The Northern Territory Governments wants to attract investment, skilled workers, and tourists to the Territory to support its economic and social agenda.
However, the Territory is constrained by Australians lack of awareness of opportunities in the Territory and major projects such as AustralAsia Railway, and oil and gas, minerals projects and waterfront redevelopment.
The investment mission focussed on our Chief Minister as an Ambassador for the Territory, capitalising on the novelty factor of a new female leader who is articulate, persuasive and a powerful advocate for the Territory.
The goal of the campaign was to attract people and investment, by raising awareness, giving people the chance to meet personally with the Chief Minister, and supporting her visits to each capital city with a mixture of business-oriented and lifestyle advertising.
The mission targeted senior decision-makers from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australias key business sectors and the captains of industry of key publicly listed companies. The visits to each capital city were supported by advertising, significant media coverage, a booklet on Investing in the Territory, revamped web site, banners at the international cricket, inquiry line, and video.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Research showed a slight increase in awareness and favourable attitudes towards the Territory, while visits to the Territory web site increased from about 600/800 a month to nearly 11,000 a month at the peak of the campaign.
The Northern Territory has a population of only 200,000 yet covers one-sixth of Australia, contains significant resources, and is on the verge of significant economic development, with a new railway, oil and gas developments, a major $600 million waterfront redevelopment in Darwin and new mining projects.
In order to support this growth, the Territory needs to attract new residents, skilled labour, and investors. Yet outside the Territory, few people are aware of the opportunities offered, and their impressions of the Territory have been formed primarily by the outback images of tourism marketing.
Previous marketing research found that the Territory doesnt rate highly in the consideration set of investors or people considering a move. The challenge of overcoming this is enormous, given the amount of advertising required to reposition the image of a place and the huge marketing budgets of wealthy states, such as <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Queensland and Western Australia.
At fairly short notice, it was decided that the Chief Minister would tour Australia as an ambassador for the Territory, with the aim of meeting captains of industry and generally raising awareness of the Territory. The marketing unit of the Office of Territory Development, in the Department of the Chief Minister, was given the task of developing a promotional strategy and materials to support this visit.
Research commissioned in 2001 for the Territory Marketing showed that generally the Territory is a blank slate for Australians.
Local residents believe the Territory is on the verge of a boom, has a great lifestyle and offers good opportunities for career development, business success, and lifestyle. Focus groups established that other Australians were prepared to believe this. This lead to the positioning statement of the Difference is <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Opportunity, which was continued across this campaign together with the campaign slogan of Building the New Frontier.
Further advertising tracking research was commissioned from Roy Morgan prior to and during the campaign. Initial results confirmed a low awareness of the Territory, including very low unprompted awareness of major initiatives, which Territorians assume are well known in Australia. Later research showed a positive shift in attitudes towards the Territory, although there was a lesser shift in preparedness to invest or live in the Territory, compared with other states.
Extensive consultation was conducted with staff in key departments in the Territory, including the Office of Territory Development, Department of Business, and Northern Territory Tourist Commission to identify the most prospective business associations and investors to target. The Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce also helped, and became a key partner during the campaign. The President of the Chamber, Mr Bruce Fadelli, accompanied the Chief Minister to all cities. Public Relations companies engaged for the campaign also helped with their own client lists and contacts.
The campaign targeted <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australias business sector, including:
- · Peak industry associations
- · Financiers
- · Public and private Investors
- · Superannuation funds
- · Economists
- · Business Media
- · Major public companies
- · Tourism operators / infrastructure
Given the limited time and budget, it was important to develop a cost-effective and far-reaching integrated marketing communications program.
Key components of this strategy were:
A key element of all advertising was telling the Territory story by:
Relying on testimonials from Territorians to promote the positive lifestyle and job opportunities a series of vox pop television commercials was shot; Developing two streams of advertising, one aimed at the business pages of national daily newspapers and Business Review Weekly which featured hero photos of key infrastructure projects. The other was aimed at general news pages, with photos designed to convey our multicultural community and great outdoors lifestyle.
The Roy Morgan research showed a high recall of the Territory advertisements, which were played in capital cities and selected regional areas just prior to the Chief Ministers arrival in each location.
We engaged public relations companies in each city to help frame key messages and news angles of relevance to local audiences. This proved successful, with several announcements boosting the news value of the visit (eg an announcement in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Queensland from Alcan about their expansion program and a visit to the Tiger Helicopters soon to be based in the Territory). The novelty of a sophisticated, former Sydney ABC journalist who had become the Territorys Chief Minister was also played up. Media coverage was spread evenly amongst general and financial press, and several talk back radio shows responded favourably.
The main call to action used in advertising was the Territorys web site (www.theterritory.com.au), which was extensively overhauled for the campaign. The web site provides links to all other public and private sector agencies with information on living, doing business, working, studying, or touring the Territory.
Large banners were placed at the first International cricket match played in Darwin between Australia and Bangladesh just before the Chief Ministers first visit, which led to a remarkable spike in visits to the web site when the cricket was nationally televised.
A new Investing in the Territory book was prepared to supplement an earlier companion document Living in the Territory, CDs on the Territory and AustralAsia Trade route, fact sheets and fold out wallet-sized Territory at a Glance documents. These were boosted at each venue with pop-up banners and targeted promotional material developed in conjunction with the different public relations agencies.
- In Brisbane, Rowland Communications suggested theming around Tamarind seeds, reflecting Macassan traders of the Territorys past and opportunities for growth;
- The Sydney function, organised by Hawker Britton, was held in the Paspaley Pearls showroom and highlighted unusual Territory products;
- The Melbourne function was hosted by CEDA and was themed around Northern Territory produce.
A special 1800 hotline was set up for the trip and answered by Office of Territory Development marketing staff. Forms were developed to ensure all inquiries were responded to.
Business associations and influential interstate contacts were used to help set up meetings and functions by using their existing networks of contacts. We tried to achieve a balance between large industry-focussed breakfasts and lunches and more targeted and private lunches with senior business leaders. This approach was extremely successful, and the Chief Executive Officers of many of Australias top publicly listed companies responded favourably.
The Chief Ministers personable and articulate style was a key factor in these meetings, and clearly changed the perceptions of many participants about the Territory.
The following Key Performance Indicators have been used to measure the success of the missions: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
· Research data
- · Media coverage
- · Follow-up Interest
- · Direct Feedback from participants
- · Direct Investments & population growth
Roy Morgan research was used to monitor the results of the advertising campaign in Sydney and Brisbane with pre and post-campaign surveys.
- Post campaign the ads were considered believable and likeable, but relatively few people thought the ads relevant to themselves.
- General attitudes and perceptions of the NT were more positive after the campaign.
- <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Queensland respondents were more positive towards the Territory (17% before advertising) than in NSW (5% before advertising).
- Of the general public who had seen the TV ads, 42% felt that the ads had increased their interest in living in the NT a little bit.
Good press and radio coverage was obtained in each capital city. The major metropolitan newspapers covered the trip and ABC radio coverage was obtained in each state. In some states commercial radio was also achieved. Ernie Sigley from 3AW invited the Chief Minister to join him in the studio for a 20-minute session (which money cant buy). This spot provided the best coverage in Melbourne.
Over 120 calls were received via the hotline.
The most noticeable result was an enormous increase in visits to the Territory website (www.theterritory.com.au). Before the campaign, the site was averaging 600-800 hits a month however this rose to a peak of 10,784 visitors in August and spiked again during the visits to Adelaide and Melbourne with over 7,200 hits for the month. Many people then contacted us by email with specific questions or asking for hard copies of material.
Direct interest from participants
The response to the Chief Ministers presentation was remarkable. Discussions with participants after her presentation illustrated that they were impressed by the activity in the Northern Territory. Many participants wanted to know what financial incentives were on offer as they were interested in expanding into the Northern Territory and could see the benefits of the Territorys proximity to Asia. It was made very clear that the Government would not help financially but would assist with the facilitation process between the public and private sectors.
Anecdotal evidence indicates several people moved to the Territory as a result of the advertising and at least one company invested in the Territorys oil and gas industry after the Chief Ministers visit to Queensland. Real estate companies reported a major upsurge in inquiries about properties in the Territory, with many people citing the Chief Ministers television advertisements. Recruitment companies also reported a major surge in inquiries about jobs in the NT, which they believe was a directly attributed to the campaign.
Direct investments & population growth
An increase in investment and population will not happen overnight. A key factor to acknowledge is that this component of our marketing campaign was largely awareness raising, whereas the next phase must be more targeted and measurable. However, the results have been analysed as a tool to guide future marketing research and positioning strategies.
The results of the campaign exceeded expectations meeting all of the communication objectives.
To develop awareness of investment opportunities in the Territory by showcasing major projects underway, such as the railway and oil and gas.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
- This was achieved through an extensive advertising campaign and broad media coverage in each state. This was confirmed by the Roy Morgan research results and the increase in website hits.
To target businesses identified as having a fit with the Territorys economic aspirations and starting to build relationships with the business community interstate.
- Many participants requested more detailed information, as they were interested in expanding into the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Northern Territory and could see the benefits of the Territorys proximity to Asia. This was also confirmed by the increase in website hits.
To make Australians generally more aware of the Territorys unique lifestyle and job opportunities;
- This was evident from the Roy Morgan research results; increase in website hits; number of hotline calls .
To drive traffic to our web site (www.theterritory.com.au) so people could find out more.
- Before the campaign, the site was averaging 600-800 hits a month however this rose to a peak of 10,784 visitors in August and spiked again during the visits to Adelaide and Melbourne with over 7,200 hits for the month.