ACT News

Born-again Canberra gets a brand

So Canberra, are you feeling a little bit CBR? Confident? Bold? Ready?

Meet ''Brand Canberra''.

Michelle Melbourne, chair of the Canberra Business Council and Terry Shaw, managing director at Englobo group, next to ...
Michelle Melbourne, chair of the Canberra Business Council and Terry Shaw, managing director at Englobo group, next to the official logo. Photo: Melissa Adams

It's a $2.6 million project funded by the ACT government as an ongoing legacy from the centenary year to ''capitalise on the community and city pride that has emerged over the last 12 months'', according to Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

So far, a logo - CBR Canberra - has been unveiled with a full program of future uses to be revealed on Canberra Day next March.

The logo is to provide a ''consistent representation'' across Canberra to help attract anyone from new residents to students to investors. It could appear on anything from T-shirts to airport signs to corporate and tourism information.

Ms Gallagher said Brand Canberra was a promotional opportunity and part of her hope that one of the legacies from the centenary year would be to ''see an end to 'Canberra bashing' and self-deprecation about our city''.

''It gives us the tools to be able to tell others what a great city Canberra is - proud to be the capital of Australia and the centre of government, but also a confident and bold city,'' she said. ''This is not about just giving Canberra a new logo. Our city 'brand' has to be a collective idea - and a collective advocacy - about who we are and what we have to offer - a brand which truly represents what Canberra is all about.''

The government has hired a public relations firm, the Content Group, and advertising agency, Coordinate, to conduct consultation with the community about what it thinks about the concept and possible uses.

The new "Brand Canberra" CBR logo.
The new "Brand Canberra" CBR logo. 

Coordinate also came up with the CBR logo - standing for Confident. Bold. Ready. And alluding to the abbreviation for Canberra on boarding passes and Twitter hashtags, giving it an international flavour. The lines refer to the architectural drawings of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin.

Coordinate director Jamie Wilson said the agency's research led to it distilling the essence of Canberra as a city with ''brilliant possibilities'', one that was small and collaborative but where great things were able to happen. ''I suppose brilliant possibilities was really about re-imagining and rethinking what Canberra is and where it's going,'' Mr Wilson said.

How Brand Canberra would be used was still a moving feast.

''I think right now, in its current form, it's about having a conversation with the Canberra community. We really want to go out to the public and get them thinking about the possibilities of where Canberra is going …'' he said.

''We basically want to hear from the community how we can work with them to take Canberra forward as a city. So as we've come to the end of centenary, what do the next 100 years look like?

''It's one thing to have a brand that sits on a shelf. We want to bring this story to life. And that's mainly going to happen if we get the whole community behind it.''

The office of Treasurer Andrew Barr confirmed the government had allocated $2.6 million to the project - across 2012-13 and 2013-14.

A spokesman said almost $460,000 had been spent on ''developing the brand platform and strategy''.

''The remainder of the allocation will be used to further asset development, activation consultation, communication strategies, social media strategies, full website design, advertising and activation opportunities,'' he said.

Ms Gallagher said the government had ''backed this project with resources which will be spent responsibly to promote and support the brand's development and further encourage economic growth''.

''We know that as the centenary year draws to a close, as many as nine out of 10 Canberrans feel a sense of pride in our city and the overwhelming majority believe that there is more to Canberra than people know - and more than ever before, Canberrans want to tell that to others,'' she said.

''That is really where 'Brand Canberra' comes into its own.''

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