Boomerangs and creativity

30 Sep 2012

The aim of this paper is to describe the country brand for Australia released by the Australian Federal Government in May 2010, ‘Brand Australia’. At the time of writing this paper, only the logo was available, and further details of the strategy (activities, targets, partners) were to be announced at a later date. This paper is focused on the available elements of the new Australian strategy; its antecedents in destination branding; the process conducted by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) in developing the new brand; the primary and secondary resource studies used by the Building Brand Australia program; policy aims; and the messages delivered by the brand’s new visual resources.

The research method is based on website analysis and interviews. In addition to interviews with specific key respondents linked to the brand strategy, several interviews were conducted with researchers connected to tourism and cultural studies as an exercise in ‘thinking together’ about a phenomenon that is new, but also framed in a cultural sphere that is ‘exotic’ to the author. The main findings of this research can be summarized as follows: Australia enjoys the advantage of an outstanding perceived image, largely built on ‘soft’ portrayal items; Brand Australia focuses its core message in a couple of weak items (creativity and technology), probably considered strategic and undervalued by international audiences; the new program is not particularly worried about certain other weak issues (culture and environment); the new logo includes only a few elements (of the boomerang and the Australian map), mixing controversial and innocuous wellknown icons.

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