Saturday, February 23, 2008

Origin Oman - Buy Local Campaign

“Our aim is to raise the profile of locally made goods and services” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, Head of Marketing at PEIE and the person spearheading the government’s newly-launched Origin Oman marketing campaign, a domestic initiative designed to promote Oman-made products and services and urge institutional buyers and consumers to buy local first.

While buy local campaigns have been around for generations, "the idea behind Origin Oman is to get people to think more about where their Rials are being spent and what it means to the sultanate from an economic, community and environmental angle to buy locally-made goods and services," Al Faruji says.

As part of the Origin Oman campaign, PEIE is organizing a series of events to help local manufacturers and service providers raise their domestic profile. “We start the program on Monday 25 February with a half-day workshop at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel on How to Win Public Sector Business,” says Al Faruji. The workshop is being carried out with the support of the Tender Board, Oman Fibre Optic, Oman Cables Industry, Infocomm and Knowledge Horizon and is intened to introduce local firms to the in and outs of the tendering process.

PEIE’s Head of Marketing points to a range of international studies that show the impact local businesses have on the economy. Research indicates that for every RO36 local retailers bring in through sales, businesses return RO25 to the local economy through salaries and benefits, purchase of goods and services like office supplies, marketing, PR, IT and accounting, profits to local owners and charitable contributions.

In recent years, businesses and government organizations in countries around the world have united to launch campaigns encouraging citizens to buy local, and many of these have proven to be highly successful.

Of course local manufacturers and service providers keep more money in the local economy - but less obvious is just how much difference buying locally made products and services can make. Research from San Francisco found that even the smallest shift in customer spending can have a tremendous impact on the local economy. If 10% of residential spending were redirected toward local businesses, the study found, it would give San Francisco an RO75 million economic boost and generate nearly 1,300 new jobs.

“Given the bank of evidence from buy local initiatives carried out around the world, if we can convince institutional buyers and consumers to redirect just 10% of their spending toward locally made goods and services it would have a tremendous impact on our local economy,” suggests Al Faruji.

“I think one of the most interesting aspects of the Origin Oman campaign is its capacity to bring local manufacturers, service providers and business owners together to reach their customers collectively and deliver a stronger punch. In fact, the Winning Public Sector Business Workshop that Origin Oman is hosting on Monday at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel is a clear example of this,” comments Karim Rahemutulla, MD, Infocomm and supporter of the Origin Oman initiative.

In general, business owners see buy-local campaigns as an easy sell. According to Al Faruji, “The public is highly receptive to the message, and even if many may not initially consider whether they’re buying locally-made goods and services, all it takes is a gentle reminder for them to change their spending habits.”
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