As marketers in the food and drink sector we compete in a global showcase against brand names and iconic images.
If I were to offer you a soft drink of cola, your immediate thought is most likely Coca Cola or a cheeseburger, most of us would channel thoughts towards McDonald’s.
Whether you like these products and brands or not, that is the power of marketing a brand.
A strong marketing strategy by these large global companies, costing billions of pounds, has paid off and now instantly recognisable to you. As you go about your daily life in everything you do you are confronted by brands and images that your brain processes without even thinking about it.
Here in Scotland we have a very well-known and recognised global brand and that is the ‘Scottish’ brand, instantly recognised and known as a quality product across all continents.
Overseas exports and sales continue to expand and selling our brand and image was never more crucial. From the hills and glens across the Highlands to the rough and rugged coastlines, and everything in between, it sets the scene for provenance and a Sottish narrative which we should never undervalue.
Whisky and salmon have been a huge success story in the international arena on many fronts – quality products, available all year round, great origin behind the products and both scream ‘Scottish provenance’.
This success needs to be protected and that is the job of Food Standards Scotland (FSS). An agency which is the intelligence body that protects consumers and producers from unscrupulous traders who are duping the public with putting jobs and business reputation at risk.
Sadly, since the days of the Horsemeat scandal, never has it been more important that we protect consumers, and the significance of the companies that supply the markets.
Branded products can attract premium returns however; we need to appreciate why. Rules and regulations are costly to businesses and the variables in cost of production with living wage, pension contributions, business rates, energy costs, cost of raw materials, packaging and transport all contribute to overheads that have to be absorbed into production expenditures, pushing the cost of premium products up.
Regional branding is equally of importance and how it fits into that Scottish niche. Aberdeen City and Shire is a brand in its own entity that we need to promote and secure its place now and for the long term.
The oil and gas energy sector is predicted to decrease over the next 35 years. Now is the time to prepare for securing prosperity by way of increasing our regional brand as a place to do business.
With world-renowned universities, oil and gas energy hubs, tourism, food and drink and so many, now is the time to prepare and lay foundations for the next generation. This all leads back to strength and power of brand – let’s lead the way by using our expertise and marketing to sell the north-east as part of ‘Brand Scotland’.