Tourism advertising and branding of Australia is negatively impacting those exporting technology and innovation, reported Kimon Lycos of Mihell and Lycos, a firm specialising in B2B.

Lycos, also adjunct Professor at RMIT University, conducted 50 interviews with Australian CEOs of mid to small businesses, attempting to understand how companies believe they can be more competitive when exporting and commercialising technology for global markets.

An overwhelming response from the survey was the continual positioning of Australia as the joker in the pack, said Lycos. 89% were dissatisfied with the high profile advertising campaigns such as Paul Hogan’s ‘Throw a shrimp on the barbie’, then the ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign and now the song and dance, ‘There’s nothing like Australia.’

“If the world was a town, then Australians are, by our own voice, known as the village idiot,” said Lycos. “It is very difficult to export high-tech products, given the long sales cycles, and commercial requirements at the best of times. The string of international branding creates a cringe factor when declaring the country of origin being Australia.”

73% found difficulties in establishing business in the United States due to American subordinates/employees considering Australian managers and suppliers as inferior.

“Those who took a consensus building path with US based subsidiaries, found the process frustrating and ultimately not very rewarding. Those who took a hard line, and quickly established the pecking order enjoyed a faster swing in attitude away from that Australian’s are all Dundees,” says Lycos.
38% of the CEOs admitted that the negative stereotypes had made them ‘home-town snobs’, inferring that they preferred to deal with overseas suppliers or contractors, rather than look at local options.

“When companies seek to expand internationally, the risks are huge. CEO’s of smaller, investor-funded companies, become very self conscious and want to be seen to be taking the right or safe option, which means to snub their fellow countrymen, in favour of saying that they have an international relationship.” continued Lycos.

On a positive note, 89% of the CEO’s believe that brand Australia has helped relationships, by being portrayed as laid back, easy to conduct business with and trustworthy.