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Transforming the State Library of Victoria

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Content and PR for Architectus’ world class design.

It’s not often the opportunity arises to reimagine a part of national history. Our architecture client Architectus, in partnership with Denmark’s Schmidt Hammer Lassen, endeavoured to bring Melbourne the world’s best library design, merging the history of a heritage building with the needs of the next generation of Victorians.

Architectus design State Library Architecture PR

Co-designed with input from school children and through extensive consultation with diverse groups of Victorians, the $88.1 million development will strip back the layers of one of Melbourne’s most loved landmarks to reveal its original beauty. The redevelopment will transform the Library and return 40 per cent more space to public use, opening spaces that have been closed to the public for many years including Queen’s Hall and the Russell Street entrance, while adding new spaces such as the Children’s Quarter.

Architectus State Library victoria - Architecture PR

Collaborating closely with the State Library media team and project partners ahead of the hotly anticipated design unveiling, Keep Left ensured Architectus earned the media and key audience cut-through with a combined media relations and content development strategy to maximise earned and owned channels. Our content production team took a tour of the Library with Ruth Wilson, Director at Architectus, where she shared the inspiration behind the design and discussed the future of the Library. The resulting video formed an engaging insight into the project for Architectus website and social channel visitors, as well as for online media to embed into their stories.

Our property PR team invited key media contacts from both architecture trade media and major daily property and education reporters to attend a busy morning media call held at the library to unveil the renders. With two government ministers and multiple partners all vying for media attention, Architectus was able to gain strong share of voice across broadcast, print and online media by offering insightful interviews that relayed well-practiced key messaging, as well as the Keep Left team providing media kits which included quotes that established Architectus’ voice as an authority on the Library’s design.

Architectus State Library victoria - Architecture PR

Architectus’ role in the redesign received broad national coverage across outlets such as Channel 7 News, Channel 9 News, ABC, throughout the Fairfax network, the Herald Sun and industry media outlets like Architecture & Design and Architecture AU.

With media coverage reaching an approximate audience of 21,120,643, Architectus’ message was communicated through 23 unique stories nationally achieving an average Keep Left Impact Score of 81.93 out of 100.

Find out more about our work with corporate and property clients across Australia, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

Is all publicity good publicity?

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Brand management in a crisis.

If your brand has ever had a difficult run-in with the media, it’s hard to take an organisation seriously when they claim “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. Particularly when dealt with the wrong way, an organisation can receive terrible publicity that can have a detrimental impact on the brand and business.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

In the age of social media, bad news travels fast. A brand’s first response will always be the one people remember, and if this comes from a place of frazzled urgency, you can find yourself in strife. United Airlines received more bad publicity than it could have bargained for this year, but it was the initial justification for its actions that truly disgruntled the public.

On April 9th 2017, a passenger was forcibly dragged from an overbooked United Airlines flight after refusing to forfeit his seat for a staff member, losing his front teeth and becoming bloodied in the scuffle. This letter to United staff was released on the day of the incident:

“This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help,” United CEO Oscar Munoz wrote. “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.”

It only took a day for the second letter to be released which refuted the actions taken and provided the deepest apologies to the passenger that was forcibly removed from the plane. Unfortunately, this was too little too late – the damage had been done.

bad publicity for united airlines makes headlines

A diamond in the rough.

It’s important to remember that it is possible to come back from condemnation. In late 2015, Airbnb came under fire with bad publicity when research revealing customers with “distinctively African-American names are 16% less likely to be accepted relative to identical guests with distinctively White names.” That data was only compounded by reports on social media from travellers who experienced that discrimination first-hand, as well as a lawsuit over such actions.

Acting as the true hero the brand seeks to portray, its CEO released this letter which took a profound stance on the issue:

Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them. Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry. I take responsibility for any pain or frustration this has caused members of our community. We will not only make this right; we will work to set an example that other companies can follow.

And indeed it has. This branded indiscretion has resulted in Airbnb taking a stand against not only racial discrimination, but becoming a vocal advocate for marriage equality also.

Airbnb turning bad publicity into advocacy

Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word.

To be clear, brands will always be vulnerable to bad publicity, but mastering your rise from the ashes could be what saves your name (and your neck). As Airbnb so humbly showed, admitting to your mistakes and apologising is a good start if there are no legal implications.

So, what can you do to prevent hordes of villagers chasing you with pitchforks?

Test potential scenarios and put your plan in writing. Pick your spokespeople, your channels and your approach, and review your plan regularly to ensure it’s up to date. This may seem menial, but when your team is in shock about the meteor coming their way, you’ll be glad to have something that was prepared on a calmer, sunnier day. Acknowledge the situation, apologise to the effected parties, state your values and outline your plan of attack moving forward.

Bad publicity doesn’t have to have the last word. Who knows, you may just come out better for it in the end.

Find out more about our work with consumer brands and corporate clients across Australia, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

The truth behind the barcode

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Baptist World Aid’s Ethical Fashion Report.

For the fourth year, Baptist World Aid released its industry-leading research report, revealing the fashion brands succeeding and failing at mitigating the risk of worker exploitation in their global supply chains. With 106 apparel companies (or 330 brands) receiving a grade from A to F, this year’s Ethical Fashion Report was bigger than ever. While highly anticipated among industry players as a benchmarking tool, and among consumers as an ethical shopping guide, there was uncertainty surrounding potential media fatigue.

Baptist world aid's ethical fashion report - cotton picking behind the barcode

Keep Left’s community engagement PR team took to the challenge. While the launch date has always coincided with the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the team decided this year’s report needed to transcend the conversation beyond the accident. Ultimately, the report’s reputation provided an opportunity to demonstrate the impact of putting pressure on fashion brands to be transparent, while at the same time increasing consumer awareness that an issue exists.

Baptist world aid's ethical fashion report - behind the barcode

Armed with fresh angles, a strong visual package and 3rd party spokespeople at the ready, the team seeded story angles to key outlets and secured prominent media interest well prior to the report release day. A vital part of this process was Baptist World Aid spokesperson, Gershon Nimbalker, who has extensive media experience and was able to participate in interviews ahead of the report release.

Cue launch day. Having coordinated print and online coverage already, and broadcast interviews from 6am, Gershon used the day’s spotlight to highlight some of the most prominent findings from the 2017 report and explain what consumers can do to vote with their wallets. Coverage was achieved across print, radio, television and online media outlets including:

Baptist world aid ethical fashion report

The explosive launch day and subsequent coverage saw over 50 million people reached with news of the Ethical Fashion report. Of the 247 pieces of coverage, four in every five included an interview or quotes from Gershon and 73% directed its audience to the Baptist World Aid “Behind the Barcode” website. In seven days following launch, more than 42,000 people went online to see the report and after four weeks the website traffic was still 35% higher than average.

Find out more about our work with not-for-profits across Australia, including St John Ambulance, Red Nose and Wesley Mission Victoria, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

The Light & Shade of Puppies

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International Guide Dog Day & Guide Dogs Victoria’s 60th birthday.

To mark International Guide Dog Day (IGDD) and their 60th birthday, Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) came to our social change PR team with news of a collaboration with Public Transport Victoria. A tram wrapped in pictures of puppies would be travelling the CBD. Knowing a media opportunity when we see one, our team jumped at the chance to extend the gravity and reach of the day with a dual-strategy campaign and activation.

puppy tram PR - The light & shade of puppies

Building on the collaboration, the team organised ambassador dogs and sweet treats to join commuters on the tram for the organisation’s 60th birthday, news that lifestyle and consumer media would love to share.

But we also wanted to draw the audience in beyond puppies and highlight the profound value of Guide Dogs. This IGDD we worked with GDV to show the data behind this value and release GDV & Swinburne Uni’s preliminary findings into how Guide Dogs offer much more than mobility.

GDV 60th birthday - the light & shade of puppies

More than Mobility

The research revealed that Guide Dogs act as social facilitators, help to manage mental and physical health issues, and encourage the handlers to try new challenges, develop new skills and think differently about themselves.

Alongside our PR work, we filmed a case study to give life to the research findings. The 40 second video represents years of companionship and guidance, a snippet of the relationship Peter and his Guide Dog Barry share.

Celebrating with Guide Dogs Victoria

With a set date for the 60th birthday and IGDD, our social change PR team created a newsworthy package to generate broad media interest. This included GIFS, photos and interview opportunities with GDV’s CEO Karen Hayes and CEO of Public Transport Victoria, Jeroen Weimar, a long-standing supporter of Guide Dog accessibility.

Guide dogs victoria 60th birthday- puppy gif

Unsurprisingly, news of dogs on a tram gained huge traction online. After being published on Broadsheet, fans came hunting for the tram in the city where they could cuddle GDV ambassador dogs and take home a celebratory cookie to promote the organisation taking the lead for 60 years.

Guide dogs victoria - broadsheet

Results

The two strategies gained broad media coverage nationally, with an approximate audience of 5.7 million people. Among the 120 articles covering GDV and IGDD, the story was featured on ABC News Breakfast, 3AW, ABC Breakfast Radio, Channel 9 News, Channel 10 News, Herald Sun and The Urban List.

Find out more about our work with not-for-profits across Australia, including St John Ambulance, Red Nose and Wesley Mission Victoria, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

Hayball’s masterplan solution

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Victoria’s first vertical state high school.

In a richly populated inner-city area such as Richmond, unoccupied land is a luxury of old. With the suburb boasting an iconic industrial history, the need to accommodate an increasing number of high school students in modern, forward-thinking education facilities has been a pressing issue for locals. Keep Left’s architecture client Hayball came up with an innovative solution for the brief of Richmond’s first vertical high school.

Hayball's design for Richmond High school

Rising above a Richmond car park, Hayball’s $43 million vertical school design creates a space for 650 students and delivers integrated educational and communal facilities that will optimise cross-cultural learning opportunities.

A project of this gravity tends to draw the attention of media on merit alone. But with state government and education spokespeople attending the turning of the sod, it was vital to our property PR team that the voice of Hayball could break through the political noise to share the passion behind the project.

Armed with hard hats and prepared quotes, our team used the ceremony as an opportunity to ensure that news of Richmond High School went hand in hand with the key messages of Hayball and  project director David Tweedie.

Although good news travels fast, state-of-the-art news travels even faster. With targets in education, property and architecture media; the story of Hayball’s vertical school quickly received national attention across a range of trade and mainstream media.

Hayball Property PR coverage in Urban Melbourne

In the space of five days, the team had earned coverage for Hayball in more than 15 different print and online publications. The coverage included pieces in the likes of Urban Melbourne, The Age and its syndications nationally, Architecture AU, The Real Estate Conversation, The Urban Developer and Education Review. This resulted in an average Impact Score of 87, with a huge potential audience of over 10 million people.

Find out more about our work with corporate and property clients across Australia, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

ME's Household Financial Comfort Report

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Finding gold within in-depth reporting.

In 2017, more and more people are heading to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook for their daily news. This is making it increasingly difficult to earn the attention of an audience if you have something to say in more than 140 characters. Here lies the tension – among all the snappy headlines, is there still a place for information rich reporting?

Our corporate PR client ME released its 11th bi-annual Household Financial Comfort Report as a way of providing individuals with in-depth insights into the financial situation of fellow Australians. The 48-page report gauges the impact of the economy on household financial comfort, using the results collected from 1,500 Aussie households as evidence of their findings.

ME Household Financial Comfort Report Cover Page

Keep Left’s corporate PR team set out to communicate the golden messages from the report to national media outlets; highlighting ME’s focal insights into the clear divide between rich and poor widening and income cuts and employment woes hurting financial comfort of Australian households.

ME Household Financial Comfort Report Quote

 

Years of experience has taught our team the key to communicating complexity. Rather than dumbing down valuable research, we aim to create palatable insights for reporters allowing them to take the information and run with it.

The results? 600 pieces of coverage across Australia.

With coverage achieved across print, radio, television and online; our team secured many features including:

  • Fairfax: The Age, SMH and online syndications
  • Newscorp: Herald Sun and online syndications
  • A Current Affair
  • ABC: News 24, online news, The World Today radio show

Over 43 million eyeballs saw the insights produced in ME’s Household Financial Comfort Report, reaffirming our knowledge that honest insights and well communicated news is never out of fashion.

Find out more about our work with corporate and property clients across Australia, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

Hayball's return to craft

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The art of long-lead media in property PR.

In a time-poor and fast-paced media world, the benefits of long-lead media can often be overlooked. Fortunately, our property PR team are experts in utilising this age-old art to achieve coverage that drives conversation about outstanding projects.

Working with our architecture client Hayball, Keep Left commenced the seven-month process of securing coverage in the February edition of Australia’s leading residential architecture magazine – Houses.

Living room in House Magazine

Published in Houses, Australia’s leading residential architecture magazine for designers and their clients – http://architectureau.com/magazines/houses/

As a multidisciplinary architecture firm, Hayball’s projects span the categories of multi-residential, mixed-use, education and interior design. This Edwardian restoration and expansion project provided lead architect, Thomas Gilbert, with the opportunity to present the craftsmanship that the practice has built its reputation on.

Hayball project article in Houses australia

With a canvas of stunning architecture and vast spaces, it wouldn’t do the story of this project justice if it were scribbled in the caption of an image or summarised in the column of a newspaper, so we raised the bar higher. Our property PR team pitched a profiling opportunity to Houses in August of 2016, creating time for interviews, tours and copy review that would highlight the expertise and precision involved in creating this home.

Hayball's architecture project the bayside residence

The eight-page spread in the February edition of Houses showcased the incredible work that went into The Bayside Residence. This coverage had a potential readership of 20,000 people and resulted in an incredible, near perfect Impact Score of 98.

Find out more about our work with corporate and property clients across Australia, or get in contact to see how we could work with your brand.

Recruiting for Guide Dogs Australia

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Going national to recruit for Guide Dogs Australia

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to cuddle an adorable Guide Dog puppy? What if you were given the option to keep one for a little while? Our social change PR team recently rolled out a recruitment campaign for Guide Dogs Victoria to spread the word about the growing need for puppy raisers across Australia, securing an interview with ABC News Breakfast to help recruit for the envious role.

With two small puppies trailing behind her, Charlie Spendlove of Guide Dogs Victoria joined Ali and PK on the ABC News Breakfast couch to chat about what is involved in being a puppy raiser.

The interview was broadcast nationally across ABC and ABC News 24 a total of five times, with a potential audience of 1,237,000 viewers.

It was also published on ABC News Breakfast’s Facebook and Twitter, receiving over 14,000 views online and a 93 on the Keep Left Impact Score. Most importantly, this piece of earned media resulted in a jump of 233 hits to the puppy raising page and a 450% increase in puppy raiser inquiries that day.

Keep Left have been working with Guide Dogs Victoria for the past four years to deliver a comprehensive PR strategy for the work it does in helping individuals and families of those who are blind or have low vision.

Find out more about our work with not-for-profits across Australia, including St John Ambulance, Red Nose and Wesley Mission Victoria.

10 Tips for a Killer Media Performance

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Speaking to the media can be a daunting experience. Preparation is key and we take a very specific approach to getting our clients media-ready at Keep Left.  As no one likes ‘bad talent,’ we thought we’d share our top tips for a killer media performance.  What else have you found works?

  1. An interview it not a normal conversation: You wouldn’t repeat yourself in a normal conversation.  It’s okay to repeat yourself in an interview.
  2. In fact, repetition is good: Know your top 3 key messages and make sure you get these in early, as an interview can go very fast once it’s started.
  3. Practise your elevator pitch: The broadest questions are often the hardest to answer but on the positive, it gives you the opportunity to communicate your elevator pitch, so it’s worth practising.
  4. Remember your audience: Know the audience the journalist is reporting for and tailor your responses accordingly.
  5. Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist: A journalist is looking for a story that will inform, educate and entertain their audience.
  6. Find a bridge: The trick to a successful interview is to find a bridge between what you want to say (company message) and what the journalist wants to hear (the angle / what’s in the public interest).
  7. It’s okay to not know the answer: If you don’t know, just say so and we can circle back with the journalist after the interview.
  8. Stand up for phone interviews: This expends the diaphragm and allows for better projection.  Especially important for radio interviews.
  9. Bridging statements: If you get cornered with a question you don’t want to answer, use bridging statement to navigate your way out i.e.:  “That’s an interesting question, but what I’m here to talk to you about today is…” or “I see your point, however the interesting thing here really is…”
  10. Feel free to ask the journalist questions too: We’re all consumers at the end of the day, so feel free to ask a few questions back.