There is a fascinating article in the NYTimes yesterday about rebranding American manufacturing.
You might ask, Whadda ya mean? Did we ever brand manufacturing, let alone rebrand it? We know how you brand a company’s steel product, for example. And we even know how to brand the steel manufacturing industry. But how do you brand—or rebrand—the even bigger concept: Manufacturing?
Well, by thinking about it differently.
Apparently folks on both coasts have. In San Francisco and New York, organizations have formed to address the needs of the local manufacturing community. In San Fran, it’s called SFMade, a 501c3 that shares resources and information. It also raises brand awareness for products produced locally—geographic identity branding. This is a term used by Mark Dwight, founder of SFMade, to capitalize on the pride of one’s home as a value added. Sort of like Made in the U.S.A., only on a local level.
Certainly I’ve seen a wonderful movement toward buying more locally grown food. My daughter belongs to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in New York. She pays a fee to get local produce every week—food she doesn’t have to buy at the grocery that may have shipped its bok choy in from China. She says she feels guilty eating a banana—think of all the environmental costs incurred in getting it here.
Local manufacturing branding attempts to evoke the opposite feeling of guilt—pride. And pride in our home-grown produce and manufactured products is a good thing, yes?