Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Adelaide Hills - Price Marks, Trust Marks and Love Marks

In brand management we’ve been discussing what a brand is from the perspective of Price Marks, Trust Marks and Love Marks (as per Uncles text “Perspectives on Brand Management”).  You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a blog on the Adelaide Hills.  Everything and nothing I suppose.  I just thought it might be cool to try and keep with the Adelaide Hills theme and mix a travel blog with some marketing insight.  Happy to take the criticism....

Price Marks
It’s apple and pear season in the Adelaide Hills and harvest is in full swing.  Excellent quality and above average yields, but a depressed market brought about by a high Aussie dollar impacting exports and price pressures from supermarket discounting campaigns.   Apples and pears are examples of price marks.

Whilst an apple may carry a sticker denoting the name of the orchard or grower, they are otherwise brand free.  Attempts to differentiate the product lay in the form of promoting the region, variety and, in fruit market circles, the orchard.  To Mr Mum and Dad consumer these variations go largely unnoticed.  Sure, we care if it’s a Fuji or a pink lady, and the locavore within us probably cares if it’s locally grown (New Zealand apples and fair trade agreements are four letter words in the Adelaide Hills).  But that’s where it ends.  The consumer in the supermarket or greengrocer isn’t going to demand apples from Joe Smith’s orchard over those of Fred Bloggs.  In the end, at the point of purchase, it mainly comes down to a price driven purchase decision.  Price too high and you’re just the rotten fruit at the bottom of the tree (metaphorically speaking..).

Trust Marks
Living in the hills I love good wine and good food.  It’s hard not to when you’re surrounded by it.  Cheese is one of my biggest weaknesses (that’s almost a cliché job interview answer).  There are a few award-winning cheese producers in the Adelaide Hills, but none rocks my world more than Udder Delights.

Udder Delights make fantastic cheese and I highly recommend it (in fact I’ll make my next Adelaide Hills blog about Udder Delights).  They produce a whole range of cheese varieties in my home town of Lobethal, and sell via their own branded cheese cellar in Hahndorf, as well as via gourmet stores and supermarkets nationally.  The logo, branding and package design is distinctive and consistent across all products in their range.  

Trust marks are borne from projecting and building a confidence in a brand through consistency – consistency in labelling, consistency in quality, consistency in customer service, etc.  It’s about consumers sampling your brand, enjoying the experience, recalling your brand, repurchasing your brand and being similarly satisfied, and repeating.  Attitudes form and consumers come to trust your brand.

Udder Delights do a bloody good job of this.  I haven’t managed to get through their entire product range, yet somehow I know that it’s all good.  It’s reliable.  It’s quality.  It’s consistent.  

Oh, and do yourself a big favour......grab an Udder Delights triple cream brie and a bottle of Bird In Hand Chardonnay, and sit back, relax and listen to that soft harmonious note which is the universe turning smoothly on its celestial gyros...

Love Marks
It’s interesting what Adelaideans recommend to interstate or overseas visitors as suggested destinations that they simply must visit while in South Australia.  Even more interesting is that, more often than not, the usual suspects are suggested – irrespective of whether the suggestor has been there recently, or ever been there at all.  If a place can be a brand, and a brand can be a lovemark, then in terms of Adelaide Hills destinations I would go so far as to declare Hahndorf as South Australia’s love mark.

The idea of lovemarks is that they are bigger than brands.  A lovemark is about passion, love, emotional connectivity.  It’s about the heart more than the mind.  Brand image, brand awareness and brand equity are all products of the mind. Lovemarks are products of the heart.

South Australians LOVE Hahndorf!  Despite various bastardisations including a number of dubious developments, the entry of multi-nationals and the loss of the traditional German feel that made the town unique, Hahndorf remains on the top of many people’s itinerary, thanks in part to the recommendations of others who have elevated the town to lofty heights (many of whom have not been there in years).  I can see how it’s possible.  Good company, good food, good wine, good service and good experiences all combine to create good memories.  Stick this in the repeat cycle and enjoy these experiences several times and it can work to create intimate and emotional connections, from which commitment is borne.

Don’t get me wrong – I like Hahndorf!  It has many cool shops, and many a fine eatery.  I eat there regularly.  I take my interstate visitors there too.  And I recommend it to interstate and overseas visitors.  It’s just Hahndorf is not the be all and end all of the Adelaide Hills to me.  Just as you can’t say you’ve seen all of France because you’ve been to Paris, you can’t say you’ve seen the Adelaide Hills because you’ve been to Hahndorf.  We’re so much more than that, despite what the fanbois may say.  Hell, are the Adelaide Hills MY lovemark???

What do you think?  Is Hahndorf South Australia’s love mark?

1 comment:

  1. I agree Scott that there are more to the hills than Hahndorf!

    I agree that Hahndorf would have to be SA's lovemark, perhaps a close second might be Glenelg?