City votes to change tourism branding
Longheld concerns the region’s overall tourism branding is elevating Margaret River and hurting Busselton, Dunsborough and Yallingup have prompted a shake-up of the City of Busselton’s marketing strategies.
The City this week reviewed its support for the umbrella “Margaret River region” term and unanimously voted to instead adopt “Busselton-Margaret River region” for the City’s promotional material.
“Concerns . . . have been raised through various forums that the sub-brands of Busselton, Dunsborough and Yallingup, intended to accompany the Margaret River Region brand, have not been prominent in marketing activities, potentially resulting in reduced or lost awareness of these destinations,” City community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said.
Support for the current strategy was signalled in 2014 on the basis sub-brands for Busselton, Dunsborough and Yallingup would be developed, but in the three-plus years since, the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association’s commitment to that condition has been frequently questioned by pundits north of the border.
A recent City-initiated survey offered hard evidence supporting anecdotal concerns, but MRBTA chief executive Claire Savage downplayed the findings, saying she understood “there was only a couple of comments which referred to the use of the regional brand”.
Ms Savage defended the Margaret River region branding and said it was developed after extensive consultation and used in markets where awareness was still developing, specifically interstate and overseas.
“Where awareness was higher, such as the intrastate market, or within the region itself, town names would take precedence,” she said.
“We are very supportive of the individual towns being used in marketing communications where appropriate.”
The City’s renewed focus will not override the MRBTA’s branding, but would be considered an “extension”.
The Margaret River region branding will still be used by the City, but only for specific international markets until Busselton’s brand awareness improves.