Undoubtedly, achieving export success is a feat which does not happen by chance. Indeed the ability to positively position a country’s products and services in new markets takes strategic planning, insight and strong branding. Understanding this, the Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) is currently undertaking a national brand review and reimaging project.
The Government of Saint Lucia through TEPA has secured assistance from the International Trade Centre (ITC) to establish a national brand and operational guidelines for Saint Lucia’s exports. The project seeks to revitalize, fine tune and convert the island’s existing “Taste of Saint Lucia” TOSL trademark into a more sustainable and commercial brand in order to increase visibility and recognition in target markets.
TEPA’s Andrena Simon explains that the intention is to develop and establish a common national brand and corresponding brand image which will be carried by approved Saint Lucian products and services. In turn specific onus will be placed on positively positioning the brand in target international markets, so individuals within those markets would automatically know that any product or service which carries that brand image is not only from Saint Lucia but is also of exceptionally high standard and quality.
To this end, Simon noted that the rebranding and reimaging project will prove a collaborative venture which will involve awareness building and training of key stakeholders and private entities, as well as focus group and workshops with key stakeholders in order to solicit their contribution and ensure their participation in the process of formulating the new brand.
Last month, TEPA hosted two such workshops with manufacturers, stakeholders, customers and other related actors at the Conference Room, Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport, Union. Held from March 28th to 29th, the workshops sought to not only increase awareness among stakeholders on the importance of establishing a joint brand, and specific brand export guidelines, but also to gain feedback, input and insight from stakeholders regarding the brand message.
“Stakeholder input is extremely vital as we seek to develop the new brand. Without the buy in from stakeholders, the private sector, local manufactures and consumers there is no way the brand can be successful,” offered Simon. “The development of the brand has to be a collaborative venture, so the workshops gave stakeholders and the private sector an opportunity to provide insight and input as to what they think needs to be considered when developing the brand.”
Further, Simon noted that last month’s workshops also sought to facilitate capacity building, with participants receiving training on branding for their specific products and services by the ITC.
“Having the right image and brand for St Lucian exports is vital not just in regards to increasing our visibility in markets,” said Simon. “It will help us compete more efficiently and will also provide us with one common platform whereby we can promote everything St Lucian.”