Investa Property Group is a world leader in sustainable business practices and with a relatively new presence on the Sunshine Coast, the company was eager to project its sustainability message locally.
The release of the ‘Bellflower Carbon Report’ – an independent review of the carbon credentials of Investa’s Bellflower residential development at Sippy Downs – presented an opportunity to unveil Bellflower as the region’s first ‘carbon neutral’ community, resulting from Investa’s $3 million rehabilitation of Sippy Creek.
Investa engaged Bayly Willey Holt to plan and implement a local launch event for the ‘Bellflower Carbon Report’, held on 25 September 2007 onsite at Investa’s new office. The overarching goal was to showcase Investa’s unprecedented local sustainability initiatives to key stakeholders, positioning it as a leading sustainable developer on the Coast, ahead of competitors also vying for government approvals.
Renowned science broadcaster Dr Karl Kruszelnicki was secured as a credible and independent keynote speaker, venue and suppliers were selected to compliment the sustainability theme and key local government, environment, business, media and community members invited. The launch achieved strong community and media uptake, established relationships with key stakeholders and contributed to formal recognition by leading environment and planning groups with two ensuing awards.
Strong competition exists on the Sunshine Coast between major developers, all vying for government support and development approvals. Therefore, the sustainability initiatives at Bellflower presented an opportunity to set a positive precedent for Investa’s future work on the Coast and establish strong government and community ties.
In early 2007, Investa commissioned international sustainability experts Arup to investigate and author a report on the carbon credentials of Investa’s Bellflower residential community at Sippy Downs. The independent report revealed Bellflower to be the region’s first ‘carbon neutral’ community, with carbon emissions effectively offset via an extensive rehabilitation program. The $3 million rehabilitation of Sippy Creek, which runs through Bellflower, involved the removal of grasses and weeds, the introduction of a biodegradable, erosion-control fabric to stabilise creek banks and planting 300,000 native plant seedlings. The project significantly reduced greenhouse gases and returned the creek to its original condition.
Bayly Willey Holt planned and implemented a launch event to publicise the ‘Bellflower Carbon Report’ and showcase Investa’s local sustainability initiatives, positioning the company as a leader in sustainable development on the Sunshine Coast.
Internationally recognised scientists and environmentalists were considered as speakers, to add weight to the report findings and attract community and media attention. As well as recognition, high importance was placed on the speaker’s energy, likeability and creativity. Not typically pro-development, Dr Karl was considered an exceptional and balanced third party endorser, providing credibility with sceptics such as green groups and media.
Targeted guest list
Local business, environmental and community groups were researched to develop a targeted guest list, including local green politicians, to ensure maximum exposure of the report findings.
Environmentally friendly products and services were researched and selected for take-home bags, gifts decorations, catering, lighting and AV equipment.
Numerous venue options were considered based on their compatibility with the local environment focus and site visits were conducted to assess suitability.
Community sentiment towards sustainability
The portrayal of sustainable development was investigated to establish public and media perceptions and used to formulate the scope of the event, Q&As, supporting material and speeches.
Property and environmental writers were researched to ensure key messages reached the appropriate channels. Media coverage of local environmental issues, particularly pertaining to development, was also collated.
Maroochy Shire and Caloundra City Council mayors, councillors and planners.
– Establish Investa’s local sustainability initiatives and commitment to sustainable development on the Coast to assist with approvals of future projects.
The State Member for Kawana, the Department of State Development and the Deputy Premier’s office.
– Reinforce Investa’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and reputation as a responsible developer.
Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC), Australian Green Development Forum (AGDF).
– Position Investa as a world leader in sustainability, committed to sustainable practices on the Coast, showcasing its rehabilitation initiative.
Chancellor Park Chamber of Commerce, University of the Sunshine Coast, Caloundra City Enterprise and the Innovation Centre.
– Establish relationships with and support from this core local business community.
Property Council of Australia, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Housing Institute of Australia.
– Showcase Investa’s initiatives among industry peers and set a sustainable development benchmark.
The Sippy Downs & District Progress Association.
– As the voice of local interest in sustainable development it was crucial to highlight Investa’s commitment and credentials to this group.
Planning began in July 2007 with Bayly Willey Holt developing a two-phased plan:
Phase One – a mid-morning event at Investa’s Bellflower office to communicate directly with key stakeholders. Mainstream media invited to communicate key messages publicly.
Phase Two – roll out positive word-of-mouth communication and media coverage following the event via a broader spread of publications, including trade, industry, science and environment magazines.
All aspects of the event were themed in line with the sustainability message, including e-invitations to avoid paper wastage and environmentally friendly products and suppliers as well as maximising the venue’s exposure to open green space and native foliage.
It was important to generate interest in the event among targeted stakeholders in advance by promoting Dr Karl’s involvement via a teaser email, formal invitation and media briefs.
Speakers and presentations were carefully planned to ensure a balanced overview of the report findings and provide an entertaining and informative event. With Q&As a key part of the presentation format, difficult questions were pre-empted and responses carefully developed to ensure consistent messaging.
An official opening of Investa’s onsite sales office was also tied into the event, with Bayly Willey Holt enlisting member for Kawana Steve Dickson to conclude the event by formally acknowledging the new premises.
The event plan was rolled out over two months and the below tactics used to achieve objectives:
Event theming and messaging
- Facilitated key message workshop and
- Developed creative concepts
- Developed issues management documents including Q&As. (See Appendix A1)
- Prepared speaking notes and run sheets to ensure consistency of messages and seamless transition of speakers. (See Appendices A2 and A3)
Coordinated the following speakers, preparing speaking notes and run sheets:
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
~ 30-minute presentation on climate change
~ Commendation of Investa’s initiative
~ Q&A session
~ Media interviews
Andrew Aitken, Arup (report author)
~ Report findings and their significance
~ Unprecedented nature of Bellflower as a carbon neutral outcome in Queensland
Michael Hopkins, Investa Development Manager
~ Overview of Bellflower and rehabilitation program
~ Outline of Investa’s sustainability credentials
~ Closing with Investa’s plans for future development in the area
Steve Dickson MP, Member for Kawana
~ Commendation of Investa’s initiative
~ Officially opened Investa’s new premises
Guest list / invitations
- Prepared a targeted guest list of approximately 70 people from selected community, environmental, industry and business groups, media, local councils and State Members
- Issued save the date ‘teaser’ email four weeks before event
- Issued e-invitations two weeks before event. (See Appendix A4)
Venue / suppliers
- Suppliers chosen based on ability to deliver energy efficient services. Catering required minimal electric heating and cooling and AV was structured around natural light, using minimum electricity output
- Local businesses contracted where possible to further strengthen relationships, including the local nursery for native plants and University for catering
- An outdoor marquee at the Bellflower office allowed visibility of Sippy Creek and display village. Native plants were arranged to frame the marquee and flank the stage
- 100% recycled paper take home bags included a copy of the Bellflower Carbon Report, Investa’s latest Community Newsletter, sustainability fact sheet and an energy efficient light bulb with ‘What a bright idea!’ swing tag. (See Appendix A5)
- Designed and produced banners and lectern signage
- Developed PowerPoint presentation including holding slides and images.
- Issued media release to local and metropolitan print, TV and radio outlets and industry publications. (See Appendix A6)
- Provided media kits to attending media including media release, Bellflower Carbon Report and a CD of Sippy Creek before and after images
- Coordinated media interviews with Dr Karl and other speakers
- Follow up and interviews with non-attending media.
- 80% of invitees attended the event
- Spread of guests included:
~ Steve Dickson MP, Member for Kawana
~ Four representatives of Maroochy Shire Council, including Cr. Christian Dickson
~ Three representatives of Caloundra City Council, including Cr Tim Dwyer
~ Four representatives of Sippy Downs District & Community Association
~ Local and national environment groups
~ Local business groups
~ Industry associations
~ Local print, radio and TV media
(See Appendices A7 and A8)
- Generated eight print articles including local papers, Courier Mail, Property Australia and Waste Management & Environment. (See Appendices A9 and A10)
- Generated two local TV news pieces, both headline stories. (See Appendix A11)
- Secured a three-minute radio interview with Dr Karl on Hot 91 FM’s Radio Real Estate segment
- Generated a news piece on Hot 91 FM
- Generated an online Queensland Business Review story
- Achieved public endorsement from Steve Dickson MP, Member for Kawana in closing address
- Established relationships with Sippy Downs Community & District Association and SCEC
- Established relationships with local business community
- Established relationships with Maroochy Shire and Caloundra City councillors
- Achieved strong word-of-mouth endorsement throughout Bellflower and greater community
A combination of entertaining speakers, a topical issue and strong community uptake, spearheaded by targeted media relations allowed Investa to achieve its objectives.
Objective 1. Impart significance of the rehabilitation
- Generated 13 pieces of media coverage, of which 100% were positive and 62% quoted Investa’s Michael Hopkins
- Media coverage spanned local, metropolitan, industry and environmental publications.
Objective 2. Position the ‘Bellflower Carbon Report’ as a credible and powerful document
- 69% of media coverage quoted and/or pictured Dr Karl for his endorsement of the rehabilitation
- 25% of media coverage quoted the independent report author.
Objective 3. Cement Investa’s position as a leading sustainable company to enhance its relationship with the local council, business groups and community
- Strong relationships formed with local council, industry and environmental representatives, resulting in awards from SCEC and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) for the rehabilitation
- Media coverage focused on Investa’s commitment to sustainability, its unique initiatives at Bellflower and Dr Karl’s support of the rehabilitation and report findings.
Objective 4. Raise Investa’s profile
- 80% of invitees attended the event, including representatives from both Councils and the State Member for Kawana who congratulated Investa on it’s initiative
- Achieved extensive local, metropolitan and industry media coverage.
Objective 5. Set a benchmark
- Media coverage highlighted Investa as the Sunshine Coast’s first carbon-neutral community
- Member for Kawana highlighted initiative as a benchmark for other local developers
- Dr Karl’s address applauded Investa for being the Coast’s first carbon-neutral community
- Awards received from SCEC and the PIA for the rehabilitation.
Objective 6. Position Bellflower as a sustainable residential community
- Media coverage highlighted Bellflower as the Coast’s first carbon-neutral community
- Dr Karl’s address listed sustainable features of Bellflower homes, reflected in media coverage
- A sense of community achieved among Bellflower residents, with ‘Sustainability Street’ household initiatives developed.
Objective 7. Generate word-of-mouth endorsement
- Numerous letters of thanks received from attendees, commending Investa.