The Latrobe Valley is about more than coal; this initiative, driven by community engagement, saw local people tell the real Latrobe Story.

Learn more about this project


Situated in the centre of Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley, Latrobe City is one of four Victorian regional centres and the only one located in the eastern part of the state.

Although home to a diverse range of communities, natural assets and economic industries, Latrobe is best known for coal mining and its power industry. Aware of this narrow perception, Latrobe needed to address common misconceptions, define the rich diversity of the region and engage the local community to tell the story.


Our work had integrated research, engagement and marketing  elements:

  • A quantitative study of the perception of Latrobe Valley among Victorians to provide a baseline for testing place identity and marketing activity effectiveness, and to provide data/content for outreach and media relations activity.
  • International benchmarking study of successful post-industrial place identity and place-based marketing initiatives of regional cities (e.g. Manchester).
  • Research as engagement program with local people, with pop-up street stalls and community organisation support.
  • A stereotype-busting ‘Valley IQ’ Facebook quiz to test people’s understanding and challenge prejudice.
  • Prominent and influential stakeholder engagement and endorsement program
  • Latrobe Story website and social media campaign to encourage people living in Latrobe Valley and Gippsland to tell their work and life stories – creating a picture of diverse employment, leisure and community experiences.
  • Local media relations raised attention to the website and the opportunity to get involved. Coverage featured local community members.
  • Collateral extended across digital interfaces such as avatars to t-shirts, post cards, posters.

Insights captured using digital analytics, online survey and street intercept survey data were applied in developing a competitive place identity and destination marketing strategy to reposition Latrobe City as a compelling place to live, work, visit and invest. The strategy informed council policy.


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 Latrobe Story campaign attracted over 100 stories from local people and businesses and media outlets.

The perception study and Latrobe Story campaign set the standard for regions facing periods of change, particularly as a result of climate change and its effect on the coal industry.

Highly influential government, private sector and celebrity participants all gladly contributed their expertise and time.