Guru not the driver of branding strategy

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
International tourism expert Guy Taylor was in Margaret River for a month in 2019 undertaking hands-on research for Tourism WA.
Camera IconInternational tourism expert Guy Taylor was in Margaret River for a month in 2019 undertaking hands-on research for Tourism WA. Credit: Sean Blocksidge

The Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association says tourism guru Guy Taylor did not have any direct involvement in the new branding material out now for comment from members.

MRBTA co-chief executive Sharna Kearney told the Times although the association did work closely with Tourism WA on its Our Story materials — which Tourism WA claims represents some of Taylor’s work — the guru’s month-long stay in the region was not a factor in the new materials.

Earlier this year, the Times reported no report had surfaced from Mr Taylor’s work to come up with a marketing “narrative” to underpin WA’s next big tourism campaign, despite costing taxpayers $360,000.

The proposed MRBTA branding developed by Forward Scout and design agency UNKL reflects a strategy outlined to the Times by Mr Taylor during his 2018 visit.

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Mr Taylor told the Times his research would feed into efforts by marketeers to move away from “glamour shots” and differentiate the region from similar destinations.

“Most destination marketing organisations spend their time getting better and better at sounding like everyone else,” he said.

“The trick is how to be differentiated.” During the 2018 interview, Taylor said his first impression was the region’s people were among its greatest assets, with genuine accessibility, laidback outlooks, and a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the wine industry now lost in the “more institutionalised” hubs of Barossa and the Hunter Valley.

“To my mind, there’s a flight to reality around the world at the moment,” he said.

“People want less virtual and more real.”

Mr Taylor believed — despite scepticism West Australians would be fed a line — that Australia’s larrikin spirit was most alive in regional WA and was an asset for visitors seeking inclusive experiences.

“People are looking to connect with other people,” he said.

“You can access a place through the people.”

The new brand material positions Margaret River people as ambassadors for the tourism sector.

The breakdown of branding into subregions continues the focus on people, noting the distinct and separate identities of residents in Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta.

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