David Thompson wins John Ralph Essay Competition

David Thompson assisting at Open Day

David Thompson, Web Development and Communications Officer from Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, recently won the Australian Farm Institute's 2014 John Ralph Essay competition. The competition posed writers a question about an issue of concern in the industry: "Does the Australian agricultural sector need a common national brand to promote its products in international and domestic markets?"

In his winning essay, David outlined an approach extending the popular and widely successful international tourism campaign 'Restaurant Australia' into a brand that could represent the pinnacle of agricultural produce while capitalising on Australia's iconic destinations and food experiences. David's suggested approach for Agriculture Australia was to create a brand, "Restaurant Australia Ready".

David was presented the award at the 2014 Agriculture Roundtable Conference in Melbourne on Wednesday 12 November in front of an audience including leaders and CEOs of agricultural industries. His essay will also be published in the Summer edition of Farm Policy Journal (opens in a new window).

David outlines his recommendations below:

Agriculture has so much to offer and Australian farmers produce incredible quality produce with much less subsidy and assistance than international competitors. A strong national brand would build on our strengths and, if executed well, the branding initiative could address some of the concerns within the industry about supermarket power, high costs, lack of differentiation and lack of recognition for farmers.

My suggested 'Restaurant Australia Ready' brand combines three meaningful elements – great food experiences, iconic Australian destinations and a measure of assured trust – and packages them into a brand for agriculture that builds on the investment of Restaurant Australia's tourism brand. For example:

"Restaurant Australia Ready produce is certified and assured to be worthy of the finest restaurants anywhere in the world, produced in Australia under a glorious sun by our friendly, resilient and hardworking growers to bring you a food experience that will make you want to come back for more".

This extends the brand attributes that have been established over many years by the tourism industry and capitalises on everything good about both Australia and its food experiences. By integrating the brand this way, we build on the experiential opportunities that the Restaurant Australia tourism campaign aims to achieve, and we develop recognition and value across both domestic and international markets.