Research projects have been undertaken to understand what Tasmania’s brand represents to customers and to define the commercial opportunities of using the brand. Online surveys are conducted annually to check the health of Tasmania’s brand.
Roy Morgan Research undertook the first sophisticated attempt to provide a validated brand positioning and a set of core values for a Tasmanian Master Brand that had wider applications than a tourism sub-brand. The work was undertaken in the late 1980s during a boycott of Tasmanian food and beverages by the Sydney and Melbourne hospitality industry led by activists seeking to change Tasmanian legislation relating to gay rights. The Morgan research focused on the perceptions of Tasmania’s food and beverage products in those markets and sought to establish a set of core values as perceived by our customers in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. The result was an ideal, totally desirable set of core values for any food and beverage brand:
Wider positive values attributed to place rather than product were
Nearly 20 years later, ANOP was commissioned in 2005 to research perceptions of the Tasmanian brand and to provide validated core values. This was a much more extensive exercise. Once again Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra were the key target markets. This research reinforced the Morgan work and re-validated the values it had identified. The research also showed there was a natural and definite separation in perception between place and people.
In his presentation to the Premier of the day, Rod Cameron of ANOP, said he had not seen a stronger or more defined place of origin food brand. “I don’t think a stronger brand, ideal for food and beverage, could exist in this part of the world. The word ‘pristine’ was offered without prompt by seven of 10 focus groups,” Mr Cameron said.
On Mr Cameron’s advice, ‘pristine’ was not inserted into the core values at that time as he believed it would be too difficult to maintain and defend as a brand core value in an environmental context.
Research conducted by McKinna et. al. for Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industry and Water in 2007 confirmed that
‘The strongest associations with Tasmania were the words pristine and natural’.
‘Tasmania is perceived to be a relatively untouched, ‘clean and green’ area, capable of producing foods that are fresh, healthy and natural.’
In May 2008, The Principals undertook a modest round of research interviews among business owners who dealt with Tasmanian enterprises to test the relevance and credibility of the brand positioning statement of Far from Ordinary. The majority of the respondents (within this small-scale sample) viewed the Far from Ordinary proposition as credible yet requiring clear substantiation.
The natural environment story is comprehensively understood – the climate, unspoilt nature, ‘green-ness’ and relatively unchanged forests are the foundations upon which the Far from Ordinary claim can be built. Island status advantages Tasmania in both a rational and emotional way. Its remoteness is recognised as a valuable quarantine barrier and its size (relative to the continent) confers boutique status on its products and services.
The State’s pace of life is Far from Ordinary – it’s seen as a place that’s managed to progress without falling victim to the rat-race. Its people are relaxed but capable of getting their jobs done.
Tasmanians make Far from Ordinary business partners – their relative isolation has forced them to be resourceful, collaborative and flexible.
The State’s diversity of experiences is Far from Ordinary – visitors are frequently surprised by the high standard and variety of produce and tourist experiences.
To maintain awareness of people’s perceptions and the health of the State’s brand, annual online surveys are conducted by Brand Tasmania.
The second annual Brand Health Survey in late 2016 confirmed that the State’s brand was in good shape. The survey team received 1,528 responses (731 a year earlier) from people in every Australian State and Territory and from 21 other countries.
The results were overwhelmingly positive:
- Perceptions of Tasmania were rated at an average of 8.5 out of 10 (8.4 in 2015);
- 80 per cent of respondents believed Tasmania’s reputation was improving (85 per cent in 2015);
- Respondents rated their confidence in the State’s future at 7.6 out of 10 (7.9 in 2015);
- The words used most often to describe Tasmania were: Beautiful; Clean; and Natural (Clean; Beautiful; and Natural in 2015).