Branded experiences and creative thinking meant that 2018’s Sydney Vivid Festival was a special one for companies as well as the public.
We’re proud to have been awarded the prestigious ABA100 Australian Business Award for Brand Management – our third win in the category – this time for our work for TAFE NSW engaging Aboriginal audiences.
In 2015, we received the award for our project for TIMG – one of Australia’s largest information management businesses. Last year the win was for our work for natural healthcare company, SFI and its brands Flordis, Klaire and Potters.
In 2017, the decision was made to amalgamate ten semi-autonomous institutes under one TAFE brand, whilst still appealing to a diverse audience.
This had implications around Aboriginal communities, with potential for them to feel alienated by the integration. It was important for TAFE to ensure that prospective students feel like they belong, no matter their location, background or culture.
uberbrand sought to evolve the TAFE brand identity in order to appeal to different Aboriginal audiences.
Listening to local audiences through focus groups, workshops and interviews allowed us to better understand their challenges and needs.
Many workshops were facilitated by the communities themselves, with the facilitators coached by uberbrand. This approach ensured that our participants felt comfortable and inclined to provide an honest response. This was crucial, with the subject matter navigating topics touching not just on culture, but also potentially delicate areas such as representation and perceptions of Aboriginal people.
The process of discovery provided us with the insights that would guide the strategy, creative and communications teams.
Cultural sensitivities needed to be considered in the context of the new TAFE strategy. One such example, gleaned from the research phase, was the significance of strong ties to place for Aboriginal people.
It was important for uberbrand to maintain, and even strengthen, this connection to place, even though it seemed to contradict the premise of the integration.
uberbrand had to create an extension of the new TAFE brand that would not only appeal to each community in a culturally sensitive way, but also not come across as stereotypical.
A key learning from the process was that the uniform visual style meant that the overarching brand didn’t resonate with audiences. The many and varied communities each hold a unique culture, deeply rooted in and affected by locality – so the new designs would have to express this uniqueness in order to foster a genuine connection.
Another takeaway from our research regarded representations of Aboriginal culture in the media. Generic imagery of Aboriginal art was to be strictly avoided, as these designs are regionally significant and sensitive.
The same care was to be given regarding photography, so that imagery would not be presented that either had no relevance to our audience or which could be considered problematic.
The tone of voice and vocabulary for our messaging would need to be just as authentic and engaging as the visual brand.
Working with a culture rich in storytelling and journeying, communication that captured this depth would be considered most effective.
That being said, simply using Aboriginal English would be at risk of coming across as contrived and disingenuous. So, uberbrand worked closely with communities to navigate this challenge.
With the synergy of all brand management components, together with TAFE and our collaborating communities, we were able to deliver results to be proud of. To subsequently have the brand work commended by The ABA is a real honour.
Now in their thirteenth year, The Australian Business Awards program provides notable opportunities for high-performing organisations which implement world-class business initiatives and develop innovative products and services to be acknowledged for their achievements both nationally and internationally.
The national winners are benchmarked in the international chapter of the program at The World Business Awards whereby participants are provided with the unique opportunity to benchmark themselves against the top performers globally.
For more information on The Australian Business Awards and the 2018 ABA100 Winners go to www.australianbusinessawards.com.au.