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2007 Telstra Business Awards and 2007 Telstra Business Women's Awards

Client: 

Telstra

PR Company: 

Professional Public Relations

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2008 C9 - 12

Year: 

2008

Executive Summary: 

The Telstra Business Awards (TBA) and Telstra Business Women’s Awards (TBWA) are among Australia’s most prominent business award programs. For the second consecutive year, PPR was engaged by Telstra to coordinate the public relations (PR) campaigns for both programs. PPR implemented two strategic year-long media relations campaigns, aimed at driving nominations and entries; publicising the Award Presentations events held in each state and territory; profiling the program Ambassadors, sponsors, finalists and winners; and ultimately, positioning Telstra as the leading supporter of Australia’s small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and women in business.

The Telstra Business Awards and the Telstra Business Women’s Awards consist of five phases each. PPR developed a media relations strategy to communicate each stage to the media, Members of Parliament (MPs) and industry bodies.

In addition, PPR was engaged to develop profiles for over 300 entrants, which were used in event programs and the campaign’s media materials. PPR also co-ordinated media invitations and attendance at each event; co-ordinated photography and developed speeches for Telstra Executives.

Outstanding results were achieved realising significant increases in media coverage, and overall entries with more than 7000 people attending state and national events.

Situation Analysis: 

The TBA and TBWA were established in 1992 and 1995 respectively, to celebrate and recognise the achievements of Australia’s business community. PPR’s main campaign objectives were to drive nominations and entries for both programs, and to demonstrate Telstra’s support for and understanding of issues faced by Australian SMEs and businesswomen.

The challenge to effectively position the two Telstra programs among a growing number of business award programs is an increasingly difficult one, however through strategic media relations campaigns, PPR sought to demonstrate that the Telstra programs identified with and acknowledged the challenges faced by SMEs and women in business across Australia.

A public relations campaign was required to communicate with a variety of stakeholders within both programs including SMEs, businesswomen, award sponsors, MPs, industry associations as well as business and consumer media.

Research: 

PPR understood that the programs needed to be relevant for SMEs and women in business, and that a solid understanding of the current economic environment and business issues was vital to implementing effective PR campaigns. Furthermore, when developing key messages and planning campaign tactics, PPR had to consider the often adverse media and political landscape in which Telstra operates.

PPR conducted daily media monitoring and regular audits of issues affecting SMEs and women in business – including government reform, business confidence levels, and federal and state budgets. PPR also developed a database of key journalists to regularly liaise with about tailored story ideas, positioning the programs as relevant to SMEs and businesswomen.

Some reports drawn on as a part of ongoing research included:

  • Sensis Business Index
  • RACV Business Insurance Small Business Issues Survey
  • 2007 Federal Budget
  • 2006 Australian Census of Women in Leadership
  • Telstra Business SME Research Series
  • MYOB Australian Small Business Survey

PPR was able to incorporate findings from research and media monitoring into media materials throughout the campaign to ensure relevance.  PPR was also able to anticipate journalists’ need for relevant information around the time reports were released.

Please see Appendix A (i) – (iv) for examples of research incorporated into PPRs’ media relations activities.

For example, PPR arranged media interviews with past Telstra Business Award winners to discuss the impact of the 2007 Budget on SMEs. (See Appendix A (i)). PPR also incorporated findings from the 2006 Australian Census of Women in Leadership into its Launch of Nominations media release for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards (See Appendix A (ii)), which became the cover story for News Limited’s Career One supplement on 21 April (See Appendix A(iii)). In addition, PPR were able to incorporate information from the Telstra Business SME Research Series into editorial space within News Limited Daily Newspapers as part of the media buy for TBA (See Appendix A (iv)).

Target Policies: 

To effectively communicate the various Call-To-Actions throughout the different campaign phases (i.e. Call for Nominations, Call for Entries, Announcement of State/Territory Finalists, Announcement of State/Territory Winners, Announcement of National Finalists, Announcement of National Winners), PPR identified and targeted several key influencers within the various Telstra stakeholders and developed specific communications for each of these influencers to employ within their own spheres.

Target Publics included:

  • Small business owners and potential Telstra Business customers; also including employees, suppliers and clients of small business owners during the nominations period
  • Successful businesswomen; also including employers and employees of business women during the nomination period
  • Local communities of businesses and businesswomen who were recognised in the awards
  • Members of Parliament
  • Industry bodies and associations

To reach these Target Publics, PPR developed PR plans based on the execution of strategic media relations activities across five key phases of each program.

Communication Strategy: 

PPR developed a clear communications strategy to span the five key phases of the Awards campaigns. The strategy relied primarily on media relations – keeping journalists well informed of the progress of the awards at every stage of the program, regularly updating key media contacts on the status of finalists and winners. Media releases were timed to be distributed at key periods in both awards program to communicate the various messages to target publics.

PPR also engaged in Government Relations and Business to Business relations to communicate Telstra’s key messages and various call-to-actions to these influential groups.  As a component of this strategy, PPR provided template media releases to MPs who could then provide their own endorsement of the program (see Appendix A (v))

In addition to these activities, PPR also implemented supporting PR activities in the lead up to and at each of the state/territory and national events. These included the development of individual profiles for all finalists, sponsor liaison, coordination of media attendance, and development of event MC notes and speeches.

Implementation: 

A comprehensive media relations plan was developed for both programs. Using past winners and Ambassadors, PPR tailored communications to the following target audiences to help promote the programs and drive nominations and entries:

  • Local, regional, metropolitan and national media outlets (including print, radio, television and online media);
  • State and Federal Members of Parliament (MPs) and relevant Ministers;
  • Business associations;
  • Industry bodies;
  • Networking groups; and,
  • Large corporates.

PPR employed a variety of strategic communications tools to reach these audiences, including localised media releases rolled-out across the country, audio grabs featuring winners and program Ambassadors, template media releases to be issued on behalf of state and federal MPs and exclusive images for target media organisations (See Appendix A (vi)).

From over 7000 nominations received across both programs, more than 300 SMEs and businesswomen were named finalists, for which PPR developed individual profiles and pitched to relevant media. Winners were subsequently announced for each state and territory for each program, which PPR generated media coverage for and coordinated media opportunities for in the lead up to and following the national finals.

Plan Overview

The following plan was implemented for both programs.

Phase: Nominations

Message: Launch of Nominations

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Launch photo-shoot using past winners
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Template media release for business associations, industry bodies and networking groups
  • Direct communication and supporting direct marketing activities with large corporates
  • Drafting of special feature for inclusion in all NewsLtd newspapers

Message: Reminder to Nominate

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Template media release for business associations, industry bodies and networking groups

Phase: Entries

Message: Launch of Entries

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Template media release for business associations, industry bodies and networking groups.
  • Direct communication and supporting direct marketing activities with large corporates

Message: Reminder to Enter

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Template media release for business associations, industry bodies and networking groups

Phase: State/Territory Finalists

Message: Announcement of Finalists

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Development of finalist profiles
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Distribution of finalist images and profiles
  • Advising relevant business associations, industry bodies and networking groups of relevant finalists for inclusion in newsletters, websites and speaking opportunities

Phase: State/Territory Winners

Message: Announcement of Winners

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Distribution of finalist images and profiles
  • Advising relevant business associations, industry bodies and networking groups of relevant finalists for inclusion in newsletters, websites and speaking opportunities
  • Coordination and distribution of winners / program Ambassadors audio grabs
  • Media attendance at events

Phase: National Finalists

Message: Announcement of National Finalists 

Delivery:

  • Localised media alert for each state/territory
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Distribution of finalist images and profiles
  • Advising relevant business associations, industry bodies and networking groups of relevant finalists for inclusion in newsletters, websites and speaking opportunities
  • Drafting of special feature for inclusion in all NewsLtd newspapers

Phase: National Winners

Message: Announcement of National Winners 

Delivery:

  • Localised media release for each state/territory
  • Template media release for MPs
  • Distribution of finalist images and profiles
  • Advising relevant business associations, industry bodies and networking groups of relevant finalists for inclusion in newsletters, websites and speaking opportunities
  • Coordination of exclusive photo-shoot for NewsLtd
  • Coordination and distribution of winners / program Ambassadors audio grabs
  • Media attendance at events

Results: 

The PR campaigns for the 2007 TBA and TBWA programs were hugely successful, with 3837 nominations received for the TBA and 2766 nominations for the TBWA. From these, 951 entry submissions were received for both programs, a 13.4 per cent increase on 2006. In addition, over 7000 people attended the state/territory and national Award Presentations across both programs.

Please refer to the campaign wrap-up articles in Appendix A (viii)

PPR developed strong relationships with a number of key media throughout the campaign – these media now include the Telstra Business Awards and Telstra Business Women’s Awards timeline in their features planning, and continue to contact PPR to use TBA and TBWA past winners and finalists as part of small business case studies (See Appendix A (ix))

Evaluation: 

PPR was required to achieve a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) around media coverage for each state/territory finalist, state/territory winners, national winners, program Ambassadors and Telstra key messages, as per the objectives listed in section (3).

These included:

Achieve a 10 per cent increase in media coverage on 2006:

  • Across both programs, PPR achieved a total average increase of 24.86 per cent in media coverage on 2006. (Please refer to Appendix A (x) for examples of media coverage)

70 per cent of media coverage to include at least one Telstra key message and/or a quote from a Telstra spokesperson;

  • Across both programs, PPR’s campaign saw 70.68 per cent of media coverage include at least one of Telstra’s key messages, and 16.36 per cent of total coverage included a quote from a Telstra spokesperson.

Achieve a minimum of one piece of media coverage per TBA and TBWA state finalist;

  • Across both programs, PPR achieved 437 pieces of media coverage for 288 finalists, with 274 out of the total number of finalists achieving media coverage. The highest number of hits for one finalist was 20.

Achieve a minimum of two pieces of media coverage per TBA and TBWA state winners;

  • Across both programs, PPR achieved 489 hits for the 68 state winners. All state winners received at least two pieces of media coverage; the most number of hits received for one state winner was 83.

Achieve a minimum of five pieces of media coverage per TBA and TBWA national winners.

  • Across both programs, PPR achieved 207 pieces of media coverage for the ten National Winners, with all winners receiving the minimum five hits. The most number of hits generated for a National Winner was 131.

Achieve one national piece of media coverage for the Telstra Ambassador to each program.

  • PPR achieved one national piece of media coverage for each ambassador. Please refer to Appendix A (xi) for examples of national media coverage for Telstra Ambassadors

PPR exceeded all set KPIs for both programs, and achieved widespread coverage in suburban, regional, metropolitan and national media.

In summary, PPR achieved the following combined results for the 2007 Telstra Business Awards and 2007 Telstra Business Women’s Awards programs:

  • Total number of media hits: 2266 (including past winner articles)
  • Total Editorial Value: $7,994,746