Introduce yourself and tell us your story.

I’m Jareen Summerhill, and I’m the General Manager of Marketing at Zoos Victoria, which look after the three properties; Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary. But there’s another unknown element of what we do that people probably don’t know about, and that’s our conservational work. We have organised Don’t Palm Us Off and Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife – some great campaigns to get Victorians thinking about animal care and wildlife overseas or in their own backyard. Previously to Zoos Victoria, I worked at the Melbourne Museum. I have liked both roles, as what really drives me is learning more about the world in which we live and being able to make it into a better place. I was always the nerdy kid who had the encyclopaedias out doing poster projects. Being able to continually learn is what drives me and being here at the Zoos Victoria is not only about learning but then also having an impact on saving wildlife.


The Interpreters spend a lot of time trying to understand our clients’ customers and segments within the market. How well do you know Zoo visitors?

I know our visitors so much more now because of the Interpreters and the work we have done together. When I started working here I knew a little bit about Zoo audiences from working at the museum, but it was great to learn about the differences between the two types of visitors. The main difference obviously is the interaction with the animals, which I believe is just a profound and inspiring experience – hopefully from that our visitors are also inspired to act on the conservational aspects too. The Interpreters research has been instrumental in helping us understand what drives people to visit zoo properties and recently we’ve just tested a night experience at Werribee Zoo and how that can appeal to adult audiences.


We do a lot of problem solving at The Interpreters, so we’re interested in how other people solve problems. How do you approach problem solving?

As a marketer I really rely on data, and I’ve been blessed to always have great market researchers around me who have been able to show me the value of the visitor voice – for both qualitative and quantitative research. One question that I’m constantly asking myself is how we build a stronger connection between the Victorian public and our zoo properties, and I was so excited when The Interpreters helped us develop a brand health score which made it easier to answer that question and gave us an understanding of what levers and drivers are important in helping us connect to people.


Interpretation is subjective but a key part of our analysis. We’re always interested in the ways other people might interpret key trends or things of interest from their specialism. What do you envisage as the Zoo of the future?

I believe that we’re sitting in the zoo of the future here at Werribee Open Range Zoo. We’ve heard great feedback amongst some qualitative research we’ve done recently, but then also had that reinforced through the results from our brand tracking study. That data showed us the NPS score for Werribee is higher than any other properties, connection and enjoyment of visitation is higher too. What’s even better is that we’ve seen visitation rise for Werribee Zoo amongst our internal measures. So Werribee is really our shining light in terms of growth, and what we want to build as the zoo of the future.


Because we firmly believe that Information is Beautiful, we would like to give you a copy of Information is Beautiful, ‘a stunning visual journey through the most revealing trends, fascinating facts and vital statistics of the modern world’. Because first impressions matter, have a scan through and tell us which visualisation caught your attention and why.

Oh wow! Looks how it’s presented! I have chosen this Low Resolution: The amount of sensory information reaching the brain per second. I’ve fallen for this because it’s presented so clearly and simply. I love how it’s clean and clear and the big boxes gives you a picture of the proportions really easily. I love it!