Clarence identity needs to be nurtured
THE identity of the Clarence Valley will become clearer through its association with a new brand for the NSW North Coast, regional branding experts have said.
The emergence of the Northern Rivers NSW brand, the brainchild of nine business, industry and government bodies, created fears the Clarence Valley's identity could be lost or submerged in the bigger group.
Experts like Clarence Valley Council branding and marketing officer Louise Gumb and Jacaranda Festival manager Mark Blackadder say there are advantages to working with the new brand.
They realise they will need to be assertive with the presentation of the Clarence Valley's own brand.
Ms Gumb has been closely associated with the My Clarence Valley brand, which has been linked with the Northern Rivers brand.
"Its website views the Northern Rivers starting at the Queensland border, finishing at Grafton," Ms Gumb said.
"We like to think of the Northern Rivers starting at Grafton in the Clarence Valley."
She said My Clarence Valley had been successful because it created an entity with which Clarence residents identified.
"We have 35,000 photos on #myclarencevalley and 99.5 per cent of those are user-generated," she said.
Mr Blackadder, throughout a successful business career outside the region, always identified as a "Grafton boy".
He returned last year to manage Grafton's Jacaranda Festival.
"The strongest thing we had going for us was Grafton's identity as the Jacaranda City," he said.
"That was something we found people instantly identified with."
He said groups like the Jacaranda Committee needed to be careful with which organisations they became affiliated.
"We're keen to be part of Northern Rivers NSW," he said.
"We've been asked to join a group promoting Coffs Coast but there's no way we could do that. We've got nothing to do with Coffs Coast."
Mr Blackadder said he did not view Northern Rivers NSW as a threat to the Clarence identity.
"It will support us to market our brand through social media links," he said.
"People being able to link to the Jacaranda Festival and My Clarence Valley from their site is a big advantage to us.
"In my view they provide a tool for us to market our brands rather than conflict with us or submerge our identity into theirs."