The World Stamp Expo
- Australia Post
- TANK Branding
In May 2013, Australia hosted one of the most significant events on the philatelic calendar – The World Stamp Expo. It was the second largest international stamp show held worldwide. Australia Post, as Principal Sponsor, worked collaboratively with creative agency TANK Branding to create a communications campaign to reach well beyond the dedicated stamp collector. The campaign didn’t just work; it eclipsed all expectations and went towards raising Australia Post’s Net Promoters Score. The successful communications plan delivered a result that gave a sense of pride and value to Australia Post, the Australian Philatelic Federation, the stamp community, and Melbourne.
In addition to acting as Principal Sponsor, Australia Post was responsible for the event’s brand communications. It quickly became apparent the event required a new brand to enable a distinct and memorable positioning. TANK Branding’s solution was to use the simple form of the postage stamp to give the identity strength and instant appeal. The key message of the Centenary of Kangaroo and Map Stamps was also cleverly integrated as a postmark. Importantly, the brandmark was easily reproduced and legible at various sizes – critical for cut through – and its blue colour balanced perfectly with the Australia Post brandmark.
How do you capture the imagination of all ages and demographics, and change the typical stereotype of the stamp collector – an old man soaking stamps in a teacup? TANK Branding and Australia Post centred on the human story through the creation of five characters – the Hunter, the Collector, the Designer, the Trader, the Lover. These were realistically illustrated through portraiture and emotive storytelling, realised in advertising, exhibition design, POS and event website. This unique approach resonated across audiences and international boundaries – connecting with UK Royal Mail, members of the public interested in arts and culture and tourists visiting the city and state.
A key objective for The World Stamp Expo was recognition as a major and relevant international event on the philatelic calendar. It also had to stand out in a highly competitive and saturated Melbourne events market. The buy-in from the philatelic community was staggering, with representatives from world postal administrations and dealers attending. Many of these stated that the campaign and event set a new benchmark. In fact, the campaign was estimated to reach over 6.5M people, with the website viewed by two-thirds of the world’s countries. The Victorian economy also benefited, with room nights booked 300% higher than projected.
The 2005 World Stamp Exhibition held in Australia achieved results well below expectations. Attendance and revenue generations were low, yields from marketing were poor, and the philatelic community was left disappointed. Through a modern, sophisticated and engaging communications campaign, Australia Post and TANK Branding produced outcomes far beyond expectations for the 2013 event: ticket sales were 300% higher than projected; total attendance was 320% higher than projected (400% increase on the 2005 event); Australia Post revenue was 330% higher than projected; and 53% of people had never attended a stamp show (with 38% below the age of 50).
As The World Stamp Expo was an opportunity for Australia Post management to instill a sense of pride in the company, it was critical that the event’s brand and communications were overwhelmingly embraced by the staff. This feat was clearly illustrated by the 18 divisions within Australia Post Headquarters who took part. The new identity also led to the transformation of the major publication of Australia Post’s philatelic division – the Australian Stamp Bulletin. The fresh and sophisticated design elevated its status within the philatelic community locally and overseas, with 35% of people finding out about the Expo through the Australian Stamp Bulletin.