From March 16-22 2009, Haystac Positive Outcomes (HPO) launched the inaugural A Taste of Harmony campaign. Funded by the Scanlon Foundation, A Taste of Harmony was an awareness-raising campaign designed to celebrate cultural diversity in all Australian workplaces.
HPO’s consultation and research process determined a lack of awareness and appreciation of the strengths of cultural diversity in the workplace. As a consequence, the overall goal of A Taste of Harmony was to recognise and also celebrate cultural diversity within Australian workplaces.
HPO developed an integrated strategy that aimed to register Australian businesses to participate in A Taste of Harmony. The call-to-action of the campaign encouraged workers to have lunch together and share food from their cultural background.
The response to the inaugural A Taste of Harmony campaign was overwhelming positive with 77% of the 1298 registered businesses (totalling 60,000 workers) that participated in the inaugural year, felt a greater understanding of the cultural backgrounds of their work colleagues had been achieved.
“Our small lunchtime events were highly enjoyable. Not only did they give us an appreciation for cultural diversity and the amazing array of cuisines we’re lucky to have on offer, but it also helped to improve organisational cohesiveness and relive stress. We’re going to make it a monthly event now!” (2009 participant)
The Scanlon Foundation is a philanthropic organisation committed to ensuring the ongoing creation of a socially cohesive, multicultural society in Australia. Its program vision is to see a future population of 30 million people by 2050.
Since the establishment of the Scanlon Foundation in 2001, grants of over $3 million have been made to projects with a social cohesion focus to over 100 recipient organisations.
While its annual grants program focuses on micro-community issues, The Scanlon Foundation felt that the issues of social cohesion and multiculturalism had dissipated from the broader social, political and media realms. As a result, they felt a broad communications campaign was required to raise the awareness of these issues amongst the general Australian population.
Haystac Positive Outcomes (HPO) was approached to develop a communications campaign that would raise the awareness of social cohesion among the general population, government and the media and to help Australians celebrate our already successful cohesive society.
HPO undertook an extensive consultation process with key stakeholders relating to social cohesion. Stakeholders included key representatives from government, notfor- profit and business sectors.
The outcome of the consultation process reinforced the notion that social cohesion had largely dropped from the social and political landscape and this was particularly the case within Australian workplaces.
Feedback conveyed a sense that business owners and workers themselves were no longer thinking about the opportunities that diversity may bring to their workplace. As a result, workplaces were where the stakeholders felt there was the greatest lack of awareness, and also the biggest opportunity for behaviour change relating to social cohesion in Australia.
HPO developed the A Taste of Harmony campaign for the Scanlon Foundation as it targeted the broad market of Australian workplaces which had an identified lack of awareness. HPO incorporated into the strategy the elements the Foundation wanted to achieve which included: celebration, workplace cohesion and an increase in awareness of the benefits of cultural diversity.
While outcomes from the consultation process showed a clear need to implement a workplace-based campaign relating to social cohesion, HPO identified research which reinforced the initial feedback.
With the latest ABS statistics showing 25% of Australia’s workers were born overseas, Australia has a highly ethnically and culturally diverse workforce.
However, a 2002 survey by the Australian Centre for International Business of 227 Australian CEOs showed that the recognition of cultural diversity and its potential benefits to workplaces was largely untapped and unacknowledged. A summary of the attitudes of the CEOs included:
- only 16% saw the recognition and management of diversity as of high importance to the bottom line
- only 14% ranked diversity as of high importance in recruitment
- only 32% ranked diversity as important to workplace productivity
- 22% ranked diversity of high importance for their firms’ social responsibility, while 15% ranked it of no/low importance
- only 33% ranked diversity management as important to a culture valuing diversity, while 14% ranked it of no/low importance
- diversity policies and training were ranked of lower importance than Equal Employment Opportunity and OH & S.
The research above shows that while Australia is a highly diverse nation, business leaders have been reluctant to acknowledge and embrace the benefits cultural diversity can bring to a workplace1. HPO used the results of the outlined research to presume a low level of current awareness (and interest) of cultural diversity in the workplace.
1 While the 2002 research is becoming dated, HPO notes that no further significant research has been undertaken in the area of cultural diversity in the workplace and that no national or state based campaign has been implemented by national or state government agencies or business associations, indicating that significant change is unlikely.
The campaign was intended for all Australian workplaces.
The primary key audiences of the campaign were likely to be the coordinators of A Taste of Harmony lunches and included:
- Diversity, Human Resource and Office Managers of big business
- SMEs and small business owners
The secondary key audiences were selected as they would assist in promoting the campaign to the target audience and include:
- Business sector stakeholders
- Media – mainstream, business, hospitality, trade and ethnic.
Celebration was the key factor in planning A Taste of Harmony. As food is often central to celebration, it was determined that the call-to-action for the campaign would be to encourage workers to acknowledge and celebrate their diversity through having lunch together. They were encouraged to do this either at work, or at participating local restaurants or cafes.
Underpinning the overall campaign strategy was the recognition that given the key audience was national and varied in size and culture so significantly, that developing an integrated campaign would be crucial in ensuring its success.
Identified campaign elements included:
- campaign brand and creative
- sponsorships from key industry bodies and corporations
- campaign ambassadors from both business and hospitality
- promotion through trusted intermediaries including industry associations and business councils
- Electronic Direct Marketing
- TV, radio, cinema and press CSAs
- extensive media campaign
- campaign website including interactive game
- identification of case studies
- development of campaign collateral
- national launch.
The execution of A Taste of Harmony required a highly integrated strategy in order to introduce a new concept to the market and engage with the business community. The key project deliverables and the associated activities are outlined below.
Brand and creative development
- Campaign logo and branding was original, inclusive, thought-provoking and effective whilst also incorporating ‘orange’ to demonstrate the link with the Federal Government’s ‘Harmony Day’.
- Logo and creative images that could be used across all of the A Taste of Harmony collateral including the website, newsletters flyers, posters, media releases, letters and promotional pack items. See Appendix A (1) for examples of collateral.
- Incorporate images needed to demonstrate the campaign was inclusive of all cultural groups
The campaign website was primarily developed to service the following core functions:
- Information provision for all the campaign’s target audiences regarding the campaign
- Registration pages for individual workplaces and restaurants
- Section for ambassadors, sponsors and supporters, news and downloads. See Appendix A (2) for screenshots of the campaign website.
Designed to attract the ‘early adopters’, undertaken before Christmas in 2008, the tele-campaign targeted the top 1000 companies, plus other key identified organisations.
Ambassadors were recruited to participate in and support media opportunities. They were also engaged to champion the cause and demonstrate a passion around cultural diversity in the workplace.
The aim was to select ambassadors to represent different capital cities as well as a range of cultural backgrounds.
Ambassadors were divided into two categories:
- High profile business leaders.
- Four business ambassadors secured – Peter Scanlon – Scanlon Foundation, Hass Dellal – Australian Multicultural Foundation, Susie Babani – ANZ, Michael Luscombe – Woolworths
- Seven chef ambassadors secured – Shannon Bennett, Guy Grossi, Manu Fiedel, Miguel Maestre, Tobie Puttock, Kate Lamont, Alistair McLeod
Sponsorship and supporters
In order to establish the ATOH brand in the marketplace and create public awareness, we felt it was important to create sponsorships with large national businesses. The primary purpose of a sponsor was to:
- assist in the national promotion of the campaign, by creating unique and creative ways to engage with other businesses and the wider community
- become a passionate, and highly visible advocate of the campaign
- Secured sponsors – Restaurant & Catering Australia, ANZ, Woolworths, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Australian Multicultural Foundation
- Secured supporters – RACV, Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Multicultural Commission, North Melbourne Football Club, Essendon Football Club, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Mitchells Media
Community Service Announcements
In order to promote ATOH to the general public and create widespread awareness HPO developed creative for television, print, radio and cinema community service advertising.
- CSA material was produced in November and distributed to media outlets in December and January
- The campaign was supported by Mitchells media buying agency
HPO developed a number of promotional items to be distributed to businesses and restaurants to assist in celebrating ATOH. The items were functionally-based and being orange, aimed to provide maximum visibility for the campaign, plus highlight the alliance with National Harmony Day.
- Promotional postcards – distributed at key events and conferences
- Participant kits - Electronic window stickers, balloons, napkins, table toppers, posters
- Distribution strategy developed. Tailored kits distributed to all participating restaurants and businesses
- Focus was a thank you event for sponsors and supporters
- 70 stakeholders attended
- Catered by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
- Performances by African drummers and Spanish belly-dancers
- Speakers included Parliamentary Secretary Laurie Ferguson, Sir James Gobbo and Peter Scanlon
- Long-lead campaign included inclusion on key event calendars
- Metropolitan newspapers were targeted for editorial and pictures opportunities
- Industry and business media were targeted to highlight the achievements thus far in diversity management
- Trade media was important for reaching restaurants
- Radio and TV for truly national and regional coverage
- Multicultural media
- Suburban and regional media were targeted via:
- Profiling local case studies
- Developing a media release to announce the launch of the website
- Creating a Win a Chef competition in NSW and VIC
A total of 381 individual A Taste of Harmony media releases were developed and distributed in the lead up to the 2009 week. Example media releases can be found in Attachment A (3).
The high number is a result of localising media releases in relation to Win A Chef to target particular local media, and also informing local media of local A Taste of Harmony events in their area that could warrant media coverage.
Results and evaluation
To aid with evaluation HPO undertook a survey of all participating restaurants and workplaces resulting in a 30% response rate. The outcomes of the survey results are used throughout this report to provide both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Details about the survey can be found in Appendix A (4) Outcomes of the campaign relating to the original objectives are outlined in the table below.
While achieving the campaign objectives, HPO feels it also achieved its overall goal, that being to increase the recognition, and benefits of cultural diversity and social cohesion in the workplace.
The most impressive outcome of the inaugural A Taste of Harmony campaign was the genuine social cohesion that resulted from the activities conducted by workers across Australia. 77% of workplace participants felt that they had gained a greater understanding of the cultural background of their work colleagues. The social change was also captured by the survey question, ‘What do you feel is the greatest benefit that you have gained from participating in A Taste of Harmony?, with the most common answers encompassing the following areas:
- Bringing staff closer together
- Greater knowledge and understanding of people’s backgrounds
- Opportunity to try different food
- Social interaction between employees/morale boosting
- Promoting and celebrating diversity in the workplace.
Please refer to results section above.