Holsbosch Botanic Gardens

Branding saves science, the Hulsbosch way

In Examples by Peter Gearin

Design and brand expert Jaid Hulsbosch explains how his agency helped reimagine the iconic Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

It’s a rare opportunity for a design and branding agency to find a new client that’s 200-year-old. But that’s the chance Hulsbosch had when it worked with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

The 30-hectare Garden, founded by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1816, overlooks Farm Cove on the edge of Sydney Harbour. It is home to an outstanding array of local and foreign plants, and attract millions of visitors every year.

While it is been long acknowledged as an important recreational and tourism destination, the Garden team wanted to emphasise the work of its scientists and reposition itself as a leading Australian scientific institution. This planted the seed for a branding reboot, and Hulsbosch was brought in to make it bloom.

Hulsbosch began with a research program with insights from stakeholders, supporters and volunteers. It accompanied a communications audit by reviewing and measuring the Garden’s brand differentiation with local and global botanic competitors.

Hulsbosch says the final branding concept, “The Vital Science”, reinforces and emphasises the active output of the Garden’s scientists and horticulturists and their role in safeguarding our future. It’s a brand statement that anchors all Royal Botanic Garden Sydney creative executions.

Brand Tales asked Hulsbosch director Jaid Hulsbosch to explain the motivations for his agency’s work:

Scientists address some of the world’s most pressing issues and critical work is being done right here in Australia. All our lives depend on science and unless we continue to apply authoritative scientific expertise, the global population and humanity will be threatened.

It’s a rapidly changing time we live in. How can a creative services agency recalibrate brands and in doing so help to save science?

Our recent work with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – Australia’s oldest – revealed the significance of botanical science. When plastics kill the oceans, a rogue asteroid arrives on earth or an erratic foreign leader pushes the doomsday button, it’s the science of plant life that will keep civilisation from ending.

Jaid Hulsbosch

Jaid Hulsbosch

We needed to deliver a message about plants and their direct impact on our existence. We also needed to signal the start of a new era for the Garden – from one as guardian and custodian to courageous contributors of plant science and the broader conversation about sustaining our quality of life.

At the same time, we needed to expand perceptions and experiences of the Garden from being both a beautiful, relaxing place to visit with stunning horticultural displays, to also being a brand synonymous with scientific research and innovation.

Rallying behind this purpose, Hulsbosch created a campaign to demystify but also connect people with the issues of nature today to enrich their awareness and provide education. Helping people really think about sustainability and ways they can change their lifestyles to safeguard the future.

The compelling campaign confronts people with challenging statements and images that either hero real-life scientific projects happening in the Garden, or the every day, much-loved items that could be under threat if solutions are not provided as a global scientific community.

Fundamental facts and everyday items illuminate the need and the actionable results, so they can connect it to their everyday lives. The issues are now personal. The topics are real with high-level implications if plants disappeared with transforming impacts on climate change, food supply and medicine. There would be no flat white coffees or smashed avocado breakfasts or much, much more.

The Garden is a living lab developing revolutionary crop research and the world’s first rainforest seed bank, which is just some examples of its vital work, created through its leading horticultural and scientific expertise. It contributes real solutions for some of the world’s most critical environmental and biodiversity issues.

Botanic Gardens branding

The Hulsbosch brand project has effectively built importance and supported the Garden to secure local government funding and played a role in recently securing the biggest NSW Government investment in botanical sciences history – $60 million.

Truly creative brand work links innovative thought with good business sense and in this case, has significantly adjusted the state of science, offering up a critical “brand can help to save the world” result.

In a time of consumerism, the multi-layered brand approach has bolstered the important work of scientists and successfully continues the stories of botanical science today and for generations to come.

Links & references

Brand Tales article on the secrets of great branding

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