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

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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 Pty Ltd (Fed Square) is wholly owned by State Trustees Limited with responsibilities to the Minister for Tourism and the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. It has many important stakeholders: from its tenants (including the National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Koori Heritage Trust), to the state and capital city government and hospitable venue operators.

Fed Square sought to define a clearer understanding of perceptions of its use, cultural relevance and business model as well as a commitment of support from stakeholders to its future.


Ellis Jones’ work with Fed Square comprised a research study flowed by reporting, aligned to the strategic planning process.

Research activity comprised:

  • Development of a project narrative and base materials to clarify the intent of the research.
  • Conducting in-depth, predominantly face-to-face, interviews with senior stakeholders from the government, cultural and tourism sectors to determine impressions, expectations, opportunities and challenges.
  • Running a national perception study to define the relationship Australians have with Fed Square.
  • Completing a series of intercept interviews in the square on different days and at varying times.

Deliverables included:

  • Stakeholder engagement report and strategic recommendations
  • Brand perception report
  • Strategic brand identity direction for the organisation
  • Place identity mapping from the present day to future state
  • Visitor experience definition and value proposition
  • Visitor personae

We also provided recommendations on future actions to build relevance and position the brand.


A fascinating study with important insights for the state of Victoria, our work informed the strategic plan and key decisions regarding the future commercial and cultural mix for the space and the organisation.

Research provided the evidence the executive needed to negotiate fairly with stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of ensuring Federation Square continued to adapt and meet its potential as a vibrant, precinct admired internationally, and visited by Australians and visitors to the state.