The Power of Connections

16 Jun 2016

The opening of International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) this December will mark a paradigm shift in the way business events are delivered in Sydney. But with no physical venue to showcase or case studies yet in play, and a complex stakeholder environment to navigate, the task of marketing ICC Sydney has presented both a unique challenge and an unparalleled opportunity for us to disrupt the status quo.

Connecting the dots between traditional, digital and social communications, our approach has centred on the power of connections.

Here are five key ways we’ve embraced this philosophy to move beyond traditional venue marketing, paving the way for the world class launch of Australia’s premier integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct.

  1. Communications Tools 2.0 

Using technology to connect audiences with our vision has been critical to our success, from both a business development and communications perspective. We began our journey by creating a range of innovative tools, including interactive planning devices, sales presentations and marketing material that use a combination of capacity and planning specifications, animation and real footage to provide a virtual look inside ICC Sydney, bringing to life the scale of the buildings, the quality of the interior finishes and the ease of navigation and connectivity across the precinct.

Comprising interactive maps, animation, advance modelling and renders, each element of this multi-functional sales toolkit was designed as a reflection of the venue’s state-of-the art technology.

By immersing clients in a sensory journey that allows them to feel as though they are standing in the physical venue, these tools have continually proved to be a linchpin in securing major contracts from across the globe.


  1. Power of Connections

The centrepiece of a AU$3.4 billion, 20-hectare transformation of Darling Harbour, ICC Sydney represents a unique connection point for a vast network of stakeholders so we looked at all the ways we could connect with – and harness the power of – those around us.

We engaged with those sitting within the financial services hub to our North, the universities and start-ups to our South, the media, technology and cultural institutions to our West and the CBD to our East. We reached out to professors and students, to leading entrepreneurs and key growth-sector business directly or via associations like Centre for Economic Development of Australia and the Committee for Sydney. We connected with local and state government representatives across sectors to talk transport, infrastructure, trade and investment and tourism, and went beyond this to the federal level.

We discussed the role of an international convention centre in the economic development of our city, showcased the ‘beyond tourism’ benefits it brings and collaborated on ways to build a better Sydney together as the gateway to Australia.

The result of this 360 degree engagement approach has been the creation of an amazing, broad base of advocates who have mobilised around ICC Sydney to spread the word with authentic endorsements.


  1. Seamless Storytelling

To keep ICC Sydney at front of mind during construction, we have also harnessed the power of storytelling to showcase our venue, our team, our destination and the unique experience we will deliver for delegates.

From traditional news updates to feature stories, blogs and thought leadership articles, we have seeded a raft of sticky content across both national and international print, digital and broadcast media. Using our connections, we have scripted ‘Sydney’ stories that place ICC Sydney at their heart and found consistent ways to showcase the venue within a broader context – whether it be looking at the city as a global talent and business hub, investigating the role of the business events industry in stimulating economic outcomes, or highlighting the dynamic entrepreneurial, academic and cultural talents of Sydney.


  1. Sydney Views

Alongside traditional digital communications like e-newsletters to clients and stakeholders, our team has added a powerful tool to its marketing kit in the form of a custom magazine – Sydney Views.

An industry-first, Sydney Views launched in late 2015 with an initial print circulation of 35,000. Seeded through a multi-channel distribution strategy, The Power of Connections issue saw stakeholders, local thought leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as team members, share their personal stories and views on the venue, city and state.

Following positive industry feedback, our Feeding Innovation issue had a circulation of 50,000. It served as a platform to launch our innovative ‘Feeding Your Performance’ food philosophy. This will see ICC Sydney deliver ‘smart’ dishes comprising fresh, seasonal and ethically produced ingredients, expertly combined to fuel both physical and mental performance for delegates and visitors. The issue also explored the other ways ICC Sydney is driving innovation and growth in our city.

Our next edition will focus on technology, providing us with a great opportunity to showcase our cutting edge capabilities and some amazing next generation thinking in Sydney.

Available in print and online, Sydney Views is distributed directly to ICC Sydney’s extensive national and international client base, at key industry events, airport lounges and inserted into other trade magazines – replacing traditional ad spend in some instances. Each issue has been backed by a sophisticated PR and social media campaign, with bespoke content created for contributors and ICC Sydney partners to extend the reach, depth and frequency of our messaging.

Sydney Views has also provided a unique talking point for business development teams and generated a raft of direct approaches including new client enquiries, supplier and potential contributor introductions, and even offers to advertise should we choose to monetise the title in future.


  1. Rich Social

To support our business and communications objectives, we have also crafted a bespoke multi-channel social media strategy which is supported by an asset pipeline that is best in class and fuelled by rich content that can be remixed across platforms.

By utilising the power of social media through both our own and stakeholder channels, we have been able to amplify our core messages and achievements, generate new conversations and track what content our local and international communities are most engaged with so we can continually improve our offering.

ICC Sydney now has close to 40 major international conventions and 50 exhibitions secured, with hundreds of national and local events in the pipeline. This is testament not only to having a great product, a world class venue, but to the ways in which we have been able to harness the power of connections – both real and virtual – to tell our story.

For more on ICC Sydney’s approach, view this this short video.