City of Latrobe

CASE STUDY: Place brand identity and community engagement.

Ellis Jones  •  Saturday October 6, 2012
Branding  •  Digital


The Latrobe Valley provides around 85% of Victoria’s electricity. With the introduction of a national carbon price on 1 July 2012, state and federal governments were focused on negotiating ‘transition’ – decommissioning brown coal-fired power stations and shifting to gas and renewable energy sources. With almost all media coverage and political debate centred on ‘dirty’ brown coal, the region needed to raise the profile of its other key industries.


Other than in name, Latrobe is not a city, it is a cluster of individual towns and much of what makes the region attractive is not in the urban centres (even if most people live there). There is no Eiffel Tower nor Big Pineapple; no Guggenheim nor Disneyland. The challenge was to benchmark current perceptions while defining life in the valley and celebrating the many things that make Latrobe an attractive region for investors, tree-changers, workers, and tourists.


We developed an integrated research and engagement exercise that comprised a hybrid program of brand perception study, local community engagement (on and offline), city bench-marking, publicity and expert interviews.

Over a three month period, the project comprised:

  • Online engagement  – via a specifically developed Latrobe Story microsite, Twitter and Facebook – to generate dialogue, capture diverse opinions, harness rich content and pave the way for future marketing and branding exercises.
  • Quantitative and qualitative research to confidently know how Latrobe sees itself.
  • Quantitative research to know external perceptions of Latrobe: place and people.
  • High level stakeholder engagement to strengthen relationships and gain insight from acknowledged experts.


Upon completion, the City of Latrobe had a wealth of user generated content, accurate insight and a network of advocates to take city branding and marketing forward. The perception study and Latrobe Story campaign set the standard for regions facing periods of great change, particularly as a result of climate change related policy. We were very fortunate to a have a visionary client willing to adopt the agency’s ‘research as engagement ’ model.

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