The Apac brand

Following a recent meeting at the Agricultural Produce Agents’ Council (Apac) office in Boksburg, we were each presented with an attractive shopping bag, a pen and a water bottle, all branded with the Apac logo.

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If your first reaction is “So what?”, bear in mind that Apac isn’t a business with products that need to be marketed. It’s a statutory body created in terms of the Agricultural Produce Agents Act, and its function is to administer the act on behalf of the minister of agriculture, regulating the activities of fresh produce market agents, livestock agents and fresh produce export agents, who act in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of their clients, the producers. Now, ‘branding’ isn’t a ‘normal’ activity for a semi-government organisation, but here’s Apac proudly displaying its logo for the world to see. Why?

Maximising media use
When Apac opened its doors in January 1993, it was a small organisation with two staff members. When the current registrar Lizel Pretorius took over the reins a few years ago, Apac was not well-known among the very people it was supposed to be protecting – the farmers! Lizel set out to change this shortcoming. She used the media whenever she could and upgraded Apac’s information pamphlets.

A regular newsletter aimed at producers followed. Lizel had come to realise that the Apac needed to be better known. Other forms of promotion, such as having a stand at expos – complete with banners and more – are becoming regular features. And the branded ‘freebies’ I mentioned at the beginning are part of a promotional plan that has evolved over the years.

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Greater awareness
Has Apac seen any improvements? The range of activities conducted by its staff – now four people – has grown tremendously and its impact is felt on all the markets as Apac goes about its business of protecting producers’ financial interests. There’s still a long road ahead for Apac, but the awareness of the council among producers and others has increased greatly in recent years – a sign of just how well branding in its various forms can work.