Innovative interactive digital experiences now form an important component to be integrated as part of any digital marketing campaign for Place Branding of a City or Destination. The integration of these interactive experiences provides an opportunity for deeper engagement with the targeted audience and stakeholders, and a means of linking the experiential nature of the launch with digital and social platforms i.e. integrating “offline” events with online experiences.

It is also a user interface and best practice expectation from Gen X through to Millennials that online content and experiences are accessible and seamlessly integrated within specific portals and across multiple platforms. Adding interactivity to content and experiences has moved well beyond early adoption and become a proven way to enhance concepts and experiences or deepen engagement by allowing audiences to interact with a taxonomy of rich media.

Interfaces such as interactive video also allow strategic partners to be featured within the content and to feature their own content and news, providing a user friendly platform for promotion and stakeholder engagement. It is recommended that aspects of interactivity be deployed across revised websites and apps that showcase the new brand for the City or Destination. This will allow viewers to access key content and be incentivised to learn more about the transformation and experience milestone events. Through augmented and virtual reality applications, participants would also be able to experience at events as well as engage in further gamified technology-based activities that contribute to the brand experience.

The 360 Newcastle Campaign was an effective example of integrating interactivity as part of Place Branding. An innovative campaign was launched in December 2017 ‘360 Reasons You Should Be In Newcastle”, aimed to attract businesses, investors and skilled workers to the city of Newcastle. The campaign was centred around a 360 virtual reality film showcasing many of the surprising locations that could be found in the city. The film was put to the test in a public activation at Wynyard Park in Sydney, where people were asked to put on a VR headset and name the eight amazing locations. The twist was they were all in Newcastle. The reactions by people were then turned into an online film, promoted on social media, targeting Sydney based skilled workers, business owners and investors. After watching the reaction film, people were then directed to an online hub containing ambassador videos promoting Newcastle’s brand positioning. Ambassadors were chosen to showcase a diversity of talent and to appeal to a broad ranging audience with expertise across fashion, innovation, music, technology and entrepreneurship.