Some weeks ago we reported that some prominent Australians were pressing the Austral government into developing a new, integrated branding strategy for Australia. Now, it seems that the lobby has convinced the Australian government, because the Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean has announced that the country’s federal government will allocate $20 millions to deliver a new international “brand” for Australia. A tender for competing agencies has also been announced.
Only God knows what the Australian minister means by using the word brand, but it appears like a combination of a promotional branding strategy and visual identity design. What it appears to be clear is that the government wants to have an integrated and transversal country brand strategy to cover everything Australia brings to the world, not just tourism promotion as usual.
“We want a clear vision of how Australia should be seen by the rest of the world in the 21st century”, Mr Crean said. “We will be looking for agencies to build a contemporary national brand – one which captures the essence of Australia – not just a great place to visit but a great place to live, work, and invest – a trusted trading partner and a great place to pursue an education.”
Without further details, this looks like a good approach. Australia will act smartly in integrating its tourism brand strategy with the other aspects of the nation brand, for two main reasons. First, Australia is a pretty consistent country and ideas about the Aussie country and Aussie people are quite (but not enough) transversal across tourism, people, products and businesses, so an holistic approach to brand Australia has sense.
Second, as a matter of fact Australia has one of the best tourism and people brand images in the world, but the country has less privileged positions on other facets, so through integration the government can balance its country brand and let the most celebrated aspects of the nation brand help the less advanced ones. By integrating, Australian exports, for instance, can increase their brand equity if they are found to carry some of the value associated with the powerful Australia’s tourism and people image.
Mr Crean said “Building Brand Australia” will aim to capture the vibrancy, energy and creative talents of contemporary Australia and present it to the world. “We are much more than a nation of great people and great places,” he said. “We have won no less than 10 Nobel prizes and we are a nation bursting with creativity and ingenuity. “The Australian way is to underplay our achievements, but this kind of modesty only surrenders the edge to our competitors.”
Desolate beaches and landscapes, marsupials and lifestyle in the wild have traditionally underscored Australia’s overseas marketing, but Mr Crean looks like he wants more than that. “We must find a better way to define our identity and brand it,” he said. “This is not just about a slogan and it goes beyond the on-going promotion of Australia as a global tourist destination – a reputation that is well established. Building Brand Australia is about promoting Australia as a nation producing quality products and services across a diverse field of activities.” “We need to get the message out that we are an innovative nation and a quality supplier to the world of key products such as clean energy and clean food.”
Brand Australia tender posted
Tender details for the development of the new Australia brand have been posted at www.tenders.gov.au and advertisements will be placed in weekend newspapers. Agencies will have 25 days to lodge their expressions of interest. “This is a prestigious tender and I have no doubt it will attract strong interest,” Mr Crean said.
The successful agency will be awarded a $4 million contract over 4 years, an amount separate from the $20 million to be spent over the next four years to deliver the new brand – much of which will be spent on international promotion.
In accordance with government guidelines, a tender evaluation panel comprised of senior public servants will make a final recommendation on the preferred agency. This panel will be supported by an advisory board of business people headed by leading Australian business figure David Mortimer.
The winner of the tender is expected to be announced in February, 2010, to be followed by a domestic launch. The international launch of the new brand is expected to take place at Shanghai Expo that starts in May, 2010.
The Federal Government is calling on submissions from creative agencies for Building Brand Australia. “This is the next step in the process and we are calling on Australia’s best creative minds to put their hands up to redefine and enhance Australia’s global image,” Mr Crean added.
Australia’s new nation branding project trumps an idea put forward by a group of prominent businessmen – led by the former Qantas chief Geoff Dixon – for a Brand Australia Council to manage big industries such as tourism, education, resources and services. Mr Crean supported that idea a few weeks ago at a tourism conference in Canberra. Representatives of the Brand Australia Council initiative are due to see Prime Minister Kevin Rudd within the next month to get his support for the idea.