Brands that successfully tap into the Australian ideal of egalitarianism will strike a chord with today’s consumers, according to one researcher and brand strategist
Australians are engulfed by a sense of “anxiety, frustration and concern” as our egalitarianism ideals slip away, but today’s brands could help reconnect consumers with ‘Australianness’ and build an army of loyal fans in the process.
Egalitarianism, the notion that we’re all equal, is our dominant ideal, according to researcher and brand strategist Neale Cotton.
This ideal has given rise to the belief that no one in our society is superior or inferior, everyone is equally and given a ‘fair go’. We also actively celebrate the underdog or Aussie battler while lopping the tall poppies down to size.
However, according to Cotton there is definitely a widening gap between our ideals are and reality.
“The gap between rich and poor is getting greater…the idea of a two speed economy and now the idea of two speed cities,” Cotton, director of brand strategy agency The Lab, said.
The Lab’s research also pointed to a loss of empathy as the majority of Australians now believe their fellow citizens can’t be trusted.
“Forty per cent of people born in Asian countries such as India and Malaysia have experienced racial discrimination over the past 12 months,” Cotton added.
Our egalitarian ideals are becoming more important to us the more they are challenged. As an example of this “hyper desire to be Australian” Cotton pointed to last year’s Anzac Day services and the record number of attendees.
“There is a huge desire to get back to our Australian ideals and this is the opportunity for brands,” Cotton said.
A brand could speak to our fondness of underdogs by telling a story of courage and struggle or adopt a self-depreciating style of humour.
Cotton used comedy group The Chasers as a good example of the power of self-depreciating humour. The majority of the members all studied law but their style of humour made them accessible.
Offering a premium product in casual setting would also speak to our ideals, according to Cotton who used the example of healthy burger chain Grill’d versus competitor Urban Burger. They both offer premium burgers but Grill’d adopted a cheeky persona while Urban Burger has a more sophisticated and stylish feel.
A brand that is doing a good job at speaking to the Australian ideals, as mapped out in the graphs below, is Bega Cheese.
Cotton, who works with the brand via his agency The Lab, said Bega Cheese is “one of Australia’s most successful brands”.
“It is the fourth biggest selling brand in supermarkets, and they are priced at a premium. They balance this superior stature with endearing stories of humility and hard work.”
For an example of a Bega Cheese ad see the video below.
As our ideals slip away Cotton said brands have a “great opportunity to put the markers of egalitarianism into our society” and win a place in the hearts of consumers who are aching to return to the ‘good old times’.
Cotton was speaking at a recent French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry event where Russel Howcroft, Ten's executive general manager, spoke about the need to celebrate the buyers of creative ideas.