Things Australians hate about Marketing: No. 3: Aussies aren’t impressed by tall poppies

Perhaps it’s one of the uglier sides of the Aussie character, this pleasure which so many Australians seem to derive from seeing highly successful people being brought low.
I’ve noticed, though, this is seldom a fate suffered by elite sports stars, but can apply particularly to business people. Why is this?

Seems to me the ugliness of the tall poppy syndrome is actually to do with much more endearing Australian traits. A lot of Aussie character was forged through hardship. Australia’s favourite poem; A Sunburnt Country by Henry Lawson is eloquent testimony to this perception. Life was really tough for the early settlers and to this day the “Working Class Man” is still celebrated at the true Aussie hero.
Australians find the image of highly successful and wealthy people flaunting their wealth to be highly distasteful. This is backed by an innate suspicion their wealth was acquired by taking advantage of their fellow man or, at the very least, just being lucky. Perhaps that’s why sports stars are more respected, there’s no denying the basis of their success.

So how does this relate to marketing?

Successful brand marketing is all about creating a widespread love affair for a brand. And unlike other cultures, Australians aren’t likely to fall in love with a brand because of a connotation of elitism.
SME operators in particular need to remember that simply promoting their brand as “the best” will never be a successful marketing strategy. Instead they need to DEMONSTRATE why their product or service is so good. And if it’s going to convince Australians, those reasons had better be good.

Larger Australian brand owners must avoid the temptation to reproduce campaigns which have been successful in the USA or the UK. They won’t necessarily translate to an Australian context.

2011-06-21T21:16:19+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Mark Gibbs has broad experience as a marketing manager and graphic designer. He holds an MBA with a marketing specialisation. Mark runs a consultancy called MadLab: The Marketing And Design Laboratory. Based in Adelaide, he operates around Australia.