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14th November 2008, Sydney

AWI launches aggressive wool marketing push into China

 

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has launched its biggest marketing campaign in China for more than a decade. For the first time Australian Merino wool will utilise guerilla marketing techniques with a heavy focus on selling the Woolmark brand story to Chinese online communities.

According to the Chairman of AWI, Brian van Rooyen, the thrust of the campaign covers five cities across China with the potential to reach more than 15 million people. "This is an exciting development involving partnerships with eight department stores and more than 35 Chinese knitwear brands and Woolmark licensees," Mr van Rooyen said.

"It will result in a 5% increase in unit sales of Australian Merino knitwear for all partners involved and a 20% increase for foot traffic." He said significantly the campaign would build brand awareness of the Woolmark. "lt will restore the credibility of the Woolmark brand and license to Chinese licensees as a device which provides differentiation and drives demand," he said.

"This is an example of how AWI can use dynamic and creative marketing techniques at a comparatively low cost in order to promote wool in key markets. Mr van Rooyen said the campaign would promote Australian Merino to the domestic market in China. "China is the perfect place to launch this approach, particularly given the global economic slowdown and the fears of a recession in western markets," he said.

Over the last decade, due to a lack of marketing support, Woolmark licensee numbers in China have dropped each year by 15% resulting in low consumer awareness of the Woolmark.  By using a well-known Chinese fashion 'blogger' and other online marketing techniques, younger fashion markets will be exposed to the Woolmark. After a few weeks the campaign is already exceeding its targets for online visits. The online component is being driven by a consumer website at www.merinotouch.com.cn .

Of the 500 current apparel licensees in China 60% are in the knitwear business. "These licensees require AWI to assist them educating the consumer as to the value of Australian Merino and the meaning of the Woolmark," he said.

Conventional marketing media in China is incredibly expensive, so AWI has decided that this integrated off-line / online strategy will give the best return with its business partners contributing three times AWI's marketing contribution. The campaign began in late October and will run until the 7th of December. Mr van Rooyen said it was a tangible example of AWI's key account management system in action.

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