Marius on Strategy and Communication

What it says on the tin

Human Resource Management

Once again Tourism Australia has attempted to rebrand this country, and once again they have failed spectacularly to convey anything of what makes it unique, or even interesting. Once again we are treated to a collage of iconic (read: clichéd) imagery from around Australia, the only twist being a more generic than usual end line (I’m one of the few who liked Where the bloody hell are you; at least it’s got attitude): There’s nothing like Australia.

What would I do? I would do what Bunnings and Woolies (and a whole bunch of other brands for whose staff’s contrived quirkiness makes no difference) shouldn’t do, which is to focus on their people, and develop millions of one-on-one campaigns using everyday Aussies. What is the one thing you hear without exception when someone returns from a successful holiday overseas? “And the people there are so friendly”! And they even say that about Norway, which amazes me, but goes to show that people everywhere are proud of their country. Tourism is a compliment to the individual, and the way in which their country is presented and perceived a reflection of themselves.

Australians’ reputation as being a friendly people was cemented after the extraordinary effort by the volunteers during the Olympics. They are also patriotic; incredibly proud of their country; feel grateful to live here and eager to share it with the world (i.e. a tad more credible brand ambassador than the Woolies truck driver).

Here are two ways in which Tourism Australia could tap into the wealth of human resources they posit; both of which would take place online:

  • Every visitor is assigned with their personal guide to Australia by being paired up with a local. The local will provide tips and local knowledge and answer any questions the visitor may have. It can be as little as wishing them a great holiday to meeting up for a drink. The pairings would be as relevant as possible and according to shared interests, special knowledge, location or demographics.
  • The second option is a Twelpforce approach, where visitors post questions which are answered by whoever has the best knowledge, thereby starting what will hopefully become a dialogue.  Where’s the best surf on the west coast? Where should I stay in Bundaberg? Etc.

What’s in it for the visitor? They get to discover the true Australia, or rather the multitude of realities that constitute Australia, through the multitude of people that occupy it, rather than the homogenous and picture-perfect clichés they already know. Advise straight from the horse’s mouth as opposed to other visitors means they get to discover the gems that are hidden from the tourist trail. As for consumption in general, the search for authenticity and local experiences is one of tourism’s macro-trends at the moment.

What’s in it for Australians? Australians arguably struggle to define themselves and position themselves on the world-scene. This is their chance to create the Australian identity and show the world who they are; the friendliest people in the world. This could potentially be a great uniting project where every Australian get to work towards a shared goal: to show the world a good time in the Australia they all love.

In these social-media times, I don’t think it’s a stretch for people on both sides to participate. The challenge is probably for TA to empower the men and women in the streets with their brand management. Until they remember that these men and women actually are the brand and will do a better job than any ad agency with a large production budget ever will.


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This entry was posted on May 26, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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