers in Asia, including Benelux Flowers and Food Pte Ltd, Cold Storage and NTUC Supermarkets.
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR COUNTRY-OF-ORIGIN BRANDING
The strict set of rules governing the AMAG logo’s use require that it must always be used with one of five descriptors (which are written under the green and gold kangaroo triangle as part of the logo) – ‘Australian Made’, ‘Australian Grown’, ‘Product of Australia’, ‘Australian Seafood’ or ‘Australian’ (for export use only). To qualify for use of the logo, your products must meet the criteria for one of the descriptors:
- Australian Made: The product has been manufactured here (not just packaged) and 50 per cent or more of the cost of making it can be attributed to Australian materials and/or production processes.
- Australian Grown: All of the product’s significant ingredients are grown in Australia, and all, or nearly all, of the processing has been carried out in Australia.
- Product of Australia: All of the product's significant ingredients come from Australia, and all, or nearly all of the manufacturing or processing has been carried out in Australia.
- Australian Seafood: A seafood product in which all of the product's significant ingredients are grown or harvested in Australia and all, or nearly all, of the processing has been carried out in Australia.
- Australian: This descriptor can only be used in export markets. The product must satisfy the criteria for at least one of the four preceding claims, and not be misleading.
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MADE, AUSTRALIAN GROWN LOGO
The green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo is the only registered country-of-origin certification trademark for the full range of genuine Australian products and produce.
The AMAG logo is designed to support growers, processors and manufacturers in Australia by helping businesses to clearly identify to consumers that their products are Australian. At the same time, it provides consumers with a highly recognised and trusted symbol for genuine Aussie products and produce. It does both of these things in conjunction with a campaign encouraging consumers to look for the logo when shopping, and it has been doing this since its introduction by the Federal Government in 1986.
To use the logo goods must meet the criteria set out in the Australian Consumer Law as well as the more stringent Australian Made, Australian Grown Logo Code of Practice. For more information about the AMAG logo and how it may help your business, visit www.australianmade.com.au.
Ian Harrison is CEO of the Australian Made Campaign Limited.
This feature was originally published in the February 2015 print issue of My Business. To read more in-depth features for SME business owners immediately upon publication, subscribe to My Business magazine now.