Local is Lekker – Patriotism Pays!
Many of us have seen the Proudly South African logo displayed on locally produced products or services. The National Buy Local Campaign, Proudly South African, which stems from a strong desire for job creation, national pride and unity, originated from the 1998 Presidential Jobs Summit called by former President Nelson Mandela. After extensive international research, the Proudly SA Campaign was launched in October 2001. From the onset this initiative was strongly linked to the need for enhancing the competitiveness of local businesses. The capacity of the private and public sector to grow and contribute to employment creation and economic growth, within the context of sustainability, was based on consumer support for locally-produced products and services that meet high quality standards.
The Proudly SA Campaign took on the role of acting as activist in support of home-grown enterprises and their quality products and services. Not only is it important to look at creating more employment opportunities, but safeguarding existing jobs is equally essential. Dalene du Preez, Proudly SA Executive Manager for Marketing and Communications believes that by promoting consumer preference for the products and services of home grown companies, consumers are contributing to realising this objective. “By supporting local industries in distress such as clothing, textiles, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture, the potential to create meaningful employment for thousands of people is greatly enhanced”, enthuses Du Preez.
Businesses have to meet specific criteria in order to qualify for “Proudly SA” membership, namely:
• Adhere to high quality standards and provide evidence that the company complies with the requirements of the relevant industry body or recognised standards measure;
• The company’s products or services must incur at least 50% of its production costs, including labour, in South Africa, and be “substantially transformed”;
• It must adhere to fair labour and employment practices;
• It must be committed to upholding sound environmental principles and standards.
Once membership has been approved, an entity may apply the Campaign’s logo on its stationary, website, other marketing applications and branding material. Only complying products that have been included in the membership fee may bear the logo on the packaging. Furthermore, the Campaign has a set of corporate identity requirements such as colour codes and typefaces that assist in standardising logo application.
It’s important to keep in mind that deriving maximum benefit from membership is a two- way street. The Campaign follows a sector-based approach and represents an ideal platform for members to form strategic partnerships with a range of stakeholders - including the four constituencies (organised business, organised labour, community organisations and government).
Members benefit from a set of marketing tools including the Member’s Portal; attendance of Networking Forums through which businesses can meet and engage captains of industry; optimise B2B and B2G opportunities; sector specific workshops, receive updates via an electronic newsletter; exclusive access to the Proud! Magazine, interactive search facility on the Proudly SA website and participation in other key projects such as the Proudly SA HomeGrown Awards, Buy Local Indaba, etc.
Equally important are the consumers who are guaranteed to purchase products and services of the highest standard. Proudly SA ensures this by strictly evaluating all new member applications against the Campaign’s criteria and proof of meeting industry standards. The compliance unit of the Campaign re-evaluates members’ compliance with the set of criteria when the annual membership renewal application is lodged. Spot Audits are also performed throughout the year to ensure that members remain compliant and live up to the uplifting and empowering criteria to which they have subscribed. The Campaign itself is ISO9001:2000 certified, signifying its commitment to quality business processes and systems and continuous improvement.
The “Buy Local” tool is internationally acknowledged as a means of promoting sustainable growth for local development, creating a push-pull effect in terms of quality enhancement, market readiness and increased consumer demand. The Proudly SA Campaign has assured us that the successes of members with whom they are engaging actively, and case studies such as that of SA’s first Proudly SA town, Clarens in the Free State, have accounted for the success of the “Buy Local” mechanism which helps to perpetuate a virtuous circle, so to speak.
Every Rand that is spent locally contributes to the sustainability of local businesses and enhances their capacity to contribute to employment creation and economic growth. “Developing a viable formula for measuring the impact of local purchasing behaviour on job creation would greatly benefit all stakeholders” says Du Preez.
As every campaign has its challenges, Proudly SA is no exception. Having to maintain a continuous above-the-line presence often proves to be expensive, especially when utilising television. The Proudly SA Campaign is also confronted with having to find new ways of increasing awareness and influencing perceptions about “Buy Local” purchasing behaviour and local procurement. In order to address these challenges, Proudly SA is working closely with strategic partners and constituencies and has managed to acquire great support for “Buy Local”.
By using both below and above-the-line marketing and other key projects such as the Buy Local Indaba and Proudly SA HomeGrown Awards, they are continuously ensuring that there’s awareness of the Proudly SA logo. “It is important that the brand is visible and therefore members are encouraged to display the logo prominently on their stationery and marketing material, as well as on their qualifying products” Du Preez reiterated. It is the awareness of the logo and what it signifies that makes this Campaign well-established. Members become the ambassadors for the brand.
In summary, all businesses can benefit from their association with this highly visible and internationally respected brand which has earned its Superbrand Status. By assisting local enterprises in building their sustainability through local support (Buy Local) for economic growth and social security, the Proudly SA Campaign is involved in building our country’s pride in our own and overall prosperity – in support of our developmental agenda.