Matter Solutions Logo (Simple Version)
May 2, 2017

10 iconic brands in Australia: What sets them apart from their competition?

Published: 2 May 2017 

When you think of Australian brands, there are always a few that come to mind instantly. We decided to take a closer look at these brands, and discover why exactly they are considered to be so iconic, and what makes them stand out and be a step ahead of the competition.

1. Vegemite

Source: Disegno

Is there anything more Australian than eating some vegemite on toast? Most of us would have even tried to entice our overseas friends to try some, just to see their reaction. The spread has been manufactured for over 90 years, with around 300,00 jars produced every year, and more than 1.1 billion since 1923.

While Vegemite has been owned by US confectionary company Mondelez International, it, along with other products that use the Kraft licence, have recently been acquired by Bega Cheese for $460 million. While the product was still being manufactured in Port Melbourne, it means this iconic brand is back to being in Australian hands.

Vegemite’s long history cements it as one of Australia’s most iconic brands. In fact, Vegemite was even the first product electronically scanned in a grocery store in Australia, back in April 1984. Nowadays, Vegemite is found in 90 percent of Australian homes, with 22 million jars sold every year.

2. Bunnings

Source: Bunnings

After the recent closure of competitor Masters, it’s hard to deny that Bunnings is crushing the competition, and has cemented its place as one of Australia’s iconic brands. After all, who doesn’t know Bunnings’ catchy jingle and catchphrase?

The home improvement chain has seen significant financial gains in the past year, with a growth of 9.8 per cent to $770 million. The business has even expanded overseas, with the recent launch of the Bunnings UK and Ireland chain. The first Bunnings pilot store opened in February 2017.

So what did Bunnings do that Masters simply couldn’t replicate? Bunnings has gone to great lengths to making hardware accessible. People know they will be able to find whatever they need in the one store, rather than having to leave and visit a competitor. For those who aren’t the D.I.Y experts, each store is full of helpful staff who are ready and able to answer your questions and find the right product. The brand goes the extra step by frequently hosting sausage sizzles at it’s many stores, an event which is it is now widely associated with.

3. Qantas

Source: Wikipedia

When you think about Australian airlines, Qantas is what comes to mind first. After a tumultuous few years, Qantas managed to turn itself around, and had a 64 per cent increase in its brand value from 2015 to 2016, totalling $US2.18 billion.  Qantas is now considered the 12th most valuable brand in Australia, according to the Brand Finance 2017 report. This is considered one of the biggest turnarounds in Australia’s corporate history.

People’s patriotism seems to be clear when choosing airlines. Australian’s often prefer to travel with the flying kangaroo over other brands, even if there are cheaper options. Qantas has managed to brand itself as the international face of Australia, and as such has strong sentiment with Australians. This is something that the other airlines in Australia simply can’t offer.

4. Arnott's

Source: Arnott's Australia

Arnott's is responsible for some of the delicious snacks and crackers of our childhood and we're forever grateful for the inception of the SAO (especially when combined with Vegemite). Established originally as a bakery in 1865, the business is considered a legacy brand and now supplies a range of over 30 products to the Australian market. We also have a feeling that the packaging for the fan favourite Tim Tams is designed so you can remove the delicious biscuits and not get them back in the packet... so you have to eat them all - but that's still unproven (we test this regularly).

5. Billabong


Source: Billabong

Bordies, thongs, rashies and sunnies are staples in Australian beach culture and we have no doubt that:

  1. You own at least one of those items
  2. That item is Billabong

Billabong, a proud Australian brand since 1973, has grown to be an internationally recognised authority in surfing, sponsoring large surfing events and athletes alike. The brand now owns a portfolio of over 9 brands including Honolua Surfing Company, Kustom and RVCA.

6. Woolworths


Source: Woolworths Supermarkets

Woolworths (or "Woolies" to the locals) is one of the Australian supermarket heavyweights, boasting a 35.7% market share as of May 2017. The brand, famous for being The Fresh Food People, can almost instantly be recognised by its logo with distinct shades of green and apple insignia. The supermarket, like most others, sells groceries, printed publications, stationery, clothing and other items through its 1000 nationwide stores.

7. Weet-bix

Source: Weet-bix

Did anyone else sing along when they heard the jingle for Weet-Bix...even as an adult? Let us refresh your memory:

Weet-Bix is an iconic Australian cereal and brand for that matter. Waking Australians up for generations, this food was identified as Australia's favourite trademark in 2006 and is claimed to be one of the nation's favourite cereals. The foodstuff was developed in the 1920's by Bennison Osborne and sold to Sanitarium Health Food Company in 1928. Since then, Weet-Bix is no longer just a cereal rather a collection of breakfast/health foods that the whole family can enjoy.

8. Holden


Source: Holden

Australia's beloved Holden is an automobile manufacturer founded in 1856 that was originally a saddlery manufacturer (fun fact). The company, which is a subsidiary of American-based General Motors (GM), is responsible for putting these iconic car models on our roads:

  • Holden Commodore
  • Holden Monaro
  • Holden Statesman
  • Holden Astra

Holden is not only iconic but a legacy brand, with many generations of Australian families having ridden in one of the many makes and models of cars in their lifetimes.

9. Commonwealth Bank

Source: Commonwealth Bank

Many Australian children will remember Dollarmites, a school-based initiative run by Commonwealth Bank - this is one of the reasons why it's one of Australia's most iconic brands. Founded in 1911 as a government run institution, it was privatised in 1996 and the bank has grown-up to see hundreds of branches and offices located nationwide and thousands of ATMs sporting the famous yellow and black logo. As a household name, the bank is part of what is referred to as "The Big Four" which includes its lead competitors National Australia Bank (NAB), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Westpac. The bank not only offers personal banking products but also

  • Financial services for retail
  • Business
  • Institutional banking
  • Fund management
  • Superannuation
  • Insurance
  • Investment
  • Broking services

10. Bundaberg Rum

What list would be complete if there wasn't a drink at the end of it? Bundaberg Rum is an Australian institution that produces internationally award-winning rum and other alcoholic beverages. Beginning in 1888, the Queensland based distilling company is a nationally recognised brand through its use of a polar bear in its logo cementing the image through sponsorship of many events and causes including the Australian Wallabies rugby union team, NSW Waratahs, the NRL and V8 Supercars. Bundaberg Rum has expanded past primary rum products to include liqueurs, pre-made cocktails and reserve beverages.

These businesses have been able to successfully position themselves as iconic brands not only within Australia but often around the globe. Looking at how they stand out in their industry, these brands easily give other businesses something to aspire to.

Think we missed a company off the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Want some help with your Aussie Brand? CLICK FOR BRAND HELP

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

6 comments on “10 iconic brands in Australia: What sets them apart from their competition?”

  1. My grandfather, Alfred Robert Henry (Robert) Adcock, founded King Gee Clothing Co, in Sydney, in 1926. From a very humble beginning, starting with one machine, in a room in Daking House in Sydney, King Gee became an iconic household name. As leading manufacturers of work wear, overalls, apparel for our farmers, fire retardant apparel for our fire fighters plus supplying military clothing to our Aussie diggers in World War 2 ("if they were any tougher they would rust"), King Gee soon became as Australian as Vegemite, Victa and R M Williams. King Gee also became active sponsors of Australian sport. Who could forget going to cricket or football matches at the iconic SCG (and many other Australian sporting venues) and along the fence were posted metres of King Gee signage.

  2. Hello I loved the article but, I beleive their is a mistake. In my opinion Vegemite is actually not an Australian brand but was created by aliens to gain our trust and slowly poision us I think you should switch Vegimite with Pop-Tarts.

  3. I think this is GREAT! but next time could u please maybe make it longer and do it more around clothing. E.g
    Lorna Jane
    Thx so much I’d love to hear back from u again

  4. I am live in South Africa, and can attest to the fact that some of the brands that you have listed are indeed households brands even here. I however think that you have left out Hillsongs as the brand. They are big, not only in Australia but the world over. Christian communities all over the globe (so I think) can identify with Hillsongs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *