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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
6 OFF FARMMARKETING AUS For more than 12 years between the mid- 1990s and the start of the current decade, the Australian wool industry did very little marketing of its fibre. In 2009, the supply chain expressed its concern that consumers were losing touch with the fibre. So in 2010, following its acquisition of The Woolmark Company, and in pursuit of support at WoolPoll 2012 for investment in marketing, AWI began to reconnect with the supply chain and consumers. AWI recently canvassed the opinions of some major brands about their recent experience with AWI's marketing programs. "I am always conscious of not just the consumer impact of our marketing activity but the level of engagement and support we can build with partners," said Rob Langtry, AWI's Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer. "This interview process was a vital step in formulating not just a scorecard on where we have been, but where we, our customers and their consumers see priorities for the future." Here is a snapshot of what they said, in their own words... MORE INFORMATION View a video of the interviews on the Woolmark YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/WoolmarkOnline IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING "There is a simple teaching I learnt from my father, who was saying this thirty years ago: 'You need to tell the customer what wool is for, what magnificent characteristics wool has; people don't know enough about wool.' I think that [AWI] is going in the right direction, but be consistent, don't think that you have already achieved the goal; the goal needs a lot of years of persistent effort towards consumers." Paolo Zegna Chairman, Ermenegildo Zegna "I do believe that after a very quiet period for The Woolmark Company and the Woolmark symbol, it is now out there again. I had meetings in London with your representatives four or five years ago and I was very critical of them really abstaining, but I now see the Woolmark symbol out and about and I think people are recognising it. The new generation, who are buying a lot of the suits because it's all about fashion, are now realising that if you're buying a suit it should be in wool. That's what we need to do more of." Simon Berwin Berwin & Berwin "We just need to explain to them why wool is the best thing they can get ... They will finally get it, and once they get it they will be prepared to buy it and buy it in a big way." Richard Boide Director, Dormeuil "I think we are on the right way. I thank AWI for the tough work it is doing. I think it will be successful but we must continue to promote wool around the world, and the best wool, to maintain wool as the most noble of the fibres in the world." Alessandro Barberis Canonico CEO, Vitale Barberis Canonico "Considering the results of AWI action in the past few years, we can say we are very satisfied about the interaction between the customers like ours, distributors and AWI itself. I think everything has been done in the right direction because you push very strongly on communication to the consumer and B2B company to company. Particularly we are reaching the consumer which is the most important thing." Pier Luigi Lora Piana Deputy Chairman, Lora Piana "Being in fashion, one's assumption is that everyone knows where wool comes from, how it's manufactured, and how it ends up in the finished garment. But of course people don't have to think about that, all they have to do is like something and buy it. So I think [wool] does need to be marketed and I think it needs to be continually marketed, and I think it needs to be marketed in a very modern way, so that a younger generation who consume everything online, digitally, understand it as much as an older consumer who's always understood it but just needs to be reminded of it again -- that it has a place in fashion." Gordon Richardson Creative Director, Topman (Topshop) "[Wool] has been very well explained to the final consumers, better than cotton. Everyone knows more or less about Merino wool for example ... Recently I have followed the campaigns made by Woolmark and I have found them extremely useful, extremely well done." Sylvio Albini President, Albini Group "You need to initiate a lot of dialogue between the [upstream] and the [downstream] of the chain. I think getting woolgrowers to talk to all the players in the market, including consumers, is very important. I think AWI should be a platform that encourages the dialogue between the different players in the market." Gregor Thissen Executive Chairman, Scabal Group WOOLMARK IN CHINA "The Woolmark Gold label allows us to go into a market such as China where there is this aspiration to wear luxury and to have the best. To be part of the Woolmark Gold group of companies allows us to demonstrate that we are producing the best fabric in the world." David Gallimore MD, Luxury Fabrics "It's more and more important that not just the B2B business relationship but now the B2C the consumer is identifying with the Woolmark symbol. Particularly with our 100 stores in China, the Woolmark Gold symbol is now a real mark of authenticity in terms of where we source our materials from and the kind of fabric mills we use. Our premium product sales have definitely risen as a result of being able to do better marketing campaigns, and raise our game as a brand as well." Ray Clacher MD Gieves & Hawkes