Tag: Earned Media


TrueLocal appoints FORWARD Agency to manage PR & Influence

FORWARD Agency today announced its appointment as public relations and influence agency partner for TrueLocal, following a competitive pitch.

The appointment will see FORWARD help TrueLocal build its brand profile and educate Australian small business and consumers about the benefits of using Australia’s largest online local directory.

Ruth Trewhella, TrueLocal Group Manager, said: “The FORWARD team impressed us with their strategic understanding of our category and innovative ideas to help us build relevant and engaging content. We were looking for a partner with solid traditional and digital public relations expertise as well as experience in working with influencers.”

Fergus Kibble, FORWARD Agency Founder and Managing Director said: “We are looking forward to working with TrueLocal and the extended Sensis team to help educate and inspire both businesses and consumers on how they can get more out of TrueLocal. The directories landscape is constantly changing, especially given the rise and rise of mobile apps, so we are pleased to be working with one of the lead innovators.”

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4 minutes with: Sean Pickwell, Director – Waterfront

A celebrity partnership could  help your brand to drive fast awareness, engagement and fan love;  and not to mention media interest. The right famous face paired with the right brand can sometimes be a match made in heaven, but finding that perfect fit might not be as easy as you think.  

We spent 4 minutes with Sean Pickwell, Managing Director of Australia’s number one international celebrity sourcing agency, Waterfront to get some expert advice on celebrity partnerships.

In your opinion, what are some of the most successful brand and celebrity partnerships of the last 12 months, and why?

There are so many… but a few favourites over the last year for me are:

Mila Kunis – Jim Beam – I love it because it’s unexpected and cuts through. She makes me want to start drinking Beam. Likewise, Anna Kendrick’s anti-ads for Newcastle Ale are so clever. Using female celebrities for male-skewed drinks cuts though, but the execution like in these two cases needs to be great.

Globally I love the use of celebrities in the Snickers campaigns from Betty White to Mr Bean, and even our own Ray Meagher (Alf from Home and Away).

Jacobs Creek does a great job with their tennis stars and the amount of great content they develop – first was Andre Agassi then Novak Djokovic this year.

Some good Aussie celebrity campaigns – Barry Hall/Kleenex – nice connection to the soft side he showed on I’m A Celebrity, Julia Morris and Westinghouse – not an obvious fit, but the execution is great, and she is so loved, and self-deprecating that it makes the brand shine.

While they do cancel themselves out a bit, both Curtis Stone and Jamie Oliver’s ongoing campaigns for Coles/Woolies, are strong, clear branding efforts. Both have outstanding brand values that each of the supermarkets desperately wants, and both speak to middle Australia. And to some degree they are both working.

What are the top 3 things a brand should know before starting the search for a celebrity ambassador?

The key things are what you are trying to achieve with the celebrity partnership, what are the brand values you want them to represent, and what do you need them to do. Sounds fairly straightforward but it is amazing how often these basics get skipped.

Understanding your brand is really important, and what you want to say in the market. Celebrities and the message they convey vary so much.

Also, you need to know that you will be dealing with someone (and their team) who has opinions, and will often have input – they aren’t machines. So it can be a hot kitchen…and you need to understand it can be a wild ride. But that’s why we use celebrities – to harness that personality and power for your brand. But it’s not always easy.

What should a brand look for when searching for a celebrity?

Fit is the key – their brand values and yours – making sure they are aligned.

Although often the celebrities brand values may be where you want your brand to end up, rather than where it is now. In many cases, the reason you might look to a particular celebrity is where the celebrity can take your brand.

Ideally you want someone who you can work with, and who wants to work with you. This is not always easy to know upfront, but there are ways to see if you will be compatible.

What are the most important rules of engagement when working with a celebrity?

Be upfront in the negotiating about what you are trying to do, and what you want from them – specifically.

Try and build a strong relationship with them and the team, so when you do maybe need something extra, it won’t be a problem. And they will want to go the extra mile for you.

Don’t skimp on extra things like accommodation, transport, meals, etc. just to save a few bucks. If they feel you are being cheap, it can rub off on their attitude.

Don’t try and sneak things in once the deal is done. One company we know added extra category exclusions into the contract right at the last minute. Got everyone off side.

What are the most common things a brand can forget when working with a celebrity?

It’s not so much what you might forget; it’s more know what to remember. That’s not just being tricky with words, more to make the point that when you do something everyday, you get good at it, and you know what to look for in each situation. It’s really a great argument to use a specialist to help secure your celebrity. We know who to talk to, how much you should be paying, what you need to include and remember, and how to make it as smooth as possible.

Sean Pickwell(lowres)

The Future of PR: 3 Major Insights from the PRIA’s Vivid Ideas Session

Today, the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) held an event as part of the Vivid Sydney called Creativity, Content and the Future of PR. Hosted by industry virtuoso Amanda Little, the program featured four participants:

  • Adam Good – Director of Digital Media & Content at Telstra
  • Glen Cassidy – Founding Partner at Cake Wines
  • Shane Currey – Director – Design Thinking | Visualisation | Storytelling – Deloitte Australia
  • Lex Deasley – Creative & Strategy Director at Hausmann Communications

The event was a complete sell-out indicating just how important the topic of industry transformation is for comms professionals today. The future role of PR in integrated story telling, consumer engagement and brand building were hot topics.

There were three major “a-ha moments” at the session that I believe are worth sharing.

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  1. Customer experience should be at the heart of big ideas

According to keynote speaker, Adam Good from Telstra, the best way to influence people is to focus on the customer experience, ensuring a company’s products and services deliver on brand promises.

Adam also talked about the important role PR plays at Telstra, which includes focusing multiple disciplines, combing creativity / content to create action-centric communication.

In the development of any Telstra comms campaign, big idea or consumer engagement piece, Adam relayed three important factors that Telstra considers:

Mechanics – What is at the heart of the idea or proposition? Are you nourishing the idea and proposition around the experience? How do you tell the story in different channels? Ultimately, “Why do I care about this idea”? You need to answer the most important meta-question: “What is in it for the customer”?

Dynamics – What behaviour are you looking for from the consumer? What do you want the consumer to do with the idea? What are they going to put into it and what are they going to take out of it? Do you want them to have involvement for an immediate, once-off action, or over time?

Aesthetics – What is the direct emotional response that you want the consumer to have when they interact? This is more than the look and feel – it is the emotional feeling that you want to create from that individual.

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  1. Reciprocity in value exchange

Shane Currey from Deloitte made an important and provocative point: brands should give in the expectation of not getting anything back.

However Hausmann’s Creative & Strategy Director Lex Deasley challenged this, commenting that lots of brands are creating content to access audiences. Yet many brands don’t understand one basic truth: they need to have a purpose and a role in the experience or relationship that is being created, or there is no legitimate value exchange.

To create a value exchange the brand needs to ask the question “does this make people’s lives better?”.

Public Relations role argued Deasley, is to help clients understand reciprocity in value exchange.

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  1. Build platforms not campaigns

Glen Cassidy, Founding Partner at Cake Wines, shared the terrific case study of his business which, although only a few years old, has already carved out a unique and strong market position.

Cake Wines has achieved this by focusing on celebrating sub-culture and not through mass marketing. For example, they donate 10% of proceeds to independent radio stations around the country, and commission emerging artists to create their labels via their prestigious annual Archi-bottle art competition. See the case study here.

Cassidy demonstrated that consumers who have deep levels of involvement in the communications from the brand ultimately foster a deeper brand connection. He says: “We push our ideas and try to push our creative thinking as far as we can so that people have a deep experience with our ideas and campaigns – our internal mantra is ‘to focus on building platforms, not campaigns’ and connect people and bring them together in a meaningful way that extends beyond the budget or period of time.”

The key take out: We should be thinking more broadly about ideas that last longer.

The session was inspiring, providing food for thought and grist for the mental mill. The final word came from Adam Good: “It is the most exciting time to work in the communications industry”. Hear! Hear!

Thanks to the PRIA for organising the event and Amanda Little for hosting.

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4 minutes with: Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Brand ambassadors can be a powerful way to support PR and influence campaigns. They provide expert voices to tell brands’ stories and can help establish a brand’s credibility and authenticity with the media, bloggers and other influencers.

We love to showcase the people we work with and for this month’s ‘4 minutes with’ we chatted with a brand ambassador we work with: nutritionist, chef, co-star of Good Chef Bad Chef and Vitasoy ambassador, Zoe Bingley-Pullin.

What do you love about your job?

I think of what I do as an evolution. I wasn’t very good at school when I was younger – I’m dyslexic and this affected my confidence. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished, but I’d always loved food so I went and studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London. I then combined this with a Diploma of Nutrition.

Nutrition and the socialisation of food is something I’ve found really freeing and fun. Being able to help people improve their knowledge and relationship with food makes me feel good and I love creating healthy dishes for others and myself and get such a kick out of seeing everyone enjoy it.

How has PR and media played a role in your career?

PR and media have been integral to my career and my work as a nutritionist, chef and brand ambassador. For me, food is all about enjoyment and I want to help people find joy in food through educating them on healthy choices, and PR and media have helped me get this message out there. Specifically I’ve worked closely with brands and PR teams through my role as a brand ambassador, where I raised awareness about nutritious eating.

What’s the most valuable career lesson you’ve learnt?

The most valuable career lesson I’ve learnt is to always say when you can’t do something. And if you realise you can’t do something, don’t pretend that you can. If you’re unable to deliver on something, it could have a negative impact on your business or brand.

I’ve also learnt the benefits of partnering with experts myself. There’s a wealth of talent out there than can help you, which has been especially important since becoming a mother. I’m trying to expand my business and I’m now working with a business coach to do this.

How do you choose which brands to work with?

I’m very strict about the brands I work with. I only work with brands that I love and that I’d give to my whole family. I also look to work with brands that are aligned with my views on nutrition and wholefoods, so that we can work together to build Australians’ knowledge on nutrition and healthy eating.

And a final question we’re all dying to know from a foodie – what’s been your most memorable meal?

One of my most memorable meals was in Rome with my husband, at a restaurant called Maccheroni. The dish was a simple pasta dish with olive oil, sea salt, chili and black truffle. I’m not talking about a little truffle either – there was so much truffle on there! I had it with a crisp green salad and a glass of rosé. It was a beautiful time and just showed that food doesn’t have to be overcomplicated.

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NOTE: FORWARD has been working with nutritionist, chef and co-star of Good Chef Bad Chef, Zoe Bingley-Pullin for the past year as an expert for Vitasoy.