UTS Library

Building Wales' Biotech


Welsh Development Agency

PR Company: 

Hill & Knowlton

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2005 H 4



Executive Summary: 

British scientist, Alexander Fleming, discovered penicillin in 1928. In 1941 Australian Howard Florey produced the first commercial penicillin treatment saving thousands of World War II soldiers from infection.A division of the Welsh Assembly Government, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) seeks to maintain this shared biotechnology heritage, by attracting Australian companies to set up business operations in Wales.Hill & Knowlton works with the Australian WDA team to market Wales as an attractive business destination.

This partnership generates leads, which the WDA maintains as ongoing relationships. As companies seriously consider their options for offshore expansion, many of them review Wales as a strategic location.In 2004 Hill & Knowlton developed a marketing communication strategy built around Australia’s premier biotechnology industry event, AusBiotech 2004, to generate business leads from successful Australian biotechnology companies.Focusing communication efforts on face-to-face contact between the WDA and potentialinvestors, the campaign achieved high visibility throughout.

Conference sponsorship and targeted media relations exceeded the targets set for developing business leads.The WDA’s “with you every step of the way” philosophy shone through during the campaign. Key stakeholder lunches reinforced the WDA’s commitment to partnering with investing companies, while showcasing the best of Welsh hospitality.

Situation Analysis: 

The Welsh Development Agency (WDA) attracts companies set up business operations in Wales, creating jobs for Welsh citizens. In turn, these companies gain access to new markets through the European Union.Investment in Wales directly benefits both Welsh and Australian populations, providing jobs in developing industries to buoy the Welsh economy, while rewarding successful Australian business with increased profits and enhanced local success.

Hill & Knowlton works with the WDA to market Wales as a knowledge nation. Wales’achievements in biotechnology help throw off historical stereotypes derived from its former reliance on primary industries.SWOT analysis of both Australian and Welsh biotech industries indicates they are mutually beneficial. Australia’s strengths in pioneering research are weakened by ineffective government policy and a lack of sufficient funding and qualified staff.

Conversely, Wales’ environment provides attractive financial incentives, government assistance and access to an enormous graduate population seeking professional employment.Offshore expansion is decision taken over months or years rather than days.

To service this timeline, Hill & Knowlton and the WDA previously developed a three-year involvement plan for major industry events, as follows:Year 1 – introduction to the industry; membership with key bodies; early relationship buildingYear 2 – profile-raising; maintaining relationships with early adoptersYear 3 – consolidation; converting business leads from Years 1 & 2 into actual expansion projects


Hill & Knowlton undertook detailed research for this campaign starting with the challenges facing Australia’s biotechnology industry and determining the solutions offered by Wales’ industry. This revealed three key factors:

  • Wales’ political climate is better suited to successful biotechnology commercialisation than Australia’s;
  • Australian companies lack funding and suitable staff - Wales offers attractive financial incentives for commercial biotechnology research & development; and
  • Wales offers enormous potential markets through the European Union (400 million residents in EU cf. Australia’s population of 20 million).

Key reports and supporting media clips from this research are referenced in Appendix A:References.

In developing a support program around the AusBiotech 2004 conference, Hill & Knowlton researched:

  • States with significant biotechnology research/development “clusters”;
  • Venues with private dining facilities for key stakeholder lunches, including costs;
  • Biotechnology industry research identifying appropriate invitees for functions, including correct contact details;
  • Transport and accommodation costs for a national program;
  • Media analysis of current biotechnology issues and trends; and Major events for Australia’s biotechnology industry.
  • Conference-specific research included:
  • AusBiotech 2004 sponsorship package options (Hill & Knowlton recommended an “Emerald
  • Sponsorship” – see Appendix A Sponsorship Entitlements for package details);
  • Suppliers to construct exhibition stand, including provision of IT hardware and support;
  • WDA representatives for speaking opportunities; and
  • Identifying key conference delegates as priority networking targets for the WDA.
  • Informal interviews with previous delegates revealed that due to the long hours spent on exhibition stands, delegates devour daily newspapers and biotech industry media.

Target Policies: 

This campaign targeted two specific publics – Prospects and Multipliers.

Prospects: Key decision makers and their companies within the biotechnology sector, for example Company Directors, Commercialisation Managers, Business Development Managers, Research Directors and Research Institutions.

Multipliers: Intermediaries that can help the WDA establish relationships with new Prospects, such as industry bodies and government departments responsible for promoting Australian business growth. Examples of each are AusBiotech and the New South Wales Department of State & Regional Development.

Primary Target Public: Prospects

Secondary Target Public: Multipliers

Communication Strategy: 

Hill & Knowlton’s campaign strategy incorporated several tactics to achieve the following elements:

  • Engage potential investors on meeting their current business challenges through the opportunities offered in Wales;
  • Utilise Sir Martin Evans, former Head of Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences and nominated for a Nobel Prize for his work with embryonic stem cells;
  • Build on the WDA’s “Year 2” strategy of increasing visibility of presence at AusBiotech conference; and
  • Develop personal and professional relationships with key stakeholders and future potential investors.


Hill & Knowlton implemented the communication strategy from 1 September 2004 – 15 November 2004, including the following tactics:

1. Stakeholder lunches
2. AusBiotech conference sponsorship
3. Guest lecture and institution meetings
4. Marketing collateral & advertising
5. Direct mail
6. Media relations

Please refer to Appendix A: Campaign Schedule for details.

1. Stakeholder lunches

Based on previous research, Hill & Knowlton determined three key cities for targeted stakeholder lunches – Perth, Melbourne and Sydney (omitting Brisbane due to the major AusBiotech conference). Hill & Knowlton worked with State Government and local industry bodies to coordinate the events and research appropriate invitees, including:

  • AusBiotech;
  • BioMelbourne Network;
  • AusBiotech – NSW chapter; and
  • NSW Department of State & Regional Development.

For each 2-hour function Hill & Knowlton developed:

  • Tier 1 – Tier 3 invitation list;
  • Tailored invitations, place cards & menu cards; and
  • Two-course menu options catering for guests’ dietary requirements.

Hill & Knowlton dressed venues with Welsh theming, including:

  • Combined Australia/Wales floor & table flags and lapel pins;
  • WDA branded vertical banners;
  • WDA branded menu and place cards;
  • Red, white and green flowers;
  • Red plush dragons; and
  • Specially imported Ty Nant Welsh mineral water.

During lunches guests listened to presentations by Sir Martin and the WDA, with networking time between courses. Hill & Knowlton prepared information packs for guests to take home, including more specific information on pursuing opportunities in Wales with the WDA.
Please refer to Appendix A: Marketing Collateral for examples of materials.

2. AusBiotech 2004 conference sponsorship
Tthe WDA secured an Emerald Sponsorship package for AusBiotech 2004 (refer Appendix A: Sposorship Entitlements for details). The conference provided several key benefits to the campaign, including: 

  • Naming rights to one day of the conference including prominent branding throughout the venue;
  • A prominently located exhibition space;
  • A speaking opportunity in one of the conference streams; and
  • A networking table at the conference’s gala dinner.

Hill & Knowlton negotiated an acknowledgement for Sir Martin and the WDA in the AusBiotech Chairman’s opening remarks. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie also acknowledged the WDA’s support in his opening address. 6
Using the WDA’s brand guidelines, Hill & Knowlton designed and sourced construction for the WDA exhibition stand. In addition to the stand’s visual appeal it created a functional workspace where the WDA could engage visitors, including:

  • High-speed broadband Internet for visitors to check emails or take virtual tours of facilities in Wales;
  • DVD/VCR and plasma TV to air WDA marketing productions, including commentary by Sir Martin;
  • Localised information packs with details on Wales’ biotechnology facilities and Australian contact details; and
  • Comfortable furnishings to encourage visitors to spend more time on the stand.

Outside of the exhibition hall, Hill & Knowlton secured a private WDA business lounge/meeting room with broadband Internet and catering, with similar room dressing to the stakeholder lunches.
The WDA sponsored the conference’s second day, in line with Sir Martin’s presentation, during which he spoke about his role at Cardiff University in Wales and his current research.

3. Guest lecture & institution meetings
Hill & Knowlton organised one guest lecture for Sir Martin, delivered to students at Melbourne’s Monash University. Monash University is closely affiliated with the ASCC. As part of Sir Martin’s visit, Hill & Knowlton also organised meetings with the ASCC’s Vice Executive Chairman, Professor Alan Trounsen, during which he and Sir Martin discussed future stem cell research projects. Hill & Knowlton also organised a private lunch with the management of the National Neuroscience Facility in Melbourne, another important research institution.

During his visit Sir Martin also met with NSW Premier Bob Carr’s office, and QLD Premier Peter Beattie.

4. Marketing collateral & advertising
Hill & Knowlton tailored global WDA marketing and advertising materials to suit local companies’ information needs (please see Appendix A: Marketing Collateral for examples), including:

  • Compiling information packs from different Welsh biotechnology sectors and facilities relevant to Australian companies;
  • Tailoring local contact and team information to include in brochures; and
    Copywriting advertising messages and including local office contact and exhibition stand details.

Hill & Knowlton strategically placed advertisements in Australia’s two biotechnology industry publications, leading up to and during AusBiotech 2004. All ads included the WDA’s stand number and location, and contact details for the team back in the office. 7

5. Direct mail
Hill & Knowlton maintains a database of contacts that opt-in to receive semi-regular direct email updates from the WDA. Hill & Knowlton sent pre-conference updates on the latest biotechnology news from Wales to key targets in the database, suffixed with exhibition details. This pro-active contact prompted feedback from Prospects and Multipliers who were not attending the conference, which subsequently helped determine invitees for the State-based stakeholder lunches.

6. Media relations
Using Sir Martin as the primary spokesperson, Hill & Knowlton pitched media interviews to national and major metropolitan newspapers, and biotechnology industry media. In addition to securing interviews with target media, Hill & Knowlton also wrote one feature article around Sir Martin’s work with the WDA, and pitched this to an industry publication.

Hill & Knowlton wrote one media release (please refer Appendix A: Media Kit Materials) including brief biographies for Sir Martin and the WDA’s biotechnology expert, Chris Davies. Due to the very short list of target media, Hill & Knowlton verbally pitched interviews with Sir Martin and used the media release as “quotable background” content, which suited the needs of the reporting journalists.
Hill & Knowlton worked with the WDA to determine appropriate talking points for Sir Martin, and conducted briefings him to ensure he was comfortable with their delivery during interviews.

Hill & Knowlton coordinated photography with media who wished to use publication photographers, and briefed commercial photographers to develop a folio of images for editorial and future WDA marketing use.



Stakeholder lunches
Stakeholder lunches in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne yielded 45 contacts (Prospects and Multipliers). The Perth event led to an invitation to tour one company’s local facilities while the  team were in Western Australia.

AusBiotech conference
Provided expansive branding throughout conference and strengthened an ongoing alliance with the AusBiotech organisation. In-conference liaison and activities yielded 64 contacts (Prospects and Multipliers). Several (uncounted, ad hoc) delegates who visited the WDA stand commented on other tactics including Stakeholder lunches, media articles and advertising featuring Sir Martin and/or the WDA. 8

Public lecture & Institution meetings
Over 200 life-science students attended Sir Martin’s lecture at Monash University. Following his meeting with Professor Trounsen, Sir Martin attended a reception at the Governor’s Residence, where he discussed collaborative research between the ASCC and Cardiff University.

One-on-one meetings
The local WDA team, in conjunction with Mr Davies and Sir Martin, conducted more than 10 oneon- one meetings during the campaign period.

Media Relations
Media relations achieved 12 print media articles, each containing at least one of the WDA’s key messages (please refer Appendix A: Content Analysis). The internally-written feature article ran in full in the official journal of the Australian biotechnology industry, with all coverage in biotech media showing high concentrations of key messages, averaging nine per article.

Other coverage included daily newspapers in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and one article in a national daily newspaper. All major metropolitan coverage ran during the WDA’s visits to respective cities and provided another conversation topic during lunches and meetings.

One magazine used WDA photography to illustrate a general AusBiotech news article, providing the WDA with further high-visibility branding.

Conference delegates recognized WDA advertising in industry media, with several visitors to the WDA stand commenting on the advertisement. Advertising recognition was not a specific metric for this campaign and as such was not evaluated as an indicator of campaign success.


Hill & Knowlton’s Building Wales’ Biotech campaign successfully achieved the three campaign objectives:

Objective Increase the WDA’s database of Prospects and Multipliers by 80
Outcome Secured 109 new contacts across Prospects and Multipliers categories.
Objective Establish a formal relationship between Cardiff School of Lifesciences and National Stem Cell Centre, with potential to secure future joint research and commercialisation projects.

Outcome Relationship established between NSCC Executive Vice-Chairman, Professor Alan Trounsen, and former Head of Cardiff School of Bioscience (now Professor of Mammalian Genetics), Sir Martin Evans.
Objective Generate 10 pieces of positive media coverage incorporating the WDA’s key messages, including at least one feature article on Wales’ biotechnology industry in an industry publication.

Outcome Twelve articles including at least one of the WDA’s key messages. Feature articles in both biotechnology industry publications, including a feature written by Hill & Knowlton. Hill & Knowlton evaluated the AusBiotech event sponsorship based on feedback from the WDA team, visitors to the WDA stand and AusBiotech personnel. 9
For this purpose Hill & Knowlton developed an evaluation scorecard (please refer to Appendix A:AusBiotech Sponsorship Evaluation) – AusBiotech 2004 scored 27 of a possible 31, ranking it as a Category A sponsorship.
The campaign reached:

  • 1,500 conference delegates;
  • 200 + students;
  • 109 new contacts comprising both Prospects and Multipliers; and
  • 2 key research institutions.

Media coverage reached national biotechnology audiences and daily news consumers in capital cities around Australia.