Johanna’s sense of place

When Jo Roca and Jason Little, the couple behind For The People moved to Tasmania in 2019 during Covid, they thought it would be for a little while. Today, they’re carving out a future here.

Creative Director of For The People, Johanna Roca, sits in a Launceston café holding baby Ziggy. The mother of two is from Colombia, her husband from Scotland and as she bounces Ziggy she announces with a smile, “he’s Tasmanian.” It seems For The People now have their very own born and bred local, right here where the agency have developed powerful place branding.

For The People are experts when it comes to creating a lasting place brand. It’s the very reason they’ve been called on by locales like the City of Sydney, Inner West Sydney, the Snowy Valleys and more recently Tasmania’s West Coast and Derwent Valley. Of course, they deliver more than just place branding with a team ranging from internationally-recognised designers, multi-format storytellers, strategists, researchers, illustrators, user experience (UX) specialists and animators. They’ve created brand identities for the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home through to NSW Government.

Their philosophy is simple; Branding and strategy is our approach. Design, storytelling and technology are our tools. But creating something For The People is always our goal. It seems that the agency always comes back to one focus and that’s people. So, it’s fitting that since moving to Tasmania, Johanna and Jason simply love working with the Tasmanian people.

“It’s more human,” Johanna says simply. “Business in Sydney and elsewhere feels very transactional and can be bogged down by bureaucracy and hierarchy. Here, you’re just doing business with people at the end of the day. You sit with them. It’s easier. It’s more fun. It’s more honest.”

Johanna and Jason began working on their brand for Tasmania’s West Coast while still living in Sydney before deciding to base themselves here, opening a second Launceston office. The work required countless trips to the west coast, setting up a pop-up office there, meeting locals and gaining an understanding of the remote region. The team worked collaboratively with government, businesses and residents to develop a brand that could have a genuine impact socially, economically and environmentally.

“Place branding is quite complex as it’s public. It has to please and work for the people that live there,” explains Johanna, “so with the West Coast there was lots of consultation at the beginning of the process to really understand what we’re talking about. Through workshops, interviews, and meeting with all types of locals, we got to know them and got to know the place. It’s the best part of our job. The West Coast wasn’t just a job, we got emotionally involved in the work.”

All the projects completed by For The People around place branding are developed by the eyes of outsiders. Johanna explains, “we’re not locals in these scenarios. They hire us to go and tell them what they’re about. It often takes an outsider to identify this. We then closely collaborate to bring it to reality. We couldn’t do it without them. People often think only of logos, colours and aesthetics. These elements might be visually pleasing but this is superficial. It’s about connecting with and understanding the community and their story.”

Following the success of their West Coast brand, For The People embarked on a creative vision for the Derwent Valley, highlighting the historical and natural abundance ripe to be discovered, just 40 minutes from Hobart. They have also picked up other clients including leading Tasmanian architecture firm, Cumulus. Not only do clients enjoy support from the Launceston Office but can access the full team in Sydney and their satellite office in Fremantle, Western Australia.

“With any place brand attracting visitation is only one level; the main goal when you get it right is about the actual locals,” describes Johanna. “It’s about attracting people to invest long term in the place.”

With Tasmanian Ziggy ready for his afternoon nap, it appears Johanna herself has done just that. She and her family are well and truly invested in Tasmania.

Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.

Find out more about the For The People.

For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.

Top image: Ollie Khedun
[Doing business in Tasmania is] more human. Business in Sydney and elsewhere feels very transactional and can be bogged down by bureaucracy and hierarchy. Here, you’re just doing business with people at the end of the day. You sit with them. It’s easier. It’s more fun. It’s more honest.
Jo Roca
[Doing business in Tasmania is] more human. Business in Sydney and elsewhere feels very transactional and can be bogged down by bureaucracy and hierarchy. Here, you’re just doing business with people at the end of the day. You sit with them. It’s easier. It’s more fun. It’s more honest.
Jo Roca