Transforming cities through place branding

From the slums of Manila to the outback Queensland township of Winton, governments are reinventing their brands to attract visitors and power their economies.

Government and industry will come together at a day-long conference in June to share insights and reveal how cities can attract investment, jobs and services by identifying what makes them unique, redefining their identities and telling their stories.

The Place Branding Australia conference will look at discovering identity through evidence-gathering, explore strategies to create a branding bridge between past and future and present case studies from across Australia and around the world.

Jessica Christiansen-Franks

Releasing the speaker list on Monday, curator Stu Speirs said the scale of innovation in regions as far flung as the Mississippi Delta and as close to home as the former Hunter Valley steel town of Newcastle is huge, and the conference brings leading thinkers together in Australia for the first time, offering policy makers a toolkit to redefine their localities and turn them into visitor destinations.

Leveraging social media

Social media data analytics expert Jessica Christiansen-Franks, co-founder and CEO of Neighbourlytics, will kick off the day with a session on evidence-based place branding based on unearthing and leveraging a community’s social data.

Christiansen-Franks has helped create vibrant suburbs by showing policy makers how to uncover information about their localities and use the data to inform planning decisions.

She’ll share insights into how user-generated content on social media – whether it’s a photo of smashed avocado on toast or an invitation to a dog-training session – can inform powerful place branding.

Closing the session on evidence gathering will be a look at Murrumbidgee Council, in the NSW Riverina region, which managed to give itself a fresh look on the back of a forced council merger.

Sonia Casanova

Director of marketing at digital marketing agency the Articulate Pear Sonia Casanova will talk about the approach to extensive community consultation behind creating a shared brand vision for council following months of community apprehension following council mergers.

Embracing the past and harnessing creativity

Delegates will also hear how powerful brands can be created by embracing the past, with independent branding agency, Principals (NZ) strategy director Nick Sampson talking about how city-makers can inspire a community to take ownership of a place brand.

Amber Dale

The theme will be explored by looking at the transformation of the former industrial city of Newcastle. Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation director of strategy Anna Chubb and senior communications manager Amber Dale will discuss Newcastle’s emergence from steel town to a global leader in the new economy.

The conference will also look at how to harness local creativity to activate a brand strategy. Travis Tiddy, director of the Unconformity Festival, will outline how an arts festival managed to attract thousands to a small Tasmanian mining town by embracing the town’s past and local creativity.

Melbourne street artist Kaff-Eine will discuss the value of artistic expression in exploring a place’s identity, with case studies from the Silo Art Trails in regional Victoria through to the slums of Manila, and  Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason will outline how the local film industry is delivering for Australian towns from metro Adelaide to outback Winton.

John Henshall

Meanwhile, from the other side of the world, director of economics at Ethos Urban John Henshall will talk about how a small town in the Mississipi Delta revived itself by tapping into its history, providing key insights into how cities can attract new investment through local creativity.

Simon Wright, Assistant Director of Learning and Public engagement at QAGOMA will lead a session on how cultural institutions can help shape a Place Brand and the importance of their connection to the locals.

Speirs, director of tourism and events strategy firm Silver Lining Strategy, will set out the day’s action plan, leading group discussions throughout the day on where to from here for cities.

“We’ll all come out of it with a set of principles we can take back to local communities and a framework to push our thinking as to what we as places can become in the future,” he told Government News.

We’ve structured the day in a way to ensure attendees will leave with a set of tangible actionable outcomes,” he said.

The Place Branding Australia conference, hosted by Government News and organised by Interpoint Events,  will be held at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel on Sydney on 4 June 2019.

The conference program is available here and you can register to attend here.

For more information visit the Place Branding Australia website.

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