COTTON USA Mark Recognition
CCI realizes that for the COTTON USA program to be effective consumers must first know what the COTTON USA Mark is and the quality it represents. The graph below demonstrates how Mark awareness grew among targeted consumers in CCI program countries from 1989 through 2011. As shown, consumer awareness of the COTTON USA Mark in target countries worldwide has grown from an average of 12 percent in 1989 to near the 40 percent mark in recent years.
In some countries, such as Taiwan, awareness reaches exceeds 90 percent among target audiences. In all Asian program countries, consumer recognition of the COTTON USA Mark improved strongly since the initiation of COTTON USA program activities. Budget limitations in the late 1990’s hampered this effort, but the record is still impressive as CCI has been able to effectively leverage its spending to maximize contributions from third parties in target markets. Several of these markets have now reached a maintenance mode, where CCI endeavors to maintain the existing recognition levels with a reduced expenditure of program funds, and to direct funds to other CCI program countries.
Progress has also been noteworthy in Western Europe despite a severe reduction in funding in the late 1990’s. As the below graph indicates, awareness remained at viable levels in the three targeted countries within this region despite intense competition in advertising in this region. CCI’s Supply Chain Marketing focus, brand equity building advertising, and renewed investment in consumer promotions should drive these numbers higher in the future.
Even more telling is the comparison of attitudes toward products containing U.S. cotton as compared to “any cotton” (cotton that is not identified as coming from any particular country). The graph below compares the preference for U.S. cotton to any “other cotton” since the COTTON USA program began. Over this period, U.S. cotton has moved from being viewed as less favorable by a margin of 7 percentage points to the current position where it is viewed as more preferable by 10 percentage points. This includes those countries in the COTTON USA Mark promotion program that also have strong domestic cotton production. Clearly COTTON USA promotion is driving a change in attitudes of consumers of textile products.
The data in the previous graphs clearly indicate that, over the years, CCI has been successful at establishing the COTTON USA Mark as a symbol of quality cotton products made from a majority of U.S. cotton.