- ‘Made in Pakistan’ must function within the country’s development, prosperity
Brands have come to use as one of the most misleading and timeworn terms in economic discussions due to the economic importance of brands. The last thirteen years could clearly be seen heading dramatic changes in the world of branding and brands. Global trends in digital, mobile, and social media have elementally impacted all of the products and services. Technology often has moved faster than companies can adapt and choices have exploded.
Various industries have been discarded and new brands are being beaten into shape faster and faster. The way brands influence our lives has utterly not changed though their scope has grown significantly. Nonetheless, doubtfulness or misunderstanding remains and is grown even stronger. A number of myths persevere which leads to incorrect insights into the economic importance of brands.
A growing recognition in the brand management area with a lot more requirements of international marketing strategies and conditions for altering the dynamics of reticulated economies in the world. Since this new type of economy is linked with globalization, brands are becoming more major for all stakeholders and even for national economies. With the higher level of competitiveness, businesses are in competition with the creation of more powerful brands to support their economies in global markets.
Markets are in constant changeability or flux of adaptation, often hastened through technological change. Brands help markets adapt more speedily as they allow a more energetic response between buyers and sellers. Brands not only simplify the choices but can play an ‘educational’ role too, as they help to prevail over the factor of apprehension of acquisition.
Overall, brands contribute significantly to the technique of adaption and growth, which is critical to a competitive economy. Branded products that fail to provide what buyers want will vanish off really quick, making space for new and more effective alternatives.
Leading brands and their impacts
Brands in Pakistan have spread mainly to clothing, shoes, accessories, food and makeup. The clothing and food sector are mainly focused on here because of their significance and consumption mainly. Some of the leading brands owing the country include Khaadi one of the largest franchise in fashion, on a national and international basis. Our country is rich in textile-led brands and their contribution to the economy is also huge, other than textiles, the second largest contributor in the economy is the food chain area that importantly contains the biggest example of recently grown Tim Hortons, that made a global record of opening day sales over the past 61 years.
‘Made in Pakistan’ are also an age-old catchword that have long used to play on consumers’ nationalistic heartstrings. It is a stamp of a summation of our country’s efforts and expertise, all getting together to generate something greater than the sum of its parts. However, today, it seems as though any local brand, big or small, credible or non-credible, is free to toss this slogan just by virtue of being Pakistani. As a result, this slogan is gradually losing its actual essence. Brands need to understand that ‘Made in Pakistan’ is a claim that even local brands must earn by operating in a way that is ethical and sustainable yet focused on our country’s growth and prosperity.
Support through tax
One of the fundamental responsibilities of any company is to support the economy by paying taxes. As per an official report issued in 2021, Pakistan has lost out on approximately Rs310 billion every year due to corporate tax dodging and illegitimate trade; that too from just a few sectors as (tea, tobacco, tire manufacturers, automobile, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, and real estate being the top six). For context, this amount alone could go towards boosting Pakistan’s education budget by up to 60%. The tragic irony of the situation is that by eluding taxes, many of these local companies are pushing the country towards economic torpidity and contributing to the very inflation that comes back to bite their own businesses.
The bottom line of the matter is that any company can be a true-blooded Pakistani company generating products locally, but if they are not fulfilling the basic responsibility by paying their taxes and supporting the country, they don’t deserve to wave the ‘Made in Pakistan’ flag.
Protecting the consumer
Brands are being used by consumers, guiding and protecting them, not exploiting them. They are understood to rest with the consumer, though initially, they were not. Strong redolent brands today not only raise a specific level of expectation but often elicits a higher psychic, determined connection as companies seek to strengthen relationships not only with the consumers but with everyone connected with their businesses.
In other words, branding and reputation are increasingly bisect. This makes brands more receptive and in jeopardy of criticism. With that bad news too, travels fast, louden by social media. Therefore, brands emerge a kind of ‘market democracy’ for consumers, allowing them to plebiscite with their wallet on a daily basis.
There is certainly an emerging interest in the worth and management of intangible assets, especially in brands, since the business environment becomes more complex than ever. As the battle for customers intensifies every day, companies are overwilling to have strong brands. From an economic point of view, technological emergence is embodied in economic growth models. Although brand value is a requirement for economic growth, there is still a dearth of harmony in an economic growth model of taking brand value into deliberation.
In the 21st century, the proportion of intangible assets comparative to tangible assets in total firm value has enlarged considerably.
Responsible and Sustainable Practices
In addition to economically supporting the nation, brands that wish to win the title of ‘Made in Pakistan’ must function with the country’s long-term development and prosperity in mind. This means accommodating and favoring practices that ardently preserve national resources while minimizing pollution, damage and degradation to the environment. Such practices include responsible sourcing and renewal of raw materials, efficient recycling and waste disposal, increased reliance on renewable energy generation and regular CSR initiatives.
Various local brands have come up with some favorable creative ideas, such as launching products made from recycled materials, biodegradable bags and packaging, and dealing out seed packets to customers, proving how even apparently the compact level of efforts can contribute to positive environmental change.
Others are cordially involved with NGOs certified by global bodies to make sure that their functioning is in line with international environmental practices.
In spite of the fact that some of these proceedings can cost the companies more with a direct return to their businesses, brands that carry the ‘Made in Pakistan’ slogan must always keep the greater good for the people of Pakistan, communities and environment at the spearhead of their moral and righteous orbits.
Support in Times of Crisis
Pakistan is not peculiar to natural disasters and such events have somehow revealed which brands are ready to place their marketing agendas alongside to come up for the assistance of the nation. The recent monsoon flooding in 2022 is a particularly saddening example where almost all brands were struggling already with the rising dollar rate and sky hiking costs of doing businesses.
In spite of this, many of these brands altruistically ceased and postponed their ongoing campaigns to focus on flood relief. Some responded by donating unrivalled amounts in terms of funding and supplies, while smaller setups such as local bakeries, jewelers, furniture and cosmetic brands owed a certain percentage from their overall sales towards flood victims.
Even prior to the floods struck, a few local brands had already laid hold to social media too soon this year and announced that they would not be increasing their prices despite the ongoing inflation, finding ways to reduce their prices and regale their customers.
Although strenuous times affect all of us, they are vital opportunities for brands to step up and do the right thing, demonstrating their contribution and dedication to the country.
Compare these endeavors to those of some local brands that remain silent during such times or hike up their prices to take profit from the ongoing situation. If brands truly focus on the right essence of this assert, there won’t be a reason why ‘Made in Pakistan’ cannot become a global tagline. As a nation, we already export billions of dollars’ worth raw materials and products around the world, many of which have gained international applaud. We produce over 750,000 soccer balls a month for brands such as Adidas that are being used in the FIFA World Cup. Our textiles are worn by mega fashion brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Nike, Quicksilver, Gap, Old Navy and more. Our local VFX teams are at the helm of the motion graphics in Hollywood blockbuster movies. But again, it is not just about our aptitude and ability to generate and deliver. It is about doing it in a way that buoys up Pakistan and gives meaning to this claim. It is about encouraging our people and propping up our businesses, industries and economy, especially in the best time of need. It is about supporting Pakistan, building a positive picture of our country and giving everyone something that they can be proud of as a nation. That is what being a Pakistani brand or company is all about.
To drive a successful knowledge-driven, innovation-led economy, brands are essential and represent vital weapons in the state armory of our trading nation. More so, they are a necessity for any liberal economy in which companies compete and consumers have the power to choose. Brands are integral to an effective, vibrant economy and their economic importance should never be taken for granted.
The Author is in Department of Mass Communication, University of Karachi.