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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Determining the best way to spread your brand’s messaging can be an overwhelming task. When we’re bombarded with messages about fake news and false claims, consumers are looking for brands to practise what they preach. FIJI Water is a brand that stands for healthy living, beautiful design and Earth’s Finest Water. These elements were at the heart of Keep Left’s planning when we curated Earth’s Finest Morning – an intimate morning retreat for the body and soul hosted by influencers Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich.
Given FIJI Water is already a much-loved brand in the Australian market, the team reached out to FIJI Water’s target market with an offering that would make the FIJI Water way of life a tangible experience – a star studded morning of relaxation and rejuvenation at a secret Darling Point location. Initiatives to increase brand awareness and portray existing messaging were woven through all consumer, online and media messaging.
Over the course of five months, our consumer brands PR team coordinated the event management, influencer engagement, talent management, consumer ballot, web design, product branding and social media outreach for Earth’s Finest Morning.
The essence of the event was to start the weekend the right way, the FIJI Water way. Attended by Sydney celebrities and influencers, a small selection of media and ten lucky competition winners and friends; guests were welcomed into a morning to be remembered. Following a workout led by the celebrity couple and a mindfulness meditation session, the 35 guests were treated to an impeccably styled healthy breakfast inspired by the FIJI Water brand, prepared by well-known Sydney stylist and chef Sarah Glover.
The morning was a hit with both attendees and the media, receiving broad coverage across online media and social channels. Coverage included two pieces on the Daily Mail and an estimated readership of 6 million people. With social media posts from both Anna Heinrich and Tim Robards, as well as influencers like Lisa Hyde, Chloe Chapman and Amelia Strofield, the event had a social media reach of approximately 900,000 users.
Engaging consumers with the FIJI Water brand in this way has left a lasting impression on the attendees and extended audience alike. FIJI Water was able to connect on an emotional and tangible level, reinforcing its brand value and messaging as Earth’s Finest Water.
No matter what industry you work in, it’s likely you’re witnessing the impact that advances in technology have on your workplace, whether it’s on the way you work, the tools you work with, or the way you interact with your customers.
With each year that passes, businesses around the globe see their trajectories alter and even change course as they battle to keep up with the rapid development of technology and altering customer expectations. What was once the newest ‘must-have’ innovation becomes the expected standard, and something new takes its place.
The retail industry is no stranger to this pattern. With over a decade of experience in providing PR support to the retail and FMCG industries, our agency has seen first-hand how retail is being revolutionised by advances in tech and innovation. Today, consumers’ expectations of service are greater than ever.
Whether you’re comfortable with change or not, it’s an inevitable part of doing business. It keeps things fresh, but it’s also how you continue to learn, grow and ultimately, how you remain successful.
Here are my top three reasons for why those in the retail industry should embrace change.
It challenges the status quo:
One of our core values as an agency is to push boundaries. Don’t be afraid to ask the question ‘why?’. That one word could lead to new ideas that may change the way you do business and measure your success, as well as impact your bottom line.
The rising trend of ‘retailtainment’ is case in point. Australian retailer General Pants has introduced interactive kiosks to their stores, giving consumers the chance to browse staff picks, add to the instore music playlist or even ask shoppers nationally for their opinions on pieces of clothing in real-time. Retailtainment takes into consideration the fact that shoppers are looking for more than something to spend their money on: they’re looking for an experience, and the experience you provide will be what sets you apart from your competitors.
This notion isn’t just limited to retail; the FMCG industry is a playground for those looking for innovative ways to refresh the customer experience. For example, we worked with Anchor Milk on a project which challenged the notion that ‘milk is milk’. By demonstrating how Anchor Milk’s product is made and educating consumers about why they should care about how their milk is made, consumers weren’t just buying the brand, they were experiencing it.
It forces you to adapt and remain relevant:
The truth is your business may be plodding along just fine with the same-old marketing strategy that keeps it afloat year on year. But with the retail landscape being disrupted by digital and technology at such a rapid rate, you need to adapt to change or risk stagnating and becoming irrelevant.
Omni-channel marketing is now the standard. Consumers expect retailers to have a digital presence and those who don’t are likely to lose customers to the convenience of their competitor’s offering. Over March, Melbourne’s fashion scene witnessed “Shop the Runway” at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF), where consumers could instantly purchase the items they had just seen on the runway through VAMFF’s website and social channels. And the FMCG industry isn’t missing out on the action either. Fast-food company Dominos has integrated an ordering system into its Facebook page to reach consumers on the platform where they’re spending most of their time.
It brings opportunity:
The atmosphere of change can reinvigorate your staff and your business strategy if you’re up for the challenge. Be open to new technologies that can change the way you operate.
Today we have the incredible ability to take a close look at the digital footprint of our consumers. We have answers to the questions we always wanted to know about who our customers are, where they are and how they shop. With such a vast amount of data at our fingertips, there’s no excuse not to tailor your offering to suit their needs.
By that, I don’t mean personalising a mass marketing email with their name, but exploring how new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence can propel your business ahead of your competition. For example, you could use AI to automate key areas of your work, such as restocking, enabling you to consider factors such as the weather, purchase rates and consumer behaviour when predicting your stock needs. Powerful stuff!
Remember, everything changes. But change is exciting: when we change, we adapt and move forward. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the retail industry grows and adapts to meet the new challenges 2017 presents.
A 90th birthday voyage for iconic Australian butter brand.
Western Star is celebrating 90 years of butter making this year. To commemorate, Keep Left’s consumer PR team worked with Australia’s favourite butter to ‘butter up’ its home state of Victoria and New South Wales with a 90th Birthday Voyage.
A giant truck in the form of an iconic butter block on wheels departed its hometown of Cobden on its maiden voyage to Sydney, where Western Star gave away more than 90,000 samples of hot cross buns and Spreadable butter at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Along the way, the big birthday truck spread plenty of ‘simple happiness’ by handing out Western Star Spreadable and hot cross buns at stops throughout the Western District of Victoria.
After leaving Cobden, where Western Star has been produced since 1926, the truck stopped in Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Maryborough and Bendigo before arriving in Sydney just in time for Easter.
“For the past 90 years and to this day, Western Star butter has been expertly crafted in Cobden from just two natural ingredients—cream and salt”, said Cobden Plant Manager, Bruce Manson.
“We couldn’t do this without the Cobden community or our 250 farmers throughout the southwest region of Victoria, so it’s only fitting that our Birthday Voyage celebrates where it all began and those who helped us reach this milestone”.
Corangamite Shire Mayor and Cobden resident, Jo Beard, whose great grandfather was involved in the Western Star butter factory 90 years ago looks forward to welcoming the truck: “Western Star has made countless contributions to the Cobden community and regional Victoria over the past 90 years, from investing millions, supporting community initiatives and not to mention creating jobs. Western Star is truly engrained here”.
There’s no denying that Western Star is Australia’s favourite butter—it was first confirmed in 2006. Western Star Original Butter also was named the Grand Champion Butter at the 2017 Australian Grand Dairy Awards for the second year running—the highest honour in the industry.
Look at any daily newspaper today, and you will see that technology underpins many of our most important stories. It impacts every business, government or not for profit in some way. This can be seen in the national debates over Australia’s energy future. Old coal fired power plants are out – and Tesla’s new high-tech battery farms are in. In the business pages, almost every article is about Aussie innovation, start-ups and disruption.
We have a fascination with the future and that’s why I believe technology stories are so powerful in the comms landscape. Rather than looking back at what has happened, tech gives us an opportunity to provide a vision for a better tomorrow and puts brands front and centre. This is why communicators need to be in tune with the CIO and technologists in their organisations. But unfortunately, not enough comms people engage with the tech boffins in their business, allowing incredible media opportunities to pass them by as a result.
Talking the tech talk
As comms people, our aim is to eliminate all acronyms and technical jargon. CIOs, CTOs, and IT people on the other hand are often the most engrossed in the language of tech. They’re used to speaking in jargon that can be bamboozle comms pros and is altogether too complex for customers, media and stakeholders.
As with any complex topic, it’s important to ask “how would you explain this to a seven-year-old?” The key from our side is to understand just enough of this jargon that it can be translated into messages that media, consumers and stakeholders will understand. Not only for the sake of proactive media, but also because some of the biggest issues and crisis risks for a business today can come from technology in the form of data breaches or major outages. This is when you need clear and simple language; and where the power of a well-trained spokesperson comes in.
Finding a tech spokesperson that media will love can be a difficult task. They need to know their company, offering and industry back to front; have a strong and informed opinion on current issues; and, most importantly, be able to communicate complexity in a simple way.
If you don’t have a person that meets these criteria, then you need to create one. Even if they are nowhere near media ready, find someone with passion in their voice about technology and the difference it can make for the industry and consumers. Media training can always be taught, but that initial spark is the thing that will make their insights electric.
As a takeaway, I have three pieces of advice for you:
Firstly, embrace technology as a story telling opportunity. Whether you like it or not technology is impacting every organisation – so take advantage of it.
Secondly, educate yourself as best you can in the language of technology.
And finally, if you can’t put your hand on heart say that you know who the CIO and technical experts are in your organisation, then find out. With a little bit of coaching, you might develop a new thought leader or reliable spokesperson in times of crisis.
Experian unlocks the power of data to create opportunities for consumers, businesses and society across 37 different countries. Its technologies help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
Experian’s Marketing Director Karl Miklis said the news comes at a time when Experian is strengthening its presence and commitment to the region.
“In this new partnership, we see a huge opportunity to communicate to consumers and businesses about the possibilities that can be achieved through data and analytics in the business world – and the positive role it can play in society.”
“This win truly aligns with our belief that storytelling should be backed with data-driven insights,” Keep Left CEO Gillian Yeap said.
“Globally Experian is a data powerhouse, but traditionally the brand hasn’t had a large share of voice in Australia. The company is host to a wealth of data and insights of critical importance to both businesses and consumers, so we are excited to help Experian communicate this content.”
The partnership commenced in September and to date the work has spanned traditional public relations and content production services – including digital copywriting, creative design and video production services from Keep Left’s in-house content production studio.
“The brief from Experian plays well to our experience and growth across technology, financial and professional services,” Yeap said.
Keep Left’s corporate and technology PR team already works with global technology companies such as IT giants Infosys, Australian tech success story Nitro, global mapping and location company HERE, and FinTech startup Airwallex. It also has a footprint in the financial services space with challenger bank, ME, and VicSuper as clients.
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.
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.
Melbourne-based PR and Content Marketing agency announces appointment of new CEO.
PR and content marketing agency, Keep Left, has today announced the appointment of Gillian Yeap as CEO, with former CEO and founder Caroline Catterall transitioning to the role of Executive Director.
Yeap is stepping into the role after eight years with the agency, having become a co-owner in 2015 and Keep Left’s Director of Strategy for the past two years.
As CEO, Yeap will oversee the running of the core PR and content production business, implement the agency’s strategic plan and nurture key client relationships alongside Keep Left’s long-standing management team.
After 15 years as CEO, Catterall’s transition to Executive Director will see her focus on the growth areas of the business with a particular focus on content marketing.
Yeap explained: “This move will allow us to keep the core business solid, while Caroline focuses on developing our capability in content marketing, exploring new tools and technologies and establishing relevant partnerships that will help future-proof the agency.
“The launch of our content production studio has been game-changing for the agency and for our clients, and we’re keen to continue innovating with our creative and digital services.”
With 11 years’ experience across a diverse range of sectors including property, social change, food, travel, health and technology, Yeap joined Keep Left in 2009 where her progression through the agency has seen her rising up the ranks in eight years. Since becoming a partner, a succession plan to CEO has been in place.
As part of the internal reorganisation existing team member Sarah Robertson has moved to the role of Strategy & Marketing Manager. Keep Left has also recently appointed Brooke Stephenson as Marketing Coordinator and Elena Goh as Finance & Operations Manager.
The announcement comes after a period of significant growth for Keep Left, with Catterall and Yeap achieving a 20 percent increase in revenue since they launched the content production studio in 2016.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The power of a good Instagram or Facebook post – that hits the right audience, with the right message, at the right time – can be transformative for brands and campaigns as part of an integrated public relations campaign. As part of our Tech Series, we’re shining the light on influencer marketing platform Hypetap this month, which we’ve been trialling with a few clients. They also just got a nice mention in The Age’s small business section. Meet Detch and Nik from Hypetap.