What is the “Dunedin Difference”


Recently a new marketing campaign was launched to promote my beautiful city of Dunedin, New Zealand. The campaign slogan “The Dunedin Difference” was set and utilized in the form of a website and passport to activities and vendors.

The “Dunedin Difference” is one of those “lets get away with saying nothing at all statements”. At least if we are going to avoid using a positioning statement then we should make an effort to evoke some sort of emotional reaction. It is nice to think though that Dunedin has matured enough to stop referring to itself as “I am Dunedin.”

If we don’t define a “unique identity” for Dunedin city we will continue to complete our marketing communications with empty questions, process sentences or quick fixes. Until then we all await in eager anticipation the answer to the the Dunedin Difference question. What is the “Dunedin Difference”?

1 comment

  • Firstly I agree with you in that the positioning statement of the “Dunedin Difference” lacks identity. However it is not and was never meant to be a positioning statement for the city of Dunedin. While I believe it is partly funded by the Dunedin City Council, it is predominantly a tourism operator funded initiative to drive domestic visiting friends and relatives (VFR) to local tourism operators. A sense of pride… local ambassadors etc etc is phase one…. followed by a domestic marketing campaign to drive tourism.

    Secondly, the positioning statement was conceived by an agency on the north island with a brief as per the above. So as far as evoking an emotional response from a local audience… we need to clarify that it wasn’t developed to promote a city…. but generate tourism revenue for the city.

    However with that said….. you raise “what is the Dunedin Difference”? What if it was a campaign for the city? If we survey a cross section of locals (NB: that’s people who live here today…. not just people who have lived here for 25 years or more) you will find an emotional response to a myriad of benefits that the city has to offer. There isn’t one “unique identity” to Dunedin… apart from it is unique.

    I am an “outsider”. Not just from Otago but from New Zealand. I’ve lived in small towns, small cities and one of the largest cities in the world. I’ve yet to come across a town/city/state with more of an identity crises than Dunedin. We’re Scottish (but the UK has car park’s older than our Castle… which was built by an Australian). We’re a University town (that continues to quash any student activity/spirit which results in revolts and rioting and bad publicity). We are a town built on Rugby (I won’t go into the stadium debate). We are built on wildlife and nature (However the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign has died a slow death so it’s hardly generating jobs). We are Heritage Buildings (Again… most are empty in the Exchange… and most are cold).

    So it seems that we are a town of doubters… passionate doubters… about our strengths, identity, and vision for the city. HOWEVER…. how can we use it to our advantage. As Peter Drucker once said… “…the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous”. We have been trying to sell this city by spinning a yarn and attempting to change a want into a need. Or worse… telling them “it’s alright here”. What have we got here that people need? What will make more people move here, more corporate offices, more families, more entrepreneurs? Something that we can all agree on. If I may plagiarise another one of your observations Hayden…. we are a “World within a World”.

By Hayden Breese