Brand SA evolving the states buy local campaign with insights from market research

After being resurrected by the Malinauskas government, Brand SA re-emerged in 2022 with a remit to build on the ‘buy local’ messaging previously promoted through the ‘I Choose SA’ campaign.

Before commencing the campaign planning, Brand SA commissioned Square Holes to undertake market research relating to metropolitan and regional grocery shopping habits, ‘buy local’ attitudes and current brand equity and resonance with the ‘I Choose SA’ campaign.

Jessica Douglas, Manager of Brand SA, in the Department for Trade and Investment, says that Square Holes was a natural choice due to existing insights established with the pre-Marshall era Brand SA.

“We knew that there were historical insights available, and we really wanted to get a refreshed view of those, so it made sense to come back to Square Holes,” says Douglas.

The intention of the research was to inform future Brand SA led advertising and promotion to encourage growth in spend within the state. The major question was whether to build on the previous campaign or move in a new direction.

“As part of the election commitment, we were set to deliver a buy local campaign and had to decide whether to do that as a new campaign, or carry on the previous, legacy campaign ‘I Choose SA’,” says Douglas.

At a baseline the research confirmed that South Australian’s understand the positives around supporting local and are mostly inclined to shop South Australian owned and produced products, as long as they are easily identifiable.

“We learned from the research (but I think we knew already!), that South Australians are typically proud and parochial consumers who want to look after local people and support our own community. Knowing that this is important to them, being able to identify what is local is key to acting on that,” says Douglas.

One key statistic from the research was that while 86% of South Australian shoppers want to buy local and see it as important, 53% of those surveyed described themselves as ‘passive’ shoppers, indicating that they generally look for SA-made products, but don’t go out of their way to purchase. A fundamental barrier for these shoppers was not knowing what products were local. According to Jessica, this statistic highlighted two issues that Brand SA’s renewed campaign needed to solve.

“We found we had two problems to solve. One was to motivate people to act, to care more and be less passive. And that was about reminding them of the reasons why it’s important to shop local,” says Douglas.

“The second, was making it easier to recognise what’s local when they are out and about, and that’s where the ‘Buy SA for SA’ branding on product and shelf comes in. The in-store experience of actually seeing the tickets on shelf can be a circuit breaker for passive shoppers. We know that people tend to shop habitually, buying what they always buy or what’s on sale because they see a big yellow ticket. What we’re hoping is that seeing a red and white ‘Buy SA’ ticket can have a similar action, in terms of making people stop and notice what is local and reconsider their choice of product.”

Another key demographic for Brand SA to consult with was retailers – including the major supermarket players.

“The retailer view was important, particularly because some of them were still promoting ‘I Choose SA’, as a legacy from the 2017 campaign.  We knew that any new campaign would depend on their buy-in, cooperation and execution in store,” says Douglas.

A key finding was that the state logo held strong resonance for the community, but that the ‘I Choose SA’ tagline failed to convey the value of shopping local. In response to the research results, the team at Brand SA worked with local agency, Showpony, to conceptualise and launch the ‘Buy SA for SA’ campaign, with a clearer directive around the benefits of buying SA products for the benefit of the SA economy.

As a result of Square Holes research findings, the Buy SA For SA campaign includes an emotive TV and radio campaign, featuring a range of South Australian products, designed to elicit pride in the audience. This is supported by outdoor, digital, social and local brand testimonials to reinforce the benefits of buying local. In store activation in the form of product tickets, shelf signage and countertop point-of-sale are designed to prompt action at the time of purchase.

Importantly, the new campaign puts the state logo, with all of its equity, front and center.

“We’re asking South Australian businesses to use the logo, consumers to look for the logo, and retailers to help execute it,” says Douglas.

“Buy SA For SA is a flexible campaign platform intended to run as an ongoing, always-on campaign, which can be activated and tailored around key periods as highlighted by recent ‘Buy SA for Christmas’ activity.”

Square Holes offers customised research for leaders and innovators in local and global markets. For more information and to submit a quote please contact us for a no obligations chat.

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