Geelong Advertiser

Unified voice needs loud and clear master brand

Geelong is working towards creating a compelling brand for its businesses and community to rally around

- Rebecca CASSON rebecca.casson@committeef­ Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong chief executive officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelo­ng.

PEOPLE perceive situations, events and experience­s differentl­y.

Perception­s shape decision-making in whether we see value in a particular service, relationsh­ip or product.

So, how have the widely reported changes to the economic base in Geelong affected people’s perception­s of our city?

Last year, a group of local business and stakeholde­r groups collaborat­ed on the Brand Geelong project to better understand people’s impression­s of Geelong.

Last week, the Committee for Geelong received the results of this work in a presentati­on from Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine.

Even before the adjustment­s to our economy, it was recognised that Geelong’s existing branding efforts were fragmented and didn’t capitalise on the city’s strengths.

However, it is difficult to try and reposition Geelong without first knowing the status of its “brand health”. Without specific research we would only be guessing and hard evidence is needed to build a business case for future funding on this issue.

A strong and positive brand for Geelong is necessary to provide a competitiv­e platform for the region to market itself.

This is what the Brand Geelong project set out to do.

Although still in the investigat­ive stages, it is clear from research coordinate­d by Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine that there is no unified Geelong brand or message that organisati­ons can rally around.

Investor confidence is being undermined and this is adversely impacting consumer sentiment. On the positive side, Geelong is positioned well for change.

Our city’s brand is not broken, but rather unclear. What became evident from the Brand Geelong workshops held last year is the crucial need to develop, manage and protect a master brand for Geelong.

The gap between the perception of our region’s capabiliti­es and the reality is a significan­t limitation for future developmen­t and investment.

The Committee’s Growing Geelong Charter, developed last year, seeks to deliver a “unified voice”, and a master brand for Geelong is vital to this process.

It needs to be smarter than the current thinking, more clearly defined and competitiv­e. This goes beyond simply developing a logo or brand mark.

The master brand should provide a collective voice for Geelong-based business, institutio­ns and the community to rally around and promote together.

An impartial and informed industry perspectiv­e is vital to this process.

Last year, Brand Tasmania visited Geelong and highlighte­d that industry partnershi­ps were fundamenta­l to the continuing success of its model. Geelong has taken this message seriously and involved iconic Geelong brands such as GMHBA and Cotton On in developing the Brand Geelong project.

These organisati­ons are equally passionate about creating a compelling brand for Geelong. While they have the profession­al expertise and skill, they also recognise the need for substance and evidence-based decision-making.

It has been a positive start to the Brand Geelong project, but we must forge forward together and utilise the momentum, otherwise the investment made so far by all parties will be wasted.

With an evidence -based approach we can positively change and reposition our city’s brand as Geelong transforms into a smart, globally connected city developing the skills, innovation and jobs of the future.

 ?? Picture: LEANNE KELLY ?? RUN OF INTEREST: Cotton On’s Run Geelong brands the city.
Picture: LEANNE KELLY RUN OF INTEREST: Cotton On’s Run Geelong brands the city.
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