Understanding connection to place and visitor experience at a pivotal time for Melbourne’s most iconic square.

Learn more about this project


Fifteen years since its opening, Fed Square needed to gain a deeper understanding of what its stakeholders and visitors wanted, in order to maintain its viability and success into the future.

Fed Square has many stakeholders, from its tenants (including the National Gallery of Victoria’s Ian Potter Centre and the Australian Centre of the Moving Image), to government, arts, cultural and tourism stakeholders.

As a privately operated site, in 2017 Fed Square had reported annual revenue deficits, decreasing visitation and an overall lack of identity, purpose and direction. The organisation knew that increasing its understanding of key stakeholders was critical to ensuring its success – financial and otherwise – into 2018 and beyond.


Ellis Jones’ work with Fed Square involved:

  • Developing a framework for questioning and interviewing 18 stakeholders, among them Jonathan Tribe, CEO and Deborah Beale, Chair of FSPL.
  • Conducting in-depth, predominantly face-to-face, interviews to determine the impressions, expectations, opportunities and challenges the stakeholders saw in regards to Fed Square.
  • Running a national perception study to understand how Australians perceive Fed Square.
  • Following a month of interviews, we collated all the findings into a detailed report, with recommendations and insight on how Fed Square could best manage and improve their relationships with their stakeholders.


At each stage of the project, we compiled all findings and insights into a stakeholder engagement report. This was turned around quickly and provided as drafts, which were expanded on in the following weeks to ensure that all findings and insights were apparent, and supported by data.

The culmination of this work – the interviews, research and reports – provided insights for the development of a Federation Square brand strategy.

The brand strategy outlines Fed Square’s essence and identity, and importantly, what it must do to improve and re-engage its visitors into the future. It defines the brand and visitor experience, as well as articulating the base visitor personnel to address in marketing and engagement activity.

Ellis Jones assisted Federation Square to apply the brand in strategic planning and related decision making.