Every now and then we receive quite lengthy well-thought out comments and feedback from our AFA Members which simply highlights the missed opportunities and ways in which our Members could better access our services. Here is an excerpt from a recent email for your consideration and to ponder if you are in the same boat. (names and places have been removed to protect anonymity).

Hope you are well!

I am hoping you can take some time to consider a couple of thoughts that I have as follows:   I am a member of the AFA and another Association, and we had a meeting last night, and discussed this at length.

Members of the other Association are considering adding extra money for an advertising campaign to promote Australian made on TV, and other channels.  The main point would be to make the Australian public aware that goods are still made here and the dangers of buying overseas, such as poisons in foam, etc.  Without going into too much detail, and making this mail overly long,  I suggested that AFA may also be interested in doing a combined campaign along with other states?  Is this something you would be interested in talking about further?

A couple of recent experiences.  

  • A member went to check out a well-known retailer store, and the sales person said that no furniture is made in Australia anymore and it all comes from Asia.  This is obviously a lie and if they continue saying this it can have an adverse effect.
  • A young lady in her late twenties came into our shop looking for Australian made, and could not find anything on google where to buy it except for our shop, and we don’t retail!
  • We are constantly showing people through our factory, mainly interior designers, and they can’t believe that furniture is actually still made 100% in Australia.

We keep hearing about all these people that do not know that stuff is still made in Australia, and more importantly they don’t know how bad some imported furniture can be for people’s health.  

Help.’

 
Our response to these issues would be as follows:
 
Dear Help,

Some years ago the AFA along with a number of other Associations invested many hundreds of thousands of dollars in an advertising campaign on the advice of a number of key stakeholders, but which was not generally supported by the industry. Not a great spend of valuable Member funds and not a mistake we would be likely to repeat. However, those AFA Members who are also members of the Australian Made campaign do have access to AMCL marketing support, which the AFA is more than happy to promote and share more broadly via our now significant, low-cost media channels. We just need to be advised of your content.

As for the experience encountered in the retail outlet, unfortunately many of our national retailers are foregoing formal product training for a number of reasons including the turnover and increased number of transient staff, attempts to reduce staff training costs, limited access to product training or product information because much of the product is in fact imported and does not come with detailed information, or consumers simply aren’t demanding it. This is a very risky strategy and can result in dangerous products being sold and massive financial risks to those supplying the products to consumers. Again the AFA is more than happy to promote and share information about GREAT AFA Member products and services more broadly via our now significant, low-cost media channels. We just need the content.

The AFA has secured the services of House of Home to assist AFA Members to access low cost online promotional tools, the services of Crystal Consulting to assist in developing low-cost digital marketing strategies and access to the AFA’s own channels which you can follow, share and comment on – just to name a few. The most important role we can play at the moment is to continue to put pressure on governments to support our industry, manage government procurement to increase uptake of Australian products, clamp down on non-compliant illegal products entering Australia and take advantage of the trade war and tariff increases that have been initiated by the US.

So whilst it is not a silver bullet, and is impacted by a number of factors, selling Australian made and Australian businesses continues to be our focus, even though it looks a little different to what it did some years ago, this industry is still thriving and growing. Check out the list of services on offer and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an issues you’d like to raise, but just remember to support your Association and if you’re not already, then become an AFA Member!

The most critical point that needs to be made this week is that if YOU continue to do business with non AFA Members, then you are simply helping non-compliant businesses to flourish. It’s your choice. Even more importantly, if you are an AFA Member and you are not using this privilege to your advantage, then get on with it. We’re here to help. If you’re not an AFA Member, then what are you waiting for?