The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) Test Marketing Programme (TMP) – funded by the wool industry globally, including SA – is geared to investigate how international promotion can increase the consumption of wool to the benefit of the entire industry.
Jo Dawson of international wool suppliers H Dawson, explained that the TMP highlighted the importance of industry collaboration, the innovative promotion of wool – at different levels of the value chain, a solid understanding of the value chain by all in the industry and, critically, the understanding of the demands of the end user by all in the industry. “The TMP showed how the industry can collaborate to work on a project for the benefit of the industry,” he said, adding that it is a successful and sustainable model for the future. He called on wool growers to find ways to communicate to the end user and promote wool accordingly.
“In the past the businesses at the back end of the chain such as growers, early stage processors and spinners have relied on other people to promote and market our product, but now you personally need to take part in the selling of your product. Work on your own marketing initiatives, either by yourself or in groups. Collaborate with other growers and other parts of the chain to fund wool promotion. Find ways of communicating with the end user of your product,” he reiterated.
Furthermore, he explained that wool will generally always be more expensive than competing fibres and in that sense will always be a luxury item and should be marketed accordingly with a focus on authenticity. “We need to understand that authenticity is the new premium. The consumer of today and tomorrow wants to know where her product has come from, who has made it, and that it was ethically manufactured.”