Branding stories from the agri business
A brand gives an identity to a commodity and desirability to purchase. Not only does it help in quality assurance, but also repurchases have often been allied with good quality branded products, thereby increasing loyalty among the customers. Majority of agri products in India are sold to the market as commodities. However increasingly it is observed that there is greater opportunity to make profits by selling branded produce. Branding efforts in agri business in India owe their genesis to Basmati rice and since then has been extended to Darjeeling tea and other products. The efforts though, are minuscule compared to the opportunity available. While the domestic market is fraught with its own unique challenges, branding is the need of the hour in the export market. Branding is the way for developing countries to be a force of reckoning in the global food economy.
These efforts though, are minuscule compared to the opportunity available. While the domestic market is fraught with its own unique challenges, branding is the need of the hour in the export market. Branding is the way for developing countries to be a force of reckoning in the global food economy. Typically, agri produce branding has been linked to the geographical regions where they are grown. Think of cheese and wine from France which carries the “appellation d’origine contrôlée certificate” and the prestige that it enjoys. However, developing countries like India are at a disadvantage. Products from developing countries are always viewed with suspicion and a higher discount is expected by consumers in the developed world. However globally, there has been success demonstrated by developing countries in creating strong agri brands
Brazil - Viva Tango
Brazil has one of the top rated agri branding programs. Not only has Brazilian coffee been promoted extensively, but also branding programs have been in existence - Brazilian fruit, Brazilian chicken and even Brazilian Lobster tail! Brazil holds seven percent of the world’s agricultural commodity market and is the world’s third- biggest exporter of agricultural products. Agriculture is the most globalized sector of the Brazilian economy, accounting for 25 percent of GDP and 36 percent of exports. Brazil is the world’s leading exporter of: red meat (24 percent of the total), chicken (39 percent of the total), sugar, alcohol, orange juice, coffee and tobacco.
Part of Brazilians’ success can also be attributed to their acumen in market selection. Brazil’s focus for export is not the US or EU where they face trade road blocks, but the other developing countries. They understood that the greatest potential for growth in food and agricultural trade is among developing countries due to the large population and the rising income growth. Now Russia is the main buyer of Brazilian pork while Egypt is the main importer of Brazilian fresh beef and China is the biggest importer of Brazilian soy beans. Brazil has followed a strategy of diversification, globalization and brand differentiation, thereby reinventing Brazilian agricultural produce. The country today is seen as a producer of many high-quality products.
Colombia - Rebranding a nation
A well thought-out branding program for agri produce will do a great deal in even building the country brand. Perhaps the best example would be Colombia coffee. Colombia for a long time was synonymous with crime and narco terrorism until the Colombia coffee program came along. Similar to BRAZIL’S branding efforts, Colombia’s coffee growers’ federation took the initiative and started building a brand for their product back in 1959. They created the strategy that built recognition and distinction for 100 percent Colombia coffee. The aim was to emphasize coffee’s origins, on the same lines as Bordeaux for wine. It was successful too. Although it only grows about a quarter of Brazil’s coffee harvest, it is Colombia’s coffee that has the reputation for quality. Perhaps that has been the only positive thing about the country and it has changed the overall impression of the nation itself!
Experience, across the world, indicates that aggregation and quality is a precursor to branding agri business
Geographical indicator is a great tool for branding agri produce. Till recently, about 31 agriculture products including Darjeeling tea and Alphonso mango have got GI registration. Currently, the action related to GI appears concentrated on the registration of GI goods and has not made any headway in adoption of strategies for branding and promotion of GI products as well as their marketing and distribution in both domestic and export markets. It needs to be noted that GI coupled with effective marketing can mean greater profits to the local producers.