The region’s peak tourism body has unveiled new branding to reflect a greater focus on the Capes environment and its subregions. The Capes region was envisaged in the new branding as an “Earth Mother” representing an “abundance of nature”, while the strategy offered individual brand identities for Busselton, Margaret River, Dunsborough and Augusta. The new branding represents 12 months of development to reposition the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association five years after its formation. The material is now undergoing review through member workshops. MRBTA co-chief executive Sharna Kearney said redevelopment of the MargaretRiver.com website would be undertaken once the branding was adopted. “We’ve taken an iterative approach to date, and we plan to continue this, to enable members and stakeholders to feed into implementation priorities and outcomes,” she said. The Capes as a network of localities was flagged soon after the 2016 amalgamation of the Augusta-Margaret River and Geographe Bay tourism associations. In the material developed by brand strategists Forward Scout, with design by UNKL, Busselton would be depicted as a historic and family-friendly destination, while Dunsborough “is about effortless coastal lifestyle” appealing to the Instagram crowd. Margaret River “is where the region seems to step up a bit from nature to the environment”. The brand material focused on the wine industry, arts and artisan producers as key identifiers. Meanwhile, branding for Augusta noted its “rawness and wildness,” old-world charm, and as “somewhere you need to go out of your way to get to, the end of the road”. “Nature is the obvious common denominator across these anchor points,” the material said. The brand experts noted the same challenge for the region’s tourism offering which previously led to Tourism WA recruiting Tasmanian tourism guru Guy Taylor — namely, rivals like New Zealand, tropical Queensland and the Apple isle which also had strong outdoor destination appeal. While the recommendations from Mr Taylor’s $360,000 taxpayer-funded report may never see the light of day — and the Tourism WA board remains at half strength — the MRBTA material uncannily reflected the tourism expert’s comments to the Times during his visit. The branding documents identify the region’s people as a key asset, while the “Margaret River region (itself) is all about generous nature”. “By name alone, Margaret River feels more instinctively feminine and gentler,” the report said. “The diversity and abundance of what you can see, do, eat and drink and feel when you’re here is down to one thing only: nature’s generosity.” “It’s no surprise the atmosphere in the Margaret River region is relaxed and laidback given the environment in which we live. It nurtures that sense in us,” the material said. “It makes people in this part of Australia generous by nature – generous with their time, friendly, welcoming and helpful.” Partnership with the Wadandi was also acknowledged in the branding’s reflection on the past, present and future. New language developed for destination marketing would focus on the region’s “abundance” rather than a “diversity” of attractions as in the past. The report offered detailed breakdowns on key “hero product/experiences” as well as what was, and what was not, part of each locality’s identity. Design features for marketing material, including colours and typography themed to each location, was also included – and likely to stir debate.