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What the press has been saying...

Everyone has something to say. So we gathered what's been said in the press recently below.

Retail Rising
Sunday Business Post, August, 2009

It’s official. Our verdant land of green is once again feeling the all too familiar pressure of infiltration of an old foe. Borders are being broken to accommadate the invasion of foreign brands. Brace yourself, a retail rising of revolutionary proportions is at hand! » Read more

Retail Rising

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It’s official. Our verdant land of green is once again feeling the all too familiar pressure of infiltration of an old foe. Borders are being broken to accommadate the invasion of foreign brands. Brace yourself, a retail rising of revolutionary proportions is at hand!

As the dust settles on the shelves of unsympathetic retail giants, the realisation is starting to become all too clear, we have a fight on our hands. Our independence, Irishness, all the traits that this country and our brands have built our individuality upon are being threatened. The chilling reminder of a not so distant past lingers. At times like this its important to sit and reflect. Could we be back to were it all started? Is ‘1916’ here once more? Gone are the militant weapons and artillery of collonization. The new stealth-like assult is coming from a more cunning of strategies - through our stomachs and our pockets!!

How did this all happen? After so many arduous years of pulling ourselves up, dusting oursleves off and growing as our own culture. We have become a nation heaving with exceptional Irish brands. Nonetheless, our brands, our identity, our hallmark of Irishness is in the balance. As brand citizens, it is our duty to defend and protect. With beloved Irish brands that make a regular appearance in our shopping basket set to dissappear, what should we the Irish public be doing? Standing up and taking responsibility for our part in this mess is what will be our saving grace. Burying our heads in the sand and hoping for the best will just not do! Blaming current economic circumstances for choices we make in the supermarket will only further our brands into distress. Forward thinking and backing our Irish brands is essential - we must see the longterm picture!

A call to action is needed. A call to all the nation to rise up, buy Irish and invest in our country’s future. With our brands slowly vanishing before our very eyes and consumer choice drying up, will this evaporation of Irishness call us to take action?

Today’s retail environment is indeed a sad development and a reflection on us rather than a reflection on the foreign supermarket chains that are implementing this change. These supermarket leaders know they can limit our choice because of what they see as the total ambivalence and a la carte approach Irish people now have for patriotism or buying Irish. Didn’t we prove this by paying higher prices for so many years ? It would be a bit hypocritical of us to start criticizing these actions when Irish people are voting with their feet and running like lemmings across the border or anywhere they can stretch a euro. The questions remains, will we continue to be the architects of our own downfall?

Unlike 1916, we need not march down the streets of O’Connell Street to stand and fight for our independence. A difference can be made from our own homes. As the responsible citizens of Ireland, it is our duty to stand united and take a collaborative action to curb this attack on our brands. Whether it be Cork or Cavan, Dublin or Donegal, we can all play our part in campaigning for our Irish brands to remain pivotal on our supermarket shelves. Securing our identity, our jobs and most of all our Irishness.

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Battle of the Brands
Sunday Business Post, 19th July, 2009

When faced with the prospect of a grim future, the Irish spirit can stir a note of optimism in even the most pessimistic of non-believers. Brand loyalty is being shoved aside in favour of cheaper, more budget-friendly, counterfeit brands. » Read more

Battle of the Brands

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When faced with the prospect of a grim future, the Irish spirit can stir a note of optimism in even the most pessimistic of non-believers. Brand loyalty is being shoved aside in favour of cheaper, more budget-friendly, counterfeit brands.

Rediscovering what makes our brands uniquely distinct from those of our worldwide competitors is what will be our driving force on the difficult, albeit not impossible, road ahead. Globalisation tends to blur the lines of difference between brands, so we must establish what makes us valued and unique, something which we seem to have lost faith in - but something in which we desperately need to believe.

What makes Irish brands celebrated and iconic? Why is it of vital importance that we continue to support and cultivate them? Like losing a part of yourself, of your history and who you are, losing an Irish brand could be a small step towards losing national identity.

With the battle of the brands still raging, the need for the familiar in this unstable climate is a must. So let's look at our green credentials and why it is that, even in times of uncertainty, we must not lose hope.

The Kerrygold brand is a perfect example of one that has held a special place in the consciousness of the Irish people. Symbolically Irish, Kerrygold butter, like all butters made in Ireland, is distinctively natural in taste and golden in colour. It automatically stands out among rival imitations whose 'finest' produce cannot compete. Guinness, Odlums, Barry's Tea, Tayto Crisps, like Kerrygold are all brands that set us apart. They are quintessentially Irish brands. We couldn't picture Irish life without them, but is their place in our heart about to be taken over?

Irish brands are facing a challenge from imitators but, no matter what the price tag, can you really put a cost on the difference in quality and taste?

You can bet your last euro that most Irish people, while abroad, will pine for a mug of decent scald blended to Irish tastes or a hearty Irish rasher sandwich. Yet a day may come when there are no familiar Irish food brands on supermarket shelves. Is this something that we have accepted? Are our Irish brands slowly melting away? That X-factor, those steadfast brands that scream 'Irish' are fast becoming an endangered species.

Irish retailers and consumers are our brand citizens, who need to respect the importance of our brands to prevent them becoming extinct. Yes indeed, thinking more locally can make all the difference.

Irish brands have made their mark over the years, earning them a staple position on our weekly grocery list. With clear branding messages they have won global recognition too.

Retailers and consumers alike need to tackle the recession with a positive, open minded attitude. Proud, confident Irish brands can act as a support and provide a sense of stability in an otherwise confusing climate. Like a lapel pin of green, white and orange, these brands are our badge brands. They are our touchstones and they will be our guaranteed waypoints on the roadmap to this country's ultimate economic success.

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Every Little Helps! Who?
Sunday Business Post, Sunday 24th May, 2009

With the cloud of recession continuing to loom, many consumers are keeping a firm grasp of the purse strings. While we may see our frugal spending as a positive move towards restoring the economy, it also means that the national flag of our home brands is slowly wilting as consumers' primary consideration becomes cost. » Read more

Every little helps! Who?

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With the cloud of recession continuing to loom, many consumers are keeping a firm grasp of the purse strings. While we may see our frugal spending as a positive move towards restoring the economy, it also means that the national flag of our home brands is slowly wilting as consumers' primary consideration becomes cost.

Tesco's decision to start switching from Irish suppliers to British for some international brands in order to cut prices in our stores will no doubt cause repercussions and will lead to redundancies.

Undoubtedly, Tesco guarantees you will wind up spending less than you would if purchasing Irish brands. 'Every little helps' is Tesco's slogan, but I would challenge the Irish consumer to ask: "Every little helps who?"

Tesco is under colossal pressure to compete with other international brands, but how can Irish brands measure up and compete with an establishment such as Tesco, which imports, buys in bulk and supplies more than 70 million consumers?

Just like Wal-Mart, its American counterpart, Tesco seems to be putting pressure on Irish brands. Similarly to Tesco, Wal-Mart colonised the shelves of small towns without taking into account the local market; in doing so, it took away individuality.

Kudos must be given to Tesco for taking advantage of the opportunity thrown up by this recession-driven market. But at what cost to iconic Irish brands?

Consumers who now, more than ever, hold the power, need to be called to action.

What do we as paying customers want? Some British brands are now cheaper than Irish brands, so how long will it be before beloved Irish brands such as Barry's Tea, Gem Sugar, Irish Pride and Clonakilty Pudding are no longer the pick of the culinary bunch?

Tesco, now more than ever, needs to work alongside us as a nation of consumers, thinking a bit more locally. Market figures showed that Tesco had the biggest share of the Irish market last November, with a figure of 26.3 per cent, which was up 0.5 per cent from the same time in 2007.

Despite €3.15 billion revenue coming out of the 26 counties last year, the British company is set to reduce the number of Irish goods on its shelves in the coming weeks. It says it remains committed to Irish brands and we must hope this is the case.

When you buy Irish, you buy into the Irish brand, the unique identity that we have sought for so long.

A great US president with strong Irish roots once said:

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." With those words, John F Kennedy set the tone for a renewed vision of America and the task that he had at hand. This attitude is something we should reach for; many of us consumers fail to comprehend the impact our choice of brands has.

Everybody recognises the difficulties the economy is facing, therefore buying Irish can mean a lot more than a guarantee of safe, quality food that represents value for your family. Pivotally, it plays an important part in restoring our economic future, a future that is very uncertain.

This does not have to be the case. If a strong belief in the worth of our national brands is embraced, then all may not be lost. We must not lose sight of our ability as consumers to save our nation's brands.

If Irish suppliers and brands are gradually squeezed out of their home market, then their ability to grow their business, innovate with new products and support their local communities through employment will be compromised, putting the long-term future of the industry in doubt.

The time to make a stand is now - we must join together and make sure that 'Every little helps us'.

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No More Shamrocks
Marketing.ie, 2008

The changing face of Irish identity - What does it mean to be Irish? With Ireland’s recent rejection of the European Union’s Lisbon treaty and the apparently imminent death of our vaunted Celtic Tiger, this is becoming a question that is harder and harder to answer. Are we in danger of losing our Irish identity?
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No more shamrocks?
The changing face of Irish identity

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What does it mean to be Irish? With Ireland's recent rejection of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty and the death of our much vaunted Celtic Tiger, this is a question that is harder and harder to answer. Are we in danger of losing our national identity?

While Lisbon and its rejection brought the question of our identity as Irish people to the fore, the state and condition of the Irish identity has been changing independently of any treaty. It's best to stick to the knitting as it were and so, rather than examining a broad sociological shift, it's time we examine Ireland's brands and the identity crisis that could be said to be affecting some of them.

In a global world, big business is global business. It goes some way to explaining the recent shift of Irish insurance brands, Hibernian and Eagle Star, to the use of their parent companies' brands, namely Aviva and Zurich.

There have been many voices crying out about whether or not it is a good decision to abandon brands with so many years' presence and multi-million euro equity in them. But another aspect of this is that these brands are, in a sense, leaving behind a part of their ‘Irishness' with their old names.

There is, of course, always room for change; indeed, it is a vital part of growing up, something that Ireland as a nation is still striving to do. Certain levels of change are out of our control, and nobody could blame Aviva and Zurich for wanting to bring the Irish arms of their brands into line with the rest of the market.

There are even those who say that we must make the decision between remaining stoically Irish and embracing the wider world. But the two do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Avoca is a brand that has taken to its core the idea of being Irish. Founded and developed by the Pratt family, Avoca uses its Irishness as a primary selling point and does it in such a way that has allowed the brand to move from strength to strength and to expand internationally, with locations in the US.

Branding comes from within and in a world where the phenomenon of clone towning is eating away at the individuality of our small communities, it is essential that the brands that define us truly represent our identity, or at least the ideal of that identity.
Many brands are seeking to put the stamp of what they consider to be the Irish experience in marketing. The posh student surfers of Denny's ads and the wisecracking fishermen on the Donegal Catch boat may be a far cry from Guinness' heroic depictions of GAA stars, yet they all represent aspects of the Irish identity that these brands seek to attach to their offering.

Whether it is reality, humour or aspiration, Irish consumers will react to a depiction of Irish identity that they can relate to, building a relationship with the brand and accepting it as part of their own national identity. Nowhere is this clearer than with Guinness, the brand that is almost synonymous with what it means to be Irish.
These Irish brands do more than simply reassure us of what it means to be Irish; they provide jobs for workers in Irish communities. Although they have HQs outside of Ireland and repatriate profits in the same way as all multinationals, many are still based here and their success is Ireland's success.

With a flagging economy like the one we are currently getting to grips with, indigenous companies can provide a vital boost and influx of economic activity both locally and nationally.

That said, the Irish economy may not be drifting into the doldrums many believe it to be heading towards. From our early days of stagnation to our unprecedented boom, Ireland has always been a land of extremes. What we are seeing at the moment may be nothing more than the previously roaring Celtic Tiger settling into a more relaxed pace, the pace our neighbours have been used to proceeding at for some time. Yet with this new situation comes another new Ireland, and we need to be sure of who we are and what part we will take in its future.

So is Ireland losing its identity? The answer is that it hasn't yet, and, despite the pressure of globalisation to create a homogenised world, Ireland has plenty of brand heroes left to take the Irish identity to new levels.

With a focus on homegrown Irish brands, not only will we make one more step towards keeping our economy healthy, we will be celebrating the Irish identity the way it was meant to be, through innovation and success.

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Brand can benefit from St Patrick’s Day
Irish Examiner, 16th March, 2007

Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland need to urgently address how best to use the St Patrick’s Day festival to market Ireland abroad... » Read more

Brand can benefit from St Patrick’s Day

Ireland Inc

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Podcast Interviews

Pat Kinsley on Beat Breakfast.
21st February, 2007

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The Marian Finucane Show (RTE)
17th March, 2007

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Campaign Posters

Have a look at  the some of the outdoor posters and print media used to kick start the discussion for Ireland Inc. Why not download our actioning posters and stick it up near you.

Blog

Check out all the latest news and opinions on our blog. Knowledge is power and we want to share it. Let's get a meaningful debate going on these issues facing Ireland today. Add your comments on the blog or email us directly here »

So where do we go from here?

It’s easy; Support Our Brands - Be Seen To Buy Irish...

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