How can branding make a city smart?

Branding done correctly – combining research, strategy, creativity and long-term investment – can create a sense of belonging for a community and deliver long-lasting results and economic benefits. The new city centre for Maroochydore by SunCentral, a corporation set up by the Sunshine Coast Council, shows how such branding can introduce, promote and reinforce a smart city’s status.

People link ‘smart cities’ to infrastructure  that collects, aggregates and uses data to improve quality of life but ‘smart’ also refers to being clever and agile, being able to care for citizens and their descendants and consistently high standards. Maroochydore is set to epitomise such a city.

Lee Valentine

The capital of the Sunshine Coast in terms of size, Maroochydore has historically suffered from a reputation as “God’s waiting room”. Young people leave to pursue jobs and education. Local nightlife stops at 10pm.

Whilst being Australia’s ninth-largest city region, Maroochydore always lacked a true commercial centre. SunCentral’s 21st century CBD will cater to business, residents and visitors, transforming the region’s future. A high-speed fibre-optic network built beneath the city means latest ‘smart city’ technologies can be implemented. Additional infrastructure, including the $2-billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital and health precinct, is also on the way.

Through our exhaustive pre-branding research Hoyne discovered an overriding sentiment that the Sunshine Coast lacked appropriate business focus to attract investors. A successful campaign needed to communicate the region’s evolution as a prosperous, smart, ecosystem and demonstrate the city’s amazing growth potential.

We positioned Maroochydore as one of Australia’s most advanced communities, offering a bright future for residents, businesses and investors alike. With ‘bright’ referring to the new spirit, vision and reality of Maroochydore our ‘THE BRIGHT CITY’ branding was born. Maroochydore’s Mayor took ‘THE BRIGHT CITY’ to potential investors in the USA and a global EOI campaign delivered stellar results.

Maroochydore’s branding will work because it’s real. Like all successful community branding, it galvanises everything positive, exceptional and possible about a place and expresses it in a clear, inspiring and trustworthy way. This in turn affects personal outlooks alongside economic confidence and buoyancy. Now the city just has to deliver!

Lee Valentine
Partner and General Manager, Hoyne.


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