It is sometimes difficult to get loyal consumers to accept a rebrand especially in its first year as people, in general, do not like change. They get nervous that the heart and soul of the company or product they have been using will somehow be different. However, if done well and communicated in the right way, a rebrand has the potential to elevate an organisation to a whole new level whilst providing far-reaching publicity opportunities.
In just its first year, the Groundwater Country Music Festival brand was truly embraced by the spectum of people who had a connection with it.
The media, festival attendees and artists took to it like a duck to water and enabled its reach to extend beyond established boundaries to millions around the world.
Did this mean every single person liked it? No. With the creation of any brand that is virtually impossible. However this worked as the new name and story behind the brand was shared, as much as possible through its marketing communications, in the lead up to the first rebranded festival. This enabled audiences to be part of the brand journey and so, for the small few who didn't like it, they at least UNDERSTOOD it.
Any person that is expected to buy 'from' or buy 'into' your brand has a right to ask about and understand it. If you, as the owner do not fully understand or connect with the the who and the why i.e. your own brand story, it's going to be difficult to get others to connect too.
Previously known as the Broadbeach Country Music Festival, a decision was made to investigate a potential rebrand moving into it's sixth year. I undertook a Brand Workshop with the Broadbeach Alliance team and board where two key objectives were devised as the stipulation if a change were to occur.
1. Whilst this is and will remain an authentic Country Music Festival, any new brand had to embrace the potential blending of musical genres to attract diverse audiences. Therefore the word ‘Country’ should remain in the title but not OWN it.
2. With such a significant increase in the previous year's numbers and, an outstanding reputation from artists and festival attendees, the festival had grown to national event status. Therefore, whilst Broadbeach would still be the footprint and heart beat of the festival, a new brand would need to have universal appeal and not instigate a 'regional' perception.
In essence, to reflect its status as Australia's fastest growing music festival, it had to have a name that was bigger than it's locality, was built for longevity and had the potential to become a household name.
Festival Director, Mark Duckworth came up with the genius name Groundwater. I looked deeply into the meaning behind the word to see if had the potential of connecting with our audiences, which it certainly did. We worked on bringing it to life with talented designer Keil Teilman and before we knew it a new brand and a new chapter of this much loved festival was born.
It was estimated that it would take 1-2 festivals for the general public to adopt the new name and brand into their general psyche but, beyond all of our expectations, Groundwater Country Music Festival literally 'took' overnight.
How do we know it worked?
People talked about. They said its name. The wore the merchandise. They shared it. They actively let their love for it be known.
And, the cherry on the cake? US sensation Granger Smith, the most popular artist at Groundwater 2018, wore the Groundwater Country Music Festival cap on stage during his Hawaiin tour. With a social media reach of over 8 million people that is a massive cost-effective reach for a new brand!
Groundwater is the common denominator in bringing people together. It reflects Australia’s unique environmental aspects, drawing from both the Aboriginal people’s close spiritual connection with the land, as well as the farming community’s reliance on groundwater for survival. Groundwater reflects the innate culture of the Australian people who use the rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans as a central part of life.