Ecuador must stop being a country that exports raw materials and should become a country that exports value-added products
Ecuador as a producer
Ecuador has become a producer and exporter country of raw materials worldwide due to its extraordinary climatic factors and its different altitude levels that place it as one of the countries that has the most benefits in the production of raw materials with unique organoleptic factors in the world. This has led the country to become one of the producing powers of raw materials worldwide, where its production, for example, fruit and vegetables throughout the year, has stood out; without counting on a climate as adverse as in other parts of the world where high and low temperature peaks have affected the is quite limited production.
On the other hand, being a country rich in natural resources and in unique production conditions in the world the industry has failed to take consideration of these competitive advantages compared to other countries. What commonly happens is that primary production has become an easy and fast way to generate income and to minimize the risk that the manufacture of products with medium-high added value entails.
Designing a Country Brand – Vision as a country
Within this highly relevant aspect, the image of the country brand worldwide has not been properly exploited since if we look at our neighboring countries Colombia is known as an excellence coffee producer, Peru and Bolivia are known as producers of quinoa and other Andean cereals currently demanded by the global market. However, Ecuador has not positioned these advantages worldwide because it is easier to get rid of raw materials sold in bulk or in large quantities so that the countries to which these raw materials are exported take advantage of it, creating their brands, packing them in small formats and in certain cases not even generating any added value.
The simple fact that these countries carry out activities like these, has led us to think as a company to ask ourselves the following: Why Ecuador, although it has all the natural resources available to carry it out, has it not done so? The answer to this question lies with the culture. During the last years there have been large initiatives at the private level and there have been Government incentives to promote the export of products, this has not been well targeted and has not been able to generate added value in the products with exportable offer. The challenge and the difficulty come from the fact that nobody wants to take a risk and almost no company has managed to change this mentality and this exporting country vision.
Wará Guayusa as a model
With this background, we have decided to take a risk creating Wará Guayusa. Although Guayusa is not yet a known product on the world market; Despite all the benefits that this extraordinary plant has, we want to share with all the world consumers all its nutritional and energy benefits that this plant gives to those who consume it. This millennial plant has been hidden for a long time in the Ecuadorian Amazon and throughout the time that it has been exported; it has been done in bulk formats. This has generated that Overseas countries see it as a potential product in which they can create brands, pack it in small formats and sell it in their respective markets. We have decided to create Wará; Despite the cultural contradictions that many people in Ecuador have and we want to position it as a brand of a 100% Ecuadorian Product. Although the risks are high, it is in this small detail that we have proposed to break paradigms and position Ecuador as a country that is not only known for its extraordinary banana, or its fine aroma cocoa; but as a country that produces Guayusa with world-class quality for all the delicate tastes of consumers.
Bulk product vs Branded product
The difference between export in bulk and export of finished branded product lies in the perception that the final consumer will have about a product. Although as mentioned above, the creation of a brand has greater risks of acceptance worldwide and even more so when consumers are not familiar with a product; once that stage is over, the subsequent benefits come in domino effect. The theory we are applying is based on the principle of how to communicate to the people that what they consume comes from a country rich in natural resources with clean and sustainable production and where the ancestral knowledge applied ensures that the product has been preserved and remained consumed as ancient times. With the creation of a brand and once the consumer has understood the aforementioned context, comes the stabilization and generation stage of a Country Brand; where the benefit is not only for a certain product, but that all products manage to capture the attention of world consumers and that they can be exported with an added value generated in the same country of origin.
Likewise, I strongly believe that each brand created must go hand in hand with good visual and above all emotional communication. The consumer does not always make the purchase for the product itself, but because this product transmits emotions and targets on its emotional reasoning. If a brand fails to achieve this aspect, it will simply remain as one more brand in the market and will not succeed in transcending in the short-medium term.
Cacao Fino de Aroma from Ecuador as an example:
An example for this case may lie in fine aroma cocoa. Although Ecuador has managed to position itself as one of the countries where this quality raw material sounds worldwide, industrialized countries have also managed to take advantage of this. This referring to countries that are known in the world market for the manufacture of chocolates that have a unique flavor and that are highly appreciated by consumers worldwide. What they have managed to position are their brands under the reference that their chocolates are made with the highest quality raw materials and especially from countries like Ecuador. In this regard, the questions are: And why has Ecuador failed to position itself as a country that produces chocolates? Simply and my theory is due to culture. It is much easier to export raw materials than already industrialized product for the simple reason of ease. Pacari is a proudly Ecuadorian brand that has managed to position itself in the world market under the pressure that its chocolates contain raw materials of the highest quality and are industrialized in Ecuador. This surely was not an easy path, but its Founders had the belief and the conviction that this was the way; Despite the difficulties that they surely have had along the way, this has opened many doors for them worldwide and today the consumer in other continents knows their brand and their products.
Loyalty in Customer
On the other hand, I do not share the idea of bulk products simply due to the fact that they do not generate any kind of loyalty in the final consumer; they are simply raw materials. Loyalty and consumer preferences lie in the brand with which these raw materials come. The competition in today's globalized world is so great that many can produce a certain product in bulk and companies abroad would surely prefer it because of its low prices. But once a brand has already positioned itself and consolidated, the rest is history. Anyone can come offering a raw material with lower prices, but the customer is already quality loyal and with that background it is extremely easier to capture the preference of any type of consumer.
As a final conclusion, if companies complain that their profitability has fallen due to the existing crisis in the country, then creativity must be sought in alternatives that are profitable and generate sustainability over time. Having a dollarized economy should aim on the generation of foreign currency that the country needs and as Ecuadorians, we should think that the solution should not lie in exporting commodities; Since many other countries can do it more efficiently and at a lower cost, the solution is focused on the generation of value-added products, with brands that manage to position in global markets and that generate more economic returns to the country that today is what needs the most in order to get out of the crisis in which we have been stuck for long periods of time.