Parramatta is an iconic metropolis that is creating world-class centres of excellence in industry, education, health, arts and more.

The city’s impact is changing as Parramatta accelerates its repositioning from Sydney’s second CBD to the dynamic river city and economic powerhouse at the centre of global Sydney.

To address the outcomes of its 10–20-year brand plan, City of Parramatta set a brief to create a campaign framework to align communication efforts, generate a cohesive message and synergistic marketing investment, deliver a how-to approach to tactical campaigns and a broader brand building program, increase the impact of initiatives, and work within the vision, goals and objectives endorsed by the City of Parramatta brand.

These objectives were fulfilled over a three-part process of strategy, marketing and communication.

Strategy

Following comprehensive desktop analysis of supplied documents, including tourism and investment strategies and brand guidelines, a remote campaign strategy workshop was held with 14 City of Parramatta representatives from Destination Marketing, Business Marketing, Investment Marketing, Events Marketing, Digital Marketing and City Identity departments. Through this process, it was asserted that every action undertaken by Council needed to demonstrate, reconfirm and articulate Parramatta’s position as the heart of Sydney.

During the workshop, City of Parramatta raised several considerations, including multiple strategies, documents and stakeholders, the necessity to incorporate brand values, its tendency to be reactive, a feeling of constantly being in ‘start-up mode’, and upcoming internal changes. Its previous strategy pool was central to understanding Council’s efforts, audiences, objectives and performance indicators to that point, and was used to develop the marketing framework and campaign mechanic.

Marketing

Past marketing initiatives had served as an incubator for the city brand, enabling members of the business and investment communities to sample Parramatta. However, these opportunities were limited in comparison to events aimed at the visitor market. While visitor engagement was a crucial piece in changing outside perspectives of Parramatta, it had to be integrated evenly with activations and messaging targeting residents, businesses, investors and innovators.

Developed during the unpredictable NSW lockdown period of 2021, we proposed a marketing framework rollout based on mobility within the Parramatta LGA, Greater Sydney and beyond. The traffic light system served as a visual representation of three different mobility scenarios and the appropriate marketing channels for activation. It was designed to be flexible and applicable to different phases of the 18-month plan at any time.

The strategy used three phases to first establish awareness, then encourage engagement, and finally build loyalty. While the 18-month marketing plan laid out notable dates and activations, the marketing framework served as a lens. For example, if a key event occurred during Mobility Scenario 1, marketing and spend would be invested in digital applications. However, if it fell during the optimal Mobility Scenario 3, marketing and spend would be spread across physical and digital applications. The intermediary Mobility Scenario 2 was also crucial to address partial restrictions based on changing vaccination rates, rules and government advice, as well as a split between commuting to the office and working from home.

Communication

In creating the brand building campaign for City of Parramatta, we returned to the idea of creating a piece for people. Until the rebrand, Council’s campaigns had been tactical and results-driven — an essential component of fulfilling its 10–20-year brand plan. However the brand needed more than KPIs; it needed to make an emotional connection with its target markets of residents, visitors, workers, investors and students.

The campaign system reiterates City of Parramatta’s brand advantages as the fastest growing LGA in greater Sydney, while enabling people to feel involved. Paying respect to Parramatta’s origins as the gathering place, the City of Parramatta is a place everything and everyone can meet. Fuelled by ambition, its people are steadily driving growth in scale, population, industry, innovation and lifestyle.

Simplicity is best when it comes to the campaign’s main message, as it provides the flexibility needed to adapt phrasing across varied marketing collateral and events. Whether pairing one feature with another, or framing Parramatta as an inclusive destination, the system has the potential and ability to remain memorable, original and likeable over an 18-month span.

Communication addresses challenges through different message construction. For safety, the campaign can drop the second meeting idea to focus solely on specific markets. In doing so, the emphasis becomes on the variety of groups who can meet safely in Parramatta. By placing meet at the beginning of the phrase, the campaign counters misconceptions of distance and travel time. Wording can also be spun to focus on the future of the city, by linking current works in progress to eventual change.

The campaign design system is structured in three phases, to align with mobility scenarios. Phase 1 messaging focuses on ‘where’ to create a strong tie to the brand identity and promote a strong single message during the campaign launch. Phase 2 messaging introduces ‘where’ and ‘meet’ to expand the brand promise and drive engagement. Phase 3 messaging brings in complementary visuals to add variety and refresh the creative approach during the loyalty phase.

Campaign design extends the identity outlined in the City of Parramatta brand guidelines. Incorporating eye-catching colours through headline highlights, the campaign is recognisable as the At Parramatta brand, while adding an evocative, people-centric focus.

I think we nailed it, especially regarding the messaging. We addressed all the challenges. I also like the traffic light approach. It’s clever to do things this way and we need that for sure. There’s heaps of potential and I’m really excited by all the work.
Leandro Martins
Brand Advisor: City Identity, City of Parramatta

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