LEVERAGING THE ESSENCE OF A PLACE AS A DESTINATION IS MANDATORY. WITHOUT IT A PLACE AND ITS PEOPLE CANNOT CONNECT AND THRIVE.
Destination marketing has become integral to the success of countries, cities and places. It’s necessary for destinations to communicate what makes them great. But what makes a destination great? Is it the food? Natural landmarks? Nightlife? A great place to raise kids? Quirky locals? Whatever it is, the branding of a destination is a promise of its value—and to truly be successful, it’s a promise that needs to be kept.
If the post-GFC world has taught us anything, it’s that authenticity matters. There is a real thirst for genuine experiences and meaningful connections in every facet of our lives, and this extends to our expectations from destinations. Aesthetics and logos serve as powerful visual representation of brands, but it’s the substance behind a brand that makes you want to come back. This was the case for the inner-city suburb of Redfern, where the need for destination branding resulted from an economic decline and a problematic perception of the area. This negative perception was affecting Redfern’s economic potential due to occupancy problems, low visitor traffic and empty shops.
Through consultation and market research, Frost* was able to uncover a key insight into the problem: that people from outside the area were afraid to go to Redfern. Once people did visit, they realised their perception no longer matched the reality. Conversations with the Head of the Aboriginal Housing Company, Mick Mundine, revealed that Redfern needed to achieve a good ‘spirit flow’. Our strategy was simple—we needed to amplify the ‘welcoming spirit’ so that everyone felt comfortable coming to Redfern. Like many of our branding solutions, the idea is one that people can readily embrace—the mission was to make Redfern welcoming. What better way to convey the idea of ‘welcoming’ than to design the identity around a graphic smile. The strategy was a cleverly packaged gesture to make Redfern a leader in demonstrating positive changes, inclusive to all. The brand was embraced by the whole community, and can be seen in shop windows, on car bumpers and even starred on Redfern Oval.