26 May 2006

Labor needs a mirror in AWB rebranding call.

Australia’s Labor Opposition has jumped on the renaming and rebranding bandwagon.This time it's over the controversy surrounding the Iraq kickbacks scandal and the Cole inquiry.

According to Federal opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, the future of Australia's wheat farmers must be considered in any name change and makeover of embattled wheat exporter, the Australian Wheat Board (AWB).

Rudd said the reputation of Australia's wheat farmers must not be affected during AWB's change process.

Strangely enough Rudd seems to have got it wrong when he issued the announcement before the release of the AWB’s half-year profit result.

According Labor, AWB was expected to unveil a management clean-out, several board resignations and a name change to distance the company from the controversy. Nothing has happened, well at least not yet.

And while AWB’s half year results were poor, it dismissed the effects of the Cole enquiry on its brand, describing it as "solid" and said that wheat exports were only one part of its business and it was repositioning itself as a provider of financial services to the rural sector.

DIFFUSION thinks that the AWB would do well to examine the impact of the Cole Enquiry on both its domestic and international brand through brand equity analysis and measurement. Successive blunders from senior management seem to point to a real failure to develop more robust internal and external crisis communication planning and tracking.

More so, Rudd’s comments seem rather disingenuous considering Labor, suffering from a prolonged crisis of identity compounded by successive electoral failures, has itself failed to effectively rebrand and reposition.