This article is reproduced from The Advertiser, Friday 11 May.
“Adelaide is just the beginning” and “Adelaide – just north of Kangaroo Island”.
These are two slogans marketing experts say should be used to rebrand South Australia internationally, putting the focus on our capital city but not neglecting the rest of the state.
Premier Jay Weatherill’s desire to give the state a new brand overseas, revealed in The Advertiser yesterday, has sparked debate and gained support – as long as it is “done properly”.
Andrew Killey, from the advertising agency kwp!, said trying to create a brand for an entire state – rather than an individual consumer product or company – was “problematic”.
“One option is to stick with South Australia and really invest a lot of money and a long hard slog to make it work,” he said.
“The other is to talk about Adelaide, South Australia.
“I know politically that’s a nightmare because you’ve got people who live in the Flinders Ranges popping up saying, ‘That doesn’t include me’. But something like ‘Adelaide, the jewel in South Australia’s crown’, could work.
“The third is changing the name of our state and a lot of people are attached to it.”
Mr Killey, whose agency has the South Australian Tourism Commission’s creative work contract, said there needs to be an investment of millions to bring any new branding to life.
“It’s all right for the Agent-General in London to say we need to rebrand, but where will this money come from? It needs to be done properly.”
Mr Weatherill is in London to attract investor dollars to SA.
He has asked his Economic Development Board to develop a new brand for South Australia by the end of the year.
The State Government will work on the rebranding with the SA Tourism Commission and Advantage SA, using existing Budget funds.
Agent-General Bill Muirhead listed the abbreviation of South Australia to SA – which is often confused with South Africa – as one hurdle to overcome.
Adelaide ad agency Clemenger BBDO’s managing director Kim Boehm said there was no doubt South Australia needed to create a stronger image globally.
“It’s about clarifying what we stand for, what we believe in,” Mr Boehm said. “We are all about the good things in life … food, arts, wine, the outdoors, sport, the beach and the Hills.
“In Adelaide we get confused with size and success … we worry because we’re smaller than our neighbouring cities and states that we are not as good.”
However, Mr Boehm said there was also something unique about being small and “boutique”.
University of Adelaide marketing lecturer Dr Cullen Habel agreed Adelaide as a brand, rather than South Australia, had potential, but said ignoring one or the other was foolhardy.
“I remember the Sensational Adelaide that used to be around with the Grand Prix tag line, that painted a great picture in people’s mind,” he said.
“But people are concerned that there’s this view that SA stops at Gepps Cross … and these concerns are valid.”
Dr Habel suggested slogans such as “Adelaide and beyond”, “Adelaide and more” or “Adelaide is just the beginning” because they “hint at more”.
Jeremy Ervine, from advertising agency Fnuky, said Adelaide needed to market itself as a creative city, hinging on its arts, food and wine, including the Fringe, as its drawcard.
“During that two or three-week period when Adelaide comes to life, it is one of the best places in the world to be,” he said.
“Outside of those times, the interest for people isn’t there … we tend to for- get about the city for the rest of the year.”
But Mr Ervine said Adelaideans also made the city difficult to market.
“People who live here don’t have much of an appetite for change,” he said.
“We do need to change as a state and city … some of the conservative views of people in this town really hold Adelaide back at times.”
There are also pitfalls in getting too parochial, according to Mr Killey, who says mentions of frog cakes and pie floaters don’t help the search for a new international brand.
“There are fantastic success stories like Haigh’s and Vili’s, and they’re iconic in our way of thinking, but they’re products, they’re not a state. If you are going to base any type of rebranding on a product or category, then it should be wine.
“In the end it’s about capturing the promise, the feeling of a place, more of a rally cry.”
Jenni Romaniuk, from UniSA’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, believes the widespread audience exposed with the South Australia brand can create headaches.
“At a very simple level, there’s the brand name and the branding is what you want that name to stand for when people hear it,” Dr Romaniuk said.
“The business people, the tourists, the potential students, their parents. These are all people we want to influence as a brand and that’s what really makes it a challenging exercise.
“It’s about striking a balance. You have to be broad, but not so broad that you’re being generic, and then you don’t want to go too narrow.
“Most companies when they are branding don’t have such diverse stakeholders as, say, the people you’re looking to promote to in a state.”
Dr Romaniuk said creating a strong tourism campaign was the key to creating a good brand for South Australia. She listed the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” brand for Las Vegas and the Kiwi “100 per cent pure” campaign used recently by New Zealand as successful examples.
“And in terms of the best locations for us to target, you really can’t go past Asia,” Dr Romaniuk said.