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"Every Child Is Important"

Client: 

The Australian Childhood Foundation

PR Company: 

Horizon Communication Group

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2006 C1 - 13

Year: 

2006

Executive Summary: 

In January 2004, Horizon Communication Group was contracted by The Australian Childhood Foundation (ACHIF) to develop and implement a two year strategic national public relations campaign for the Every Child Is Important program that aimed to build wide spread public awareness and raise the profile of the work of the Foundation.

Every Child Is Important is a national parenting program designed to assist parents to become positive family leaders, and create nurturing and stimulating environments for their children. This innovative public awareness initiative provides resources for parents including parenting booklets and a website (www.kidscount.com.au), national advertising, parenting seminars in every state and territory, and an 1800 advice line.

Over the past two years the program has laid important foundations for increasing community awareness and behaviour change around the issue of child abuse – getting in early, starting right in the home by educating and empowering parents.

Over the past two years, The Australian Childhood Foundation has increased its national profile, share of media voice and stakeholder engagement, giving more media and public attention to the issue of child abuse.

The success of the positioning program is evident as the program continues as Dr Joe Tucci is regularly contacted by a range of national media from Insight to A Current Affair and The Australian to Radio National.

Most importantly, the Foundation has received funding renewal of $935,000 for 2006 to the end of 2007, to enable it to continue its important work. Horizon continues to work with them to build awareness and move our target audiences through the social change model from latent through to active behaviour.

Situation Analysis: 

When the Foundation came to Horizon in early 2004 it was the leading child abuse prevention organisation in Victoria but wanted to take its messages and programs nationally.

Child abuse is a complex issue with no simple solution. It should not be a matter that periodically lapses from public consciousness, but remain always at the forefront of community awareness. We need to be fully informed about the nature of it, the extent of it, and the very real and lasting consequences that it has on children, families and the community. We should know how to recognise the signs of child abuse and have the confidence and knowledge to be able to respond effectively to children. Our collective acknowledgement of child abuse should be so strong that there should not be any amongst us who would not believe and take seriously a child’s disclosure of abuse.

The Foundation recognised that a whole-of-community response was required to get the issue of child abuse onto the public agenda – and keep it there, starting with acknowledgement of the value of children to parents, families and societies.
           
Horizon’s role was to drive strategic media relations to support the campaign as it was rolled out in each capital city in Australia, gain ongoing and significant national media coverage of campaign activities, and build the brand and profile of the Foundation as the lead Australian agency in child abuse prevention.
During the contract, Horizon was also responsible for supporting the CEO of ACHIF Dr Joe Tucci to identify and respond to issues in the media associated with child abuse, parenting and the care of children.

Research: 

During the two year program, Horizon utilised research undertaken by the Foundation to ensure public relations tactics were relevant and targeted.

The public relations campaign was developed in response to a survey conducted by the Australian Childhood Foundation into national community attitudes about child abuse. The results were drawn from interviews with a representative sample of 500 adults aged 18 years and over in Australia in September 2003.  The research identified the key areas for the Foundation to concentrate on for program development such as parenting seminars. It also identified certain gaps in awareness and knowledge, which could be incorporated into the communication program.

A second report released in March 2004, The Concerns of Australian Parents, also helped inform the public relations campaign at its inception – it found that 3 in 4 parents struggle to balance work and family, more than half lack confidence in their parenting and more than 80% want more information and support on parenting issues. This helped focus the strategic direction of the media partnerships and editorial targets around two key areas: parents and carers or children and community educators.

Target Policies: 

Target Publics

In developing any communication strategy Horizon takes a stakeholder approach. 

 We considered the broad range of stakeholders in planning media activities to support and achieve the Foundation’s community awareness and behaviour change objectives.

ACHIF has a range of internal and external target publics:

  • Parents, families and carers (including Non English Speaking Background and indigenous)
  • Children
  • Gatekeepers (schools, parenting organisations)
  • Government (Federal, state and territory)
  • Influencers (Celebrities, media programmers, aspirational brands and products)
  • Media
  • ACHIF board and staff
  • ACHIF ambassadors, donors and partners
  • Associates (Non-government organisations/, service providers, community educators)
  • Competitors

Communication Strategy: 

Horizon adopted a social marketing approach to this challenge based on Grunig and Hunt’s (two of the world’s foremost communication researchers and academics) situational theory of communication behaviour model. This model segments audiences into four broad groups and determines appropriate communication strategies for each with a goal of shifting them to the next level of awareness and the ultimate goal of behaviour change.

As part of our stakeholder approach, Horizon always segments target audiences to more accurately determine appropriate media strategies and tactics. The table below demonstrates how we analysed the audiences and identified the types of media they respond to and who they are influenced by. 

Below is an overview of one of the key target groups, which demonstrates the thinking and rationale behind our recommendations:

Target group
Detail
Current status
Key influencers
Preferred mediums
·       Parents and families
·       All Australian parents and families ·       Various levels of awareness about ACHIF and child abuse prevention ·       Other parents
·       Teachers
·       Role models (celebrity parents)
·       Family
·       Media (mass print, tv and radio)
·       Face to face

The program was launched through a series of capital city media and public launch events which served a dual purpose – bringing together local stakeholders on the ground including opinion leaders and community educators to share knowledge about the resources and research, as well as engaging the media and providing a forum for inquiry and interviews.

The launches were then supported by a “keeping the issue alive” campaign in which we effectively implemented a CEO positioning program backed by the release of research reports, and a reactive program to ensure that we responded to all relevant issues in order to “own the issue” of child abuse.

A Champion program also underpinned the media campaign to ensure maximum

cut-through with the media, as celebrities are ever increasingly aligned with social cause marketing, and like it or not, are key drivers of editorial.

Implementation: 

Horizon undertook the following activities throughout 2004 and 2005:

1. Events

  • National launch in Sydney followed by state by state rollout of the Every Child is Important program including high-profile media events, one on one media briefings and promotion of parenting seminars (Shown in Table of Events below). Horizon’s role was to:
    • secure local sponsorship of the event, including high profile venues for launches at no or minimal cost
    • secure national and/or local celebrities to support the campaign in relevant state.

Table of events:

State
Launch date
Details

NSW

March 2004

Australian Museum with the following guest speakers:

  • Hon. Larry Anthony MP, former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
  • Lisa Forrest, media personality and sports woman
  • Australian Theatre for Young People

QLD

19 August 2004

Customs House with the following guest speakers:

  • Larry Anthony MP, former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
  • Musician Lindsay Field

NT

3 September 2004

Crowne Plaza Hotel with the following guest speakers:

  • His Honour isHisHhhdfshdjfhsdfjjTed Egan, Administrator of the Northern Territory
  • Mr David Tollner, Federal Member for Solomon
  • Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre

WA

26 April 2005

State Library of Western Australia with guest speaker 2005 Australian of the Year Fiona Wood.

SA

3 May 2005

SA Art Gallery with guest speakers Jane Doyle (Network Seven/5AA) and Josh Mahoney of Port Adelaide.

2. Media relations

  • Expert positioning – one-on-one briefings for CEO Dr Joe Tucci with social affairs reporters in every capital city as well as exclusive editorials with The Bulletin, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, Madison, Who Weekly and Family Circle.
  • Research reports – Horizon released major reports published by the Foundation that garnered significant media coverage across all states:
    • The Concerns of Australian Parents, March 2004
    • The Changing Face of Parenting, April 2005
    • Transformers program – Children who engage in problem sexual behaviour, September 2005
    • Out of sight, out of mind, September 2005 (released April 2006)
  • Reactive media campaign - ensuring high profile comment on a range of significant media issues throughout 2004 and 2005 including:
    • Nike’s controversial television commercial – August 2004
    • The Belsen school massacre tragedy – September 2004
    • National Child Protection Week – September 2004
    • Telstra’s child mobile phone marketing – October 2004
    • National approach to Australia’s child death review systems during the 15th International ISPCAN – September 2004
    • Child internet pornography – October 2004
    • Youth Homelessness – October 2004
    • Call for a “national year of child protection” – March 2005
    • Call for national police check system – June 2005
    • Hurricane Katrina – September 2005
    • The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse – November 2005
  • Special projects
    • Multi-lingual parenting CDROM resource, ‘The Talking Book for Parents From Many Backgrounds’ (August 2004)
    •  2005 National Child Protection Awards

3. Champions

  • Engagement of celebrity supporters for the campaign on a national level, including Tracy Bartram, Monica Trapaga, Naomi Castles, Fiona Wood, Jane Doyle, Josh Mahoney, Ted Egan, Jodhi Meares, Robyn Moore, Zoe Carides, David Boon, Jackie Frank, Kaz Cooke, and many more.
  • Champions attended and spoke at events including launches and fundraising events, provided quotes for media materials and online resources, and participated in media interviews.

Results: 

Over the past two years, The Australian Childhood Foundation has increased its national profile, share of media voice and stakeholder engagement.

Dr Joe Tucci is a regular media commentator on Today Tonight, Today Show and A Current Affair on a vast range of parenting and child abuse issues.

The Foundation’s share of voice has consistently increased across all Australian media markets with 992 media hits recorded during 2004/05.

Success stories for the Every Child is Important include the distribution of more than 400,000 parenting resource booklets, with over 5,500 parents attending 37 seminars nationally.

In September 2005 a national survey was conducted to evaluate awareness levels and behaviour change two years on from the launch – this survey found that the number of cases reported had increased with almost 700 new reports each day.

These findings supported the Foundation’s call for a commitment from the Australian Government to commit $50 million to fund a national child abuse prevention strategy that would see State and Federal Government working together to develop uniform child abuse and child protection legislation.

The success of the positioning program is evident as the program continues and Dr Joe Tucci is regularly contacted by a range of national media from Insight to A Current Affair and The Australian to Radio National.

Most importantly, the Foundation has received funding renewal of $935,000 for 2006 to the end of 2007, to enable it to continue its important work. Horizon continues to work with them to build awareness and move our target audiences through the social change model from latent through to active behaviour.

Evaluation: 

Horizon used CARMA MASS MEDIAudit software to collect comparative data on the following key measurement areas for the campaign: 

  • Geographical breakdown of media coverage
  • Type of media coverage
  • Key messages
  • Spokespeople

The analysis (See Appendix A – Supporting Materials) revealed significant results for the first two years of the media relations program, namely, the Foundation has developed a consistent spread of media coverage across all media markets in Australia and this has primarily occurred as a result of reactive media comment secured via broadcast media (radio and television).

Analysis of the key messages reported in coverage of Every Child Is Important revealed that 778 of the total 992 media items directly made reference to the Foundation’s name and the Every Child Is Important campaign, followed closely by a total of 560 items that referred to early intervention child abuse prevention issues.

Analysis of campaign spokespeople revealed that Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of The Australian Childhood Foundation was quoted in 51% of media items (574 of 992 articles), while other key spokespeople included parenting expert Michael Grose and Dr Chris Goddard, Director of the National Research Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work, Monash.