Iconic Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith has claimed his recent experiment in printing and distributing magazines in order to support his home-grown foods company has been a success, with revenue tripling after the release of the campaign.
Smith also said in an interview with SmartCompany this morning that more businesses need to advertise themselves as being home-grown or Australian owned, which may entice more shoppers to support the struggling food industry.
“If you look at Rosella, perhaps if it had pushed the fact it was Australian owned…something would have happened,” he said, referring to yesterday’s collapse of the Australian brand.
The collapse comes after several other similar developments in the food industry.
Smith said after spending $700,000 on publishing and distributing a magazine called Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas, revenue at Dick Smith Foods has tripled to around $24 million. And while profit declined during the 2011-12 year, Smith says the business turned over a small profit of $10,000.
“We were loss making halfway through last year, but really we’ve always been profitable because we give most of the money away.”
Smith’s troubles are indicative of the entire food industry, which has faced a number of significant pressure points including manufacturing woes, the higher Australian dollar and a supermarket industry that is squeezing suppliers.
Dick Smith Foods in particular has faced significant problems. Its revenue dropped from $80 million to $8 million, prompting the magazine campaign.
But Smith says the problems in the food industry are going to get “worse and worse”.
“If you only think of success as growth in using more resources and people, then that’s wrong. Once we get some discussion about how that works and how we can change it, we can start becoming successful.”
The campaigns will continue. Having already distributed three million copies of his magazine, Smith says there is scope to increase the company’s efforts – it will place ongoing full-page ads in Women’s Weekly magazine and start shooting television commercials.
“Yeah, I think we’ll continue to do more. The magazine was a good idea and instrumental in turning us around.”