SYDNEY: Brands could build consumer loyalty by aligning themselves with Australian ideals, in particular the notion that everyone is given a "fair go", a leading industry figure has maintained.

Addressing a French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry event, reported by B&T, brand strategist Neal Cotton, director at The Lab Strategy, argued that the country's egalitarianism was slipping away in an increasingly polarised society.

"The gap between rich and poor is getting greater" he said as he further observed "the idea of a two-speed economy and now the idea of two-speed cities".

But he saw a huge desire to recapture egalitarian ideals "and this is the opportunity for brands", he declared.

His comments built on a white paper from The Lab Strategy in which the notion of "eroding egalitarianism" was explored, whether that was the crippling cost of housing or the particular skillsets now needed to participate in the country's booming industries of mining and technology.

At a more prosaic level, sports fans were now cut off from players who were no longer local heroes but had become larger-than-life figures. "The corporatisation of local values has transformed what was once something very close to the community into something with broader cultural relevance but arguably less personal connection," the white paper said.

Cotton's "Australian Meaning Map" illustrated some of these points, with brands operating within a matrix that ranged from the conventional to the unconventional on one axis and from the denial or prevention of inferiority to the denial or prevention of superiority on the other.

Thus brands might, for example, tell a story of courage and struggle or utilise self-deprecating humour to appeal to the Australian tendency to side with the underdog.

Cotton cited Bega Cheese, which he works with, as a brand that was speaking to Australian ideals.

"It is the fourth biggest selling brand in supermarkets, and they are priced at a premium. They balance this superior stature with endearing stories of humility and hard work," he explained.

Bega's award-winning campaign let the farmers behind the product tell their own stories to the public and generated an emotional connection with consumers as well as achieving a 1:4 ROI.

Data sourced from B&T, The Lab Strategy; additional content by Warc staff