When you walk into the offices of the Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation (QTTC) in Brisbane's CBD, the first thing you notice is the awards. They cover the main foyer wall, and downstairs on the 28th floor where holiday packages are sold wholesale to travel agents, they cover yet another wall.
The accolades come from all points: international film and video competitions, the Australian advertising industry, the tourism industry, even a statutory body which praises annual reports.
The awards have come thick and fast in the last few years in particular, reflective of an organisation coming into its own as a marketing force to be reckoned with.
"The awards are terrific," says Stephen Gregg, QTTC CEO. "But I would have to say that success for us is really measured only one way: consumer recognition of the product we market. In our case, it happens to be Queensland tourism, but we run our organisation like any top marketing entity would. Whether it's tourism or any other product."
It is this product based approach which makes the QTTC's portfolio of registered trade marks so critical to their operations.
"Before 1992, we really did not understand the value of intellectual property protection. We had been running our "Beautiful One day, Perfect the Next" campaign for some time and developing other branding, before we came in touch with a trade mark specialist with a patent attorney firm here in Brisbane," says Gregg.
The trade mark attorney moved quickly to ensure that only one party-the QTTC-could call these valuable assets their own. Essentially, his aim was to provide a legal monopoly over the logos and phrases which Australians and overseas tourists were increasingly associating with Queensland.
Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next, Sunlover Holidays, Live it Up! and the QTTC's own logo with the palm tree feature, are all registered across a variety of classes with the Trade Marks Office of IP Australia. The marks are also registered in a variety of other countries.
"Now our trade mark attorney is brought into the early stages of all new brand and campaign development. We make sure we have watertight protection and ownership, then we go out to the public with it," says Gregg.
"I think we are pretty innovative in this way, but it's quite natural once you realise just how valuable your intellectual property is."
This intellectual property is clearly the frontline marketing tool for this complex and successful organisation.
There are over 400 staff; a network of tourism offices across the country and overseas for retail sales; the wholesale holiday division is located on an entire floor at the QTTC headquarters; and of course, the marketing and corporate services areas are at the centre of it all.
But it doesn't take a market researcher to test the QTTC's success. Just tell any cabbie, anywhere in Australia, that you have just arrived from Queensland. Chances are your cabbie will lock eyes with you through the rear-view mirror and state, "Beautiful one day, perfect the next"
This case study has been compiled by IP Australia