Bogans & Brown Coal. Re-Branding Latrobe

Australian integrated marketing agency, Ellis Jones, completes landmark city branding and community engagement campaign for Latrobe City Council.

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Latrobe Valley locals wearing t-shirts as part of the Latrobe Story campaign.

The real story of Latrobe is largely waiting to be told.

Melbourne, Victoria (PRWEB) October 31, 2012

Melbourne PR and integrated marketing agency, Ellis Jones, today completed its landmark city branding and community engagement campaign for Latrobe City Council.

Comprising a brand perception study, the campaign comes at a pivotal time in history as the Latrobe Valley region, famous for coal fired electricity generation, prepares to recast its brand in a low carbon era.

“Surveying revealed the extent to which perceptions are skewed among people outside the region,” said Rhod Ellis-Jones, Principal. “46 per cent of respondents associate Latrobe with coal mining and coal-fired energy production, themes with strongly negative associations due to a prolonged and intense political debate in Australia over carbon emissions.”

Latrobe is home to a diverse mix of industries, a number of which are greater economic contributors than the coal and electricity generation industries, but are broadly not known to people outside the Valley.

“This is where Australia’s major yoghurt company, Yoplait and leading copy paper producers, Reflex is produced but no one knows. Such is the power of negative stereotyping left unanswered,” he said. “The real story of Latrobe is largely waiting to be told.”

The three month brand perception study comprised telephone, email and in-field surveying, a Facebook quiz (the “Valley IQ Test”), a microsite, social media networking and an offline PR and advertising campaign. Benchmarking was also undertaken on other cities which had successfully overcome periods of significant industrial change.

The Ellis Jones engagement campaign comprised a call to action, ‘I [ ] in Latrobe’, which asked local people to fill in the blanks. The agency’s design and development team produced a microsite, Latrobe Story, which allowed residents to share their experiences.

Competitive place branding requires strategy, substance and symbolism. The local campaign was a catalyst for uncovering the evidence that Latrobe is much more than energy and coal. It projected real faces and real actions to the outside world at a time when the valley is receiving intense media and policymaker scrutiny.

Mr Ellis-Jones said the project brought together the unique mix of expertise held by the agency, and expressed its ‘research as engagement’ model, which makes full use of online strategies and tools.

“This project represents the agency model of ‘research as engagement’ which merges the disciplines of community engagement, online communications and market research to generate deeper insight as well as buy-in for later marketing activity,” said Rhod Ellis-Jones, Principal.

Latrobe Valley’s actions are being closely watched by policy makers and other regions experiencing similar transitions as carbon intensive industries are phased out.

Ellis Jones is an integrated public relations and marketing agency providing market research, identity and communications services, supported with design and web development.


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