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Australia! It's time to refresh our brand

12 Apr 2020

A brand is the sum of people’s perception.  Now take a moment to think of countries, the USA, Italy, Spain, South Africa, India, China and Australia. Every country is a brand and at the moment every government is trying to solve enormous health and social challenges, using their power and influence to navigate through the toughest of times and the eyes of seven and half billion people are watching and taking note. As all this plays out how will it impact brand Australia?

More importantly what will ‘Made in Australia’ mean to people AC (after covid)?

I like to think of brands like I think of friends. Good brands can be trusted, fun loving, inspirational,  jokers, reliable, intimate - but one thing is consistent: a good friend, like a good brand, is there for you during the good times and the tough times. Good friends understand you, they talk to you - not at you, they have empathy, they don’t manipulate or take advantage. You trust them!

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t need a friend.

Australia! We need to look closely at who we are now and what we stand for. Personally I think we’ve grown up. We’re in this global pandemic with every other nation and we’re managing our own and managing it well. Let’s face it there’s nothing like a crisis to unify the world. I think we were previously seen as the baby but we’ve now matured , we’ve handled ourselves well, and we’re managing better than some other nations.

The dichotomy is that our tourism message has always leaned in, it’s had the big budget - it’s focused on a mate ship and fun loving persona, think Kylie Monogue, Paul Hogan and yes, I will say it, Laura Bingle.

Unfortunately, despite the big budget productions and the big budget ad spends, tourism felt the cruel blow from Mother Nature, and the bushfires left a lasting impression as the world watched us burn - literally! Now followed by Covid-19 and with most countries' borders now shut - international tourism will take years to recover.  As for cruises …..  I’m not even going there.

What we need to do is reconsider brand Australia - tourism won’t pay the bills in the immediate future, so let’s roll up our sleeves and start working on a broader strategy!

We need to identify a clear and valuable message about our country, our people and our products, not just our beaches, landscapes and wildlife because the cold hard reality is we need a bigger brand story.

Author: Nicola Feeney, Head of Strategy

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