OECS Secretariat, St. Lucia – Two UK based Design and Branding firms have committed to help OECS Manufacturers become more competitive. This follows a recent series of workshop seminars on “Branding and Packaging” organised by the OECS Secretariat’s Export Development Unit.
The firms of Brand 42 and Nicholas Rhodes Design and Direction spent several days with OECS manufacturers at recent regional workshops in Dominica and Saint Lucia, sharing cutting edge methods to help make their respective products more marketable.
Nicholas Rhodes of Design and Direction believes the workshops have revolutionized the branding and packaging concepts of the participating OECS manufacturers: “To be totally frank I think they will not be able to see the market the same way again. Those were the sort of reports we were getting. People will be going to see the supermarket shelves with a completely new set of eyes. It may be a one way shift that isn’t “gonna” go back. We would like to re-visit their product in the not too distant future to see what’s changed.”
Adge Gittins (Right of Photo) of Brand 42 says both marketing firms are ready to maintain interaction with the OECS Manufacturers to help ensure their new look product becomes a reality: “They have acknowledged the market place and they have seen that there are so many areas within the market where there is no difference. For instance, if you go to the ketchup area everything is red. You don’t see a state of difference on the shelf. So now they have been able to see those opportune moments, it will be great for them to capture them and start implementing their designs to fit. I really want to see the future of their brands move forward. I think most of the products they have are incredible. The branding does need help. But for the future we are keen to keep that relationship. What we would love to do is assess them over a three to six month period and if anything to make sure that what they have learnt is moving forward.”
Brand 42 and Design and Direction, which are associated with household names such as Puma, DuPont and CNN, emphasized to the OECS manufacturers the strategic importance of making their products stand out on the market at the retail and wholesale levels. Both firms also commended the idea by the OECS Export Development Unit to organize the workshop.
Meanwhile OECS EDU Officer Damien Sorhaindo says OECS manufactures now have additional tools to help them further develop the design concepts and branding of their products to make them more competitive: “That is what we are trying to promote here at OECS EDU. They have the tools to develop their brand strategies in house, before taking their ideas to a design firm, which will save them a lot of time and money in the long run. . We encourage the OECS manufacturers to use the tools they gained such as mapping their brand profile, comparing their profile to that of their competitors, as well as telling appealing stories that are exclusive to their products.”
Sorhaindo says once the commitment is shown by OECS Manufactures to use the tools they were provided during the workshops, the OECS Export Development Unit will consider having the product design and branding firms return to the region for follow up hands-on branding and design work with the individual firms.