A Strategy to Create Unified Messaging for a Diverse and Dynamic City
Resonance was engaged by the newly-minted Economic Development Agency ChristchurchNZ to help develop a comprehensive place brand that would strategically position the city and region, improving its reputation, increasing resident pride, and attracting visitors, businesses, talent and investment.
Our team worked to make the process collaborative and inclusive, surveying some 4,300 residents and nearly 10,000 visitors from NZ, Australia and beyond. We interviewed 50 key stakeholders and conducted focus groups with more than 40 industry leaders. A community-wide digital consultation board gathered more input. Christchurch was benchmarked—in categories of place, product, programming, people, prosperity, and promotion—against 13 other cities in its competitive set, including Auckland, Belfast, Gothenburg, Reykjavik and Vancouver.
Based on the data and insight, we understood that Christchurch was not truly the “explorer brand” that it had been projecting. We shifted it toward a “caregiver brand” archetype that more authentically reflects the region’s character. From there, our team, together with local consultants and creative studio McCarthy and Resonate, developed the brand strategy and identity for the city. The positioning, “Playground for People”, tells the story of Ōtautahi Christchurch as a city in balance that makes space and time for play. The positioning redefines the city’s traditional “Garden City” moniker as a harmony between people and nature.
In parallel, our team is developing two separate regenerative-tourism inspired Destination Management Plans for Greater Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Both plans examine the positive and negative ways that tourism affects the areas, and employs intentional design to ensure that the industry delivers positive impacts for people and place.