More than a campaign: ICC Sydney details latest brand efforts

Sydney convention, exhibition and entertainment venue talks through its multi-pronged effort to build more than a venue

ICC Sydney
ICC Sydney

Keeping the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney brand front of mind with the international convention community by highlighting experiences and the people behind its offering is the cornerstone of the venue’s new multi-pronged marketing campaign.

ICC Sydney’s latest ‘More than a venue’ campaign debuted at the international business events trade show, IMEX Frankfurt, in May and focuses on both the premium nature of the venue and home city, as well as the people, services, partners and features on offer. The campaign incorporates fresh photography, a sizzle video, a print magazine, digital content and new communications and is aimed at showcasing the way in which the ICC Sydney is more than a physical footprint.  

Creative focuses on a day in the life of a delegate, an external event planner and an onsite chef. The campaign comes two-and-a-half years after the venue opened as an integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment venue following a $1.5 billion, three-year redevelopment.

“When we launched in December 2016, all eyes were on Sydney, there was pent-up demand and fantastic response to what we now had on offer,” ICC Sydney director of corporate affairs and communications, Samantha Glass, told CMO. “The bureau had been building business and there was lots of business as we opened. Now we are in our third year, we wanted to go to IMEX with a new story. Paris has recently launched a new convention space and there are other new venues globally, so it’s a very competitive, changing space and we’re not necessarily the new shiny thing on the block.

“We have to stay at the forefront with brand awareness.”

With the ICC meeting commercial targets and driving economic impact far beyond what was expected when the site was first developed, Glass said there’s also an emphasis on both giving back to the city, as well as looking at fresh ways to bring in talent enhancing visitor experiences.

“We want our visitors to have experiences in the city, not just visit the venue. We want them to come back and also do more business here, or engage again, be a tourist, and so on,” Glass said.  

Informing the campaign is the ICC Sydney’s ‘legacy program’, which launched 12 months ago and is designed to connect clients with experiences under several strategic pillars. The first is connecting with first nation experiences, while the second is fostering Australia’s creative industry by connecting clients and delegates with established and emerging entertainers.

The third pillar of the initiative is providing an opportunity for students. A recent example of this is a partnership with Destination NSW to launch the inaugural Vivid School during the Vivid Sydney festival targeting high schools.

The fourth pillar is supporting innovators and entrepreneurs by helping clients tap into this ecosystem in order to bring different thinking into their events. The fifth and final pillar is promoting sustainability. An example is the ICC’s partnership with Sydney Water to promote clean drinking water at events to avoid plastic water bottles.

“It is a very competitive landscape, and we are a premium venue and city. We need to articulate these values to clients and show we’re more than just a venue,” Glass said. “We’re taking the outcomes of the legacy program and articulating these via stories and the campaign.

“We will continue to talk about the venue itself, but on top of that, we’re so much more. We have access to creative talent, aboriginal life, we have our ‘Feeding your performance’ culinary philosophy and direct relationships with food producers, and we can build connections via these stories with clients.”

With different stories appealing to different market segments, Glass said the intention is to dial up and down content in campaign and communications activity accordingly. The ICC has also debuted its new-look annual Sydney InView publication and digital content play, both of which will be used to showcase more about the people behind the venue, its connections and stories.

Glass said the team will put new surveys out to market later this year and undertake focus groups to gauge brand awareness and effectiveness.

“Our business is a very people and relationship focused one and clients can be booking many years in advance. So more detailed client surveys will be used to help inform the success of the campaign,” she said.

In a statement, ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy, said the ‘More than a venue’ campaign was an articulation of its vision to deliver value for clients and demonstrate leadership through actions.

“We are proud to be regarded as a leader in our industry, known for venturing beyond the norm and branching into new territories – whether that be through our incredible food and wine, our service delivery or our unmatched community connections,” he added. “From here, we will build on the value that we deliver.”

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