Newcastle, the city that I moved to in 2008 from Sydney, and the place from where Lost At E Minor (and the rest of our business) is run (along with our office in Soho, New York), has just been rebranded. The new brand is simply NEWCASTLE. See Change.
It’s a good time to rebrand Newcastle. City branding makes sense if it’s done well and at a timely moment. I recall the ‘Absolutely. Positively. Wellington’ campaign when I was a child growing up in New Zealand. This branding campaign unlocked something that was brewing in Wellington at the time and helped transform the city into a vibrant, cafe-dominated city.
Newcastle is a city which has escaped its convict and, more recently, steel-city roots. They say Newcastle has more artists per capita than any city in Australia. It has amazing beaches, and in recent years, it has become an increasingly vibrant city to live in.
I certainly feel this buzz. We have Renew Newcastle, on whose board I sit. And a planned relocation of the University into the neglected CBD, which will inject youth into the heart of the city. Increasingly, interesting businesses, cafes, and people are becoming features of the city.
And then there’s the long awaited fast rail which is planned to run from Sydney to Newcastle en route to Brisbane. This will make commuting to Sydney feasible for Novacastrians.
For all this, Lonely Planet recognised Newcastle as one of the 10 hottest cities in the world for 2010.
So regardless of whether this is money well spent, or strong design, let’s brand the city in a more vibrant way and see the change it brings.