Why the Gold Coast needs a better “brand”

There’s been considerable dialogue over the past weeks about the “brand” of this city we love here on the Gold Coast. I do love these topics that raise the hair on the back of our necks and get us passionately engaged in problem solving. There’s one thing the Bulletin does well; Get people fired up.

We all have our own brand as individuals. Most adults have defined their values and applied significant resources to establishing some sort of reputation amongst friends, family, workplace or in business. These “resources” may have taken the form of higher education or training, sacrifices for family, memberships of professional organisations, beer drinking and partying (which can cost dearly), or any number of things we’ve spent money on that send some sort of message to others about what kind of person we are.

This reputation that develops impacts the kind of people we attract to ourselves, the kind of business we conduct and our capability for success. For some, they inherit a positive legacy from their family and others a stigma they must work harder to overcome. Some people even hire professionals to help them define, or re-define, their personal reputation. This is the arena of business coaches, recruitment specialists, psychologists and marketers.

If we, as individuals, are willing to invest to define, or re-define, who we are, why shouldn’t our city do the same? Our city is a young adult in age (the hybrid love-child of Albert and Gold Coast shires) and is competing for business and tourists in a marketplace against cities in Australia, in Asia, and across the world. Just like a teenager just come of age, a clear and defined identity with established values and priorities, as well as a strategic “career” plan is an important part of our potential success.

This is what a “brand” is. We don’t currently have it. And we need to write it down.

Unfortunately this costs money. The drawback of having an identity with some 500,000 personalities and a complex living arrangement (beach, city, hinterland) is that the definition of our personality will take collaboration and consultation resources. The brand is so much more than a cute logo and a slogan. It’s a value statement and business proposition with visual and emotional appeal that draws those who experience it in for any number of different reasons depending on their need or desire. It also repels the type of engagement we’re not interested in. A good brand is revenue generating, not just in attracting business and tourist dollars, but is actually an identity corporations are pleased to pay to be associated with.

This idea is what I’m supporting when I vote in favour of a brand for the Gold Coast. Currently our city is at the whim of any good or bad news story that occurs on a given day. The reputation of our city is in the hands of the media and notwithstanding their willingness to promote us on occasions, their primary responsibility is to the shareholders of their publisher or media entity. These shareholders care about sales of advertising and newspapers, viewers, listeners, distribution and profitability. These variables do not necessarily align with the objectives of our city and it’s for that reason I’m in favour of Gold Coast City owning an asset that can help to mitigate the alternate priorities of the media when they contradict our interest. That’s what the “brand” is.

The residents of the Gold Coast do not want their city compromised by the interests of the media so it’s time we took action to insure against that risk. Our community deserves it and it’s worth a significant investment.

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