Despite having a strong agricultural as well as
manufacturing base substantiated with cheaper skilled manpower capable
of producing sufficient export surplus, Pakistan never crossed the
psychological barrier of $10 billion exports.
The exports figures usually remain below $10 billion
in fact do not translate the actual potential the country has due to
various reasons, however, on top of the list of impediments comes lack
of quality, lack of production scale which helps reducing the cost of
production and of course the lack of proper and aggressive marketing
Realizing the later part of the shortcomings, the
opinion leaders in the trade and industry as well as government quarters
related to the export business have started taking initiatives to
overcome the problem.
All said and done the fact remains that Pakistan has
a earned a distinction in producing quality goods in different sectors
such as sports goods, surgery items, leather made ups and garments,
knitwear and the quality bed wares etc. On the agriculture side,
Pakistan enjoys an out-standing position as a quality producer of
"Basmati Rice"; juicy mangoes a citrus fruits which have
carved a respectable place in the world market.
Leaving aside a few exceptions, majority of these
items is being sold in the world market with out carrying the label of
"Made-in-Pakistan" of carrying the brand name of the product.
In most of the cases, some leading companies having a name in the world
market are selling Pakistani goods under their brand names, hence they
are the real beneficiaries of the premium they are fetching due to good
will of their products.
It is understood that primarily Pakistan needs
foreign exchange through its foreign trade whether the goods carrying
the brand names or not. However, getting in a comfortable financial
position, the situation demands that the country should harvest the rich
crop and enjoy the fruit of the labor.
Working on these lines, efforts are being taken to
create awareness among the exporters regarding benefits of the quality
and proper marketing techniques for their products. Some US institutes
are holding workshops in Pakistan to assist the trade and industry to
make thing better and realize the need for ongoing quality improvement
as the essential way forward.
In this respect, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)
has prepared a concept paper on development of a brand culture in
The concept paper after giving the final touches
would be submitted to the Export Development Fund Board for approval. It
has generally been agreed by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the
Federation of Pakistan chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
The concept paper was introduced by the EPB chairman
at the meeting, stating that a majority of the Pakistani exporters were
weak in marketing management and deficiency of financial resources was
main cause behind it, therefore, there was a need to provide financial
assistance to the exporters to meet the part of their expenditure on
The EPB proposed to undertake a pilot project for
brand development for selected products and the exporters, willing to
invest in brand development on 50:50 cost sharing basis.
The chairman requested the participants to provide
their input, on the following points, to achieve the objective.
Branding of the products would be highly desirable
and has to be achieved with the introduction of "Made in
Pakistan" label first, on a sectoral basis and then introduce
individual company brands.
The products should carry seals of quality (common
seal or separate seals for specific/selected sectors) and create
institutional mechanism to administer the seal. Seal of quality can be
granted by the EPB as an accreditation agency against well-defined
For grant of seal of quality, reputed international
companies may need to be hired for technical audit and certification in
the mature export sectors, like textiles, leather, sports goods,
stainless steel products, engineering goods and electronics.
For starters, there may be generic advertising, to be
followed by sectoral promotion through commercials on electronic media
like BBC, CNN, PTV, ARY etc)
To launch the campaign for branded items, a cell in
the EPB would be created on the subject of quality assurance, conformity
and compliance and provide marketing consultancy services including the
subject of brand development with the help of institute of Business
administration (IBA) Karachi and Lahore University of Management
The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will need
financial assistance for marketing and consultancy services.
--Start concept of branding with one or two sectors/
leather and textiles, implementing on the concept and on the basis of
lessons learnt further improve the concept and extend it to other
After implementation of "Made in Pakistan"
label on sectoral basis, introduce scheme for supporting advertising of
individual brands. By that time, enough expertise would have been
developed to address the issues of criteria and mechanism of
administration of brand development scheme in Pakistan.