How people consume media has changed since the onset of the pandemic and it’s a complex battleground out there for content creators and advertisers to reach their target audience.
Introduced factors like increased time at home and lengthy lockdowns have significantly influenced how, when and what people listen to, watch, read or play.
All the research shows people are streaming more content on-demand. They are consuming more digital news.Fewer people are going to the cinema. Less people are listening to the radio on the way to work.
To understand whether the industry needs to shift the way we think about content production, distribution and consumption, lit’s important to understand the different types of content consumption.
Routine consumption – content consumed habitually
Spontaneous consumption – content consumed usually while filling time and requiring low concentration.
Planned consumption – at least 30 minutes is set aside for the consumption of specific content
The amount and type of content that people consume spontaneously are emerging as a key point to consider for the industry.
Spontaneous consumption describes things like short-form video content on YouTube, scrolling through Instagram, or turning the pages of a magazine on the table at work.
Research by PWC shows spontaneous media consumption is beginning to dominate the landscape and some of the numbers are extraordinary.
Spontaneous consumption accounts for 66% of the video content on social media, 44% of the content of streaming platforms, 62% of content read on the internet, 56% of digital media listened to on devices, and 52% of video games on a mobile device.
The amount of spontaneous consumption means led PWS to make the case that reaching the core audience may be getting more challenging as the opportunity to reach them with a message has to compete with a more fragmented, and increasingly non-advertising supported, range of choices.
Gaining a share of attention in this space requires us to look at a multilayered planning approach that balances the critical nature of reach, with the need to obtain frequency across a multitude of channels.
At RGC, we are keenly aware of changing consumer behaviours and are capable of producing a range of content that gets in front of people, no matter where they are.
Our in-house production studio can deliver high-quality webinars and podcasts to reach audiences when they go to watch or listen to media.
We can create websites and implement digital marketing strategies with SEO that engage audiences when they’re Googling.
And we produce compelling content for traditional and digital media to get in front of audiences online and in print.
The fight to gain and maintain attention has become even more complex since the pandemic and understanding where and how our audiences are consuming media is crucial to great results.
Every business now has access to mountains of data about their customers, their products and their industry. Mining that data and using it to create exciting and engaging content has become one of the most important ways to supercharge your media outreach strategy and build your reputation as an industry leader.
Branded data is any form or data you use to share with an audience to demonstrate your understanding of your customers’ needs, industry trends or product effectiveness. It can include almost any type of quantitative or qualitative data like customer surveys, market reports and product performance information.
At RGC, we work closely with brands like CartonCloud to develop branded data opportunities like the CartonCloud Logistics Index and real estate services group Oliver Hume on their Quarterly Market Insights report. On a larger scale, you can look at the success of things like the ANZ Job Ads survey or NAB’s Monthly Business Survey to see the value of branded data as a brand-building exercise.
Create News Flow
Increasing media consolidation, networking and the ‘pay to play’ attitude of niche publishers makes building a media profile harder than ever. Stories and ideas that were newsworthy five or ten years ago now routinely end up on the digital spike in newsrooms. As a result, identifying and executing earned media opportunities with a consistent cut through is the greatest challenge of any PR campaign.
The greatest challenge of maintaining an ongoing earned media campaign for many brands is generating a consistent flow of newsworthy stories.
Looking inwards at your proprietary data and compiling it into a tool for media outreach is not just a great way to fill holes in your PR plan but can be the foundation of your entire efforts.
Feed The Machine
The CartonCloud Logistics Index is a great example of using survey data to build effective branded data.
Even through the relatively narrow lens of earned media, branded data, done well, has an extraordinary ability to grow brand awareness and affinity. When you couple its earned media potential with other channels, the return on investment in quality branded data is well worth the extra effort required to do it well.
Effective marketing strategies have a voracious need for content. Your newsletters, social platforms, blogs, and website require a continuous stream of new content to keep them fresh and engaging. Breaking your data down to bite-size pieces can turn one piece of content into many. Turning a detailed report with seven data points into seven (or 14) different social media posts doesn’t require too much effort.
Go Beyond Surveys
When companies consider data as an earned media tool, most don’t get past a customer survey. These surveys are great for targeting specific audiences and investigating particular themes, but they can also be expensive, particularly for brands with modest marketing budgets.
It is well worth mining your proprietary data to create media outreach opportunities. Proprietary data is the information you already have on hand to tell a story about your business or industry. Australia’s largest real estate listing sites realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, are great examples of using their proprietary data to create valuable insights for their audiences.
Proprietary data is powerful because only your company has access to it, so insights drawn from it are inherently unique. Moreover, there’s also no additional investment required to collect this data because it’s already on hand.
That said, engineers don’t necessarily design their platforms for the purposes of data collection for the media. As a result, it can sometimes be challenging to pull standardised proprietary data that supports the story your brand wants to tell. This data can also be limited by the scope of a company’s platform.
While there can be challenges, crafting a story from proprietary data remains an excellent PR tool. The use of data in media relations is becoming more common, so it’s important that data is positioned correctly to the media and provides real value to journalists to stand out.
There are four key steps in generating media coverage that leverages proprietary data:
Imagine your perfect headline. Start where you want to finish and work backwards from a great headline. Beginning the branded content process with the result in mind makes it easier to sift through data to uncover relevant insights that can tell that story.
Understand your audience’s needs. Once you’ve identified the significant conversations in your industry, you can evaluate where your company’s data can support reporting on these trends and provide a new perspective or additional context.
Mine and simplify your data. Data can be complex, and breaking it down into easy to understand terms is essential to amplifying its value. A great way to make data more understandable is to present it visually, so infographics, tables and graphs can be valuable tools.
Understand your target media’s needs. Then, once you’ve built a story supported by your data, identify media contacts who would find these insights interesting and relevant to their reporting and determine your outreach plan.
Of course, the key to using your branded data, like all media outreach, is ensuring you are telling stories or imparting insights that are interesting to your audience. Creating or mining data is a waste of time unless you can package it into “news you can use”. This can only be achieved if you understand your audience and the problems you need to solve for them.
For many people there is little distinction between public relations and publicity and the terms can be easily interchanged. The fact is they are vastly differently fields that require their own unique skills developed over many years.
The easiest way to draw the distinction is to think of roads and planes. When you want a road built you call a civil engineer. When you want a plane built you call an aeronautical engineer (or two). They might both be engineers but you wouldn’t get the civil guy to build a plane or the aeronautical girl to build a road. The same should go for your communications.
What is Public Relations?
Public Relations has never been easily defined. For some it encompasses anything that involves talking to people that aren’t customers. For others it’s organising parties and inviting celebrities along.
I have been using the same definition for many years*.
PR is the strategic crafting of complex stories and interactions with a range of publics. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people ‘talk’ about you. It addresses issues and it takes time and resources.
Under this definition, the process of public relations is complex, time-consuming and more often than not, expensive. It involves formative research, strategy development, tactical thought and ongoing evaluation and program re-setting.
The goal of public relations is to complete this sentence with as much detail as possible.
In order to (insert objective) we will (define a strategy) by (list creative tactics that solve the problem)
You could end up with something like:
“In order to drive preference with buyers during the consideration phase, we will activate the online voice of existing customers by creating a game that requires multiple reviews on Facebook and Yelp and that focuses on the reliability of the product.”
A good public relations person is strategic, thoughtful and research-focused. They can stand back and look at the big picture and break it down into small actions that get you to your goal.
What is Publicity?
Publicity is another beast altogether. Generally, when smaller companies say they want to do some public relations, they really mean they want some publicity. They want their name in the paper, on television and on the radio. They want a profile and they don’t want to spend millions of dollars on buying advertising.
Publicity is getting unpaid media (radio, TV, press) to pay attention, write you up, endorse your products, point to you, run a picture, make a commotion. Good publicity is always good for your brand.
From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion which is one component of marketing. Other elements of the promotional mix can include advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling.
Good publicity does not necessarily require a lot of strategic thought. It is about identifying good stories and pushing them out to the media on a consistent basis. Publicity shouldn’t get bogged down in the minutiae of messaging, it shouldn’t be over analysed. You don’t get to craft a ‘perception’ in the media, the goal is simple brand awareness.
The best publicists always have an intimate understanding of the media. Their time is best spent on the phone, talking to journalists, looking for opportunities and chasing them relentlessly.
So next time you have a communications issue be clear on what you want and make sure you get the right person. The last thing you need is to take off in a plane, designed by an expert road builder.
* I am unsure where this is originated and happy to provide reference links if anybody can find the original source.
THE FOLLOWING MEDIA RELEASE WAS ISSUED ON BEHALF OF CARTONCLOUD IN JULY 2021.
Massive optimism in the logistics industry is fuelling a jobs boom with businesses planning to hire new staff to meet demand, a sentiment snapshot has revealed.
The inaugural CartonCloud Logistics Index took the pulse of warehouse and transport businesses in the first quarter of 2021 with 50 respondents providing feedback on business operating conditions, workforce and hiring outlook, growth, opportunities and challenges.
CartonCloud founder Vincent Fletcher (pictured below) said the results of the index pointed towards a healthy industry emerging from the pandemic disruption with significant confidence for the future.
“Optimism is high in the current economic climate and businesses are looking to capture growth opportunities in the months ahead,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The confidence is translating into the creation of new jobs in the industry, particularly for operations involved in warehousing.
“The numbers speak for themselves: 90 per cent of the businesses surveyed believe they are likely or very likely to increase their staff numbers.
“Increasing the workforce isn’t just positive for our industry but increasing employment opportunities and creating new jobs will benefit families and communities across Australia.
“Job creation is a powerful indication that logistics businesses in Australia are growing and they are in secure financial positions to bring on new staff.”
Mr Fletcher said it was satisfying to see more than 80% of businesses expecting to perform well or very well over the next six months, which was a sign of a very strong industry.
“Businesses are looking to grow by further increasing demand for logistics services, expanding the range of services they offer and making additional investments in business-to-consumer or e-commerce capabilities,” he said.
“Another opportunity to drive growth is the adoption of more technology across both warehouse and transport operations to drive efficiencies and unlock capacity.
“While 55% of respondents believe their business is embracing technology adoption well or very well, there’s clearly room for improvement in many warehouse and transport operations.”
Despite surging optimism and hiring intentions, the industry wasn’t without its challenges.
“Some businesses are scrambling to meet the high demand and customer expectations,” Mr Fletcher said.
“Hiring and upskilling the workforce so businesses can meet demand and customer expectations is a key challenge for both warehouse and transport businesses.
“We found it interesting that a significant number of senior management and business owner participants cited their own lack of digital vision and support as a key inhibitor in their business’s adoption of technology.
“Workforce knowledge and skill was also identified as a key barrier in the use of technology.”
What is your view of the current economic climate for your business?
A significant 68% of respondents believed the current economic climate for their business was either positive or very positive. This is in stark contrast to only 5% of respondents experiencing a poor economic outlook. The positive attitudes to economic conditions are a strong sign businesses are confident and are experiencing success in their operations. It’s important to note 27% of respondents reported a neutral view of their economic climate and future events may tip some of them into the poor or positive category.
How do you expect your business to perform in the next six months?
An overwhelming 83% of businesses expect to perform well or very well over the next six months. Less than 3% of participants expected their business to perform poorly, which is a sign of a very healthy industry outlook.
How would you rate the likelihood that your business will bring on additional staff within the next six months?
The positive economic and performance outlook is encouraging with 65% of participants indicating they believe their business is likely to bring on additional staff over the next six months. Likewise, 25% said they were very likely to increase their staff numbers.
Which of the following activities, if any, are you planning in the next 12 months in order to drive revenue growth?
More than 50% of participants believe their businesses will also tap into e-commerce/B2C fulfilment, and require an expansion in the range of services in the coming 12 months.
A smaller segment (15) saw automation and robotics as their primary revenue growth mechanisms for the coming months.
What will be the biggest challenges facing your business in the next 12 months?
Increasing operating costs were the main challenge faced by most (50%) businesses followed by driver and workforce shortages (43%). Inability to balance demand for services and capacity rounded out the top three.
60% of transport companies expect driver and workforce shortages to be the biggest challenge facing their business in the next 12 months.
THIS IS AN EDITED EXTRACT OF THE FULL-YEAR RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR OVER THE WIRE HOLDINGS. FOR THE FULL RESULTS PLEASE VISIT THE ASX.
Telecommunications, cloud and IT solutions provider Over the Wire Holdings Limited (ASX: OTW) is pleased to announce it has delivered another year of strong growth in recurring revenues with the company beginning to experience the full benefit of recent investments across its integrated solution platform.
Key highlights from the year include:
Becoming a Tier 1 voice provider following the completion of a multi-year Carrier Interconnect project
Growing recurring revenue by 38% to $103.2 million and delivering strong positive operating cashflows
A customer retention rate of 97.8%
Completion of the Zintel, Fonebox and Digital Sense acquisitions
Implementation of new Cloud availability zones in Perth and Adelaide
Increased international capacity and partnerships
Commencement of investment program to significantly upgrade the company’s core network (SuperCore)
Over the Wire Managing Director Michael Omeros said the achievements of the last financial year were important for the long-term future of Over the Wire and the growth of sustainable earnings.
“The completion of the carrier interconnect project and the completion of the Zintel, Fonebox and Digital Sense acquisitions provides us with a strong platform to lock in a variety of new, recurring revenue streams,” he said.
“We are already feeling the impact of these investments with second-half organic recurring revenue up 7% on the first half and a strong pipeline of new contracts and work.”
“The current financial year has started well and in line with expectations and we remain confident of delivering on our target of 15% growth in organic recurring revenue.”
Mr Omeros said the company’s Cloud. Connect. Collaborate. solution offering would continue to deliver positive outcomes for clients and help support future revenue growth.
“With the completion of the Carrier Interconnect project, we now have all the elements of a comprehensive, fully integrated platform that simplifies technology and empowers business,” he said.
Throughout the year, Over the Wire continued to focus on building its recurring revenue, with total recurring revenue growing 38% to $103.2 million. This component of revenue now represents 92% of overall revenue, up from 85% in FY20.
EBITDA for the year was $23.5 million (FY20: $17.4 million) with EBITDA margin improving from 20% in the previous year to 21%. The company also reported the continued strong conversion of EBITDA to cash with net cash from operating activities in the year of $24.5 million, up 111% from $11.6 million in the previous year. At the end of the year, the company has $16.7 million cash on hand.
The Board has declared a final dividend for 30 June 2021, of 2.25 cents per share fully franked, taking the full-year payout to 4.0 cents per share, up from 3.75 cents per share in the previous year.
During FY21, OTW completed its transition to becoming a Tier 1 voice carrier. Completion of the platform means Over the Wire joins an exclusive group of Tier 1 carriers in Australia that can now offer full-service voice capabilities. Other Tier 1 carriers include Telstra, Optus, TPG, MyNetFone and Vocus.
Mr Omeros said completion of the project was a significant milestone in the history of the company and, combined with a range of other solution and platform improvements, had laid the foundation for a new phase of growth.
“As a Tier 1 voice carrier we will be far less reliant on third-party providers and unencumbered by legacy technology which will deliver instant savings and about $2 million in additional earnings each year,” he said.
Mr Omeros said the company had already begun to see the benefit of investments flow through with a range of new recurring revenue contracts signed.
Following on from the second-half organic recurring revenue being up 7% on the first half, the strong pipeline of new contracts and work creates confidence of delivering on the target of 15% growth in organic recurring revenue.
“We have the people, solutions and platform to deliver strong organic growth in the current year and are focussed on ensuring we deliver in line with our expectations.”
RGC Media & Mktng
+61 415 743 838
About Over the Wire Holdings Limited
Over the Wire Holdings Limited (ASX: OTW) is an ASX listed telecommunications, cloud and IT solutions provider that has a national network with points of presence in all major Australian capital cities and Auckland, NZ. The company offers an integrated suite of products and services to business customers including Data Networks and Internet, Voice, Data Centre co-location, Cloud and Managed Services.
Over the Wire Holdings, Limited companies include Over the Wire, NetSIP, Faktortel, Sanity Technology, Telarus, VPN Solutions, Access Digital Networks, Comlinx, Zintel Communications, Fonebox and Digital Sense.
Australia’s leading online book retailer Booktopia Group Limited (ASX: BKG) has convincingly beaten its prospectus forecasts for the full year to June 30, 2021, with increased capacity, record numbers of customers and growing order values all combining to deliver a strong first year on the ASX.
Booktopia today (30 August, 2021) reported its first results since listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in early December 2020 following a $43.1 million capital raising.
In the 12 months to June 30, 2021, the company reported total revenue of $223.9 million, a 35% increase on the previous year and 10% above the $204.5 million forecast in the company’s November 2020 prospectus. Since 2018 the company has achieved a CAGR in revenue of 26%.
Underlying EBITDA (adjusted for IPO costs) for the year was $13.6 million, up 125% on the previous year ($6.0 m) and 45% above prospectus forecasts of $9.4m.
The full-year result was achieved on a 27% increase in total units shipped to 8.2 million, an average annual spend per customer of $126.85 (FY20: $111.43) and an average order value of $71.07 (FY20: $65.08).
Booktopia Chief Executive Officer Tony Nash said the company’s first full-year result as a listed company was very pleasing and had laid the foundation for the next phase of growth.
“Our prospectus set some very ambitious targets for our first year as a listed company and I am very happy to report we have been able to eclipse those expectations,” he said. “Our focus has now shifted to executing our multi-pronged growth strategy that will see us ramp up our market penetration, expand our reach within the book industry and lock-in new, earnings accretive partnerships and acquisitions.”
“Our team’s performance over the last 12 months, the strength of the Booktopia brand and our ability to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing external environment leaves us confident we can continue to grow at or above what we have achieved over the last few years.”
Mr Nash said the company had started the new financial year strongly with the momentum from the previous year continuing into the current year.
“Sales for the current year are currently tracking above the same time last year, despite the ongoing lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.
Booktopia’s growth and success since it was first established in 2004 is built on the development and continued refinement of proprietary software and algorithms that optimise traffic and conversion rates.
The company has now built a database of over 5 million customers with 1.8 million active customers in FY21, a growth of 19% on the previous year.
As well as achieving strong market share growth during FY21, the company also identified and executed three new partnerships that would accelerate growth over the coming years. In FY21 the company finalised deals with Australian publisher Brio Books, edtech provider Zookal, and teamed up with UK publisher Welbeck for a new joint venture in Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Nash said the company was actively pursuing several new bolt-on opportunities to leverage the company’s infrastructure and systems and enhance growth.
“Bolt-on opportunities, whether through acquisition or partnership, provide a clear path to supercharging our growth over the next few years and if we see an opportunity that provides the right benefits, at the right price, we will pursue it.”
“While our immediate focus is on Australia and New Zealand, we will look at opportunities in other markets if we believe there is attractive, medium-term, growth potential.”
Booktopia is also investing in the growth of its publishing (Booktopia Publishing) and publisher services (Booktopia Publisher Services) operations that will give customers access to even more titles, more quickly. The publishing division uses BPS to distribute its books to retailers and resellers across Australia and New Zealand.
“The Australian book industry is forecast to generate more than $2.6 billion in sales this year and we want to be at the very core of that industry to ensure our customers are getting the best deals on the best books,” Mr Nash said.
Mr Nash said the company would continue to invest in expanding capacity to accommodate growth.
Booktopia has invested over $20 million in the automating of its 14,000 sqm Distribution Centre at Lidcombe in Sydney’s west resulting in a doubling of capacity that allows the company the ship 60,000 books across 145,000 different tiles per day.
As part of its planning for future growth, Booktopia has recently signed agreements to secure an additional 13,500 sqm of warehousing and distribution facilities at Enfield in Sydney’s South West to complement its existing facility at Lidcombe. The new facilities will provide increased capacity to hold and distribute stock to its customers.
“The investment in distribution centres together with our strong balance sheet means we are well-positioned to leverage our future growth profitably and sustainably,” he said.
FY22 has started strongly, with revenue tracking ahead of the previous corresponding period.
The company continues to experience strong tailwinds, including:
the ongoing adoption of online shopping due to structural and demographic shifts
acceleration of these trends due to COVID-19
an increase in discretionary spending locally due to travel restrictions
The Board and management are cognisant of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, geographic lockdowns and the vaccine rollout, both in Australia and internationally and note that a high degree of uncertainty continues to surround the Australian economy.
“We will continue our growth strategy, investing into key areas of the business to cement our online market leadership and drive increased market share with an ongoing ‘customer obsession’ mindset to ensure our engagement and service is second to none,” Mr Nash said.
The company will also continue the expansion of its Publisher Services (Distribution) and Publishing businesses and its investment in distribution facilities as well as exploring international expansion opportunities through partnerships and acquisitions.
“Our intent is to be the core of the book industry, locally and internationally.” Mr Nash said.
In 2012 a startup subscription razor service called Dollar Shave Club launched with a quirky and hilarious video filmed in their warehouse. The video quickly went viral, propelling the company to massive growth and 2016 it was acquired by Unilever for $US1 billion. Not a bad ROI from a low-cost piece of video content.
While the power of video content has been known for many years, it has been brought into new light over the last 12 months. With face-to-face communication either banned or extremely limited, businesses have had no option but to embrace video for a range of communication, both internal and external.
In 2021 RGC launched its own video studio to help clients create high-quality, cost-effective video content.
Video is a versatile and engaging content format that not only gives us a real-life picture of what is going on; it’s also easy to share across multiple platforms. Consumers like it because it’s easy to digest, entertaining and engaging, and marketers like it because it can give a potentially huge return on investment (ROI) through many channels.
Video is also very accessible to anyone with internet access, both to watch and to produce. While there is certainly a trend towards higher quality video on a professional level, anyone can hop onto their laptop and create their own video in under an hour.
Need more evidence of the power of video? Here are a few stats.
Demand for Video Content is Increasing – The preference for video content is not just limited to entertainment purposes. Video extends to brands. Studies show that 54%of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support (HubSpot, 2018).
Videos Are Consumers Favorite Type of Content – Users are seeing videos increasingly on every platform. Whether it’s on blogs, Instagram videosor simply YouTube, they are expecting more video content. Videos are a consumers’ favorite type of content to see from a brand on social media (Animoto, 2018).
Videos Deliver Great ROI – Nearly 90%of video marketers are satisfied with the ROI of their video marketing efforts on social media (Animoto, 2018). The same report shows us that 80% of marketers also claim to be satisfied by the ROI of video ads that they have posted to social media.
Videos Helps Consumers Understand Brands – About 97% of marketers claim that videos help customers understand products (Hubspot). Consumers and businesses don’t’ need to be sold to; instead, they’re doing a quick internet search to find the best product in their neighbourhood or even in the world where they’ll proceed to order it online.
Videos Is Great For SEO – Over 80% of all traffic will consist of video by 2021. (Cisco) Search engines love videos because they see them as high-quality content, so to this end, using videos in various types of content as well as on your main web pages can work wonders for your SEO — as long as the videos themselves are optimized properly as well. This means incorporating the right keywords, a solid meta description, and also a strong title.
Videos Drive Conversion – 90% of consumers claim a video will help them make a purchasing decision. (Social Media Today). Wyzowl claims that 74% of people who get an opportunity to see a product in action via an explainer video will buy it. And landing pages are great places to place videos, too. — supposedly boosting conversion rates by up to 80%(just be sure to keep autoplay off so as not to scare the customer away with loud noises).
Types of Video
There are lots of different types of videos out there and part of creating an effective content marketing strategy is having a solid understanding of your purpose before you sit down and create the video (or any other type of content, for that matter).
You want to make sure the both the type of the video and the channel purpose (if you’re posting on social) fit the purpose of the video itself. Here are some of the different types of videos that your business could use to grow awareness and engagement.
Explainers can help educate people about your product and can be used in conjunction with instructions, customer service activities, and a whole other range of applications.
Interviews can help to encourage conversation between sides, or showcase a special guest or influencer. If you are creating videos featuring guest experts, for instance, you can always re-use the audio and market it as a podcast. Below is a video RGC created for its MBA News site and promotional partner the University of Queensland Business School
Product reviews and demo videos can be created by brand ambassadors in exchange for free products. If you can find people in your industry looking to boost their social following, this can be a great way of essentially getting free advertising.
Live video is the best chance to get up close and personal with your audience, and it works well on social channels in particular.
If you want to make video part of your 2021 please feel free to contact RGC Media & Mktng on 1300 854 502 email us at email@example.com.
Tweed and southern Gold Coast developer Sherpa Property Group has added two further sites to its burgeoning portfolio, with the company planning to now expand its successful coastal housing business into the apartment market.
The company has acquired 488 The Esplanade, Palm Beach (pictured), for more than $11 million and 202 Pacific Parade, Bilinga, for $2.5 million. The Palm Beach site is expected to be developed as three beachfront homes and nine, one-per-floor apartments while the Bilinga site will be developed as five spacious, one-per-floor apartments.
The new projects expand Sherpa’s portfolio to six projects spread from Palm Beach to Cabarita on the Tweed Coast. To date it has spent more than $35 million on new development sites.
Sherpa Property Group Managing Director Christie Leet (pictured above) said the company had achieved $20 million of sales across its portfolio in recent months.
“We have tremendous confidence in the strength of the border market and that is supported by the sales success at the projects we have taken to market over the last nine months,” he said.
“We think the southern end of the Gold Coast is crying out for something different to the standard investment-grade product that has been dished up for many years,” he said.
“We will be exclusively catering for owner-occupiers and the lock-and-leave market coming in and out of the major east coast capitals.
“Doing things differently has served us well to date and we are confident remaining focussed on liveability and lifestyle will continue to deliver success in the future.”
Sherpa is developing a new brand to market the apartment components of the new projects when they are launched later this year. The new brand will complement the existing Freedom Homes brand the company has used at its projects to date.
Traditional development strategies for apartment projects are about creating maximum dollar yield per square metre of land. However, the guiding principle under the new Coastal Perspective banner is about creating maximum lifestyle returns for the apartment end-users.
It is that new perspective and a commitment to innovative architecture that underpins the new brand’s ability to deliver on the end user’s wish list.
The company recently released the final homesites at its Scenic Ridge development at Bilambil Heights and has now sold three of the four beachfront homes at The Golden Four project at Bilinga.
In early June the company sold all 17 homesites at its Freedom Caba project at Cabarita Beach in northern New South Wales and in July took the wraps of its $30 million Freedom Beach Homes Rainbow Bay project.
The Rainbow Bay project includes 16 beautifully appointed, free-standing, individually titled designer homes just over 100m from the beach. Prices start from $1.4 million. Eleven homes have already been sold.
Sherpa acquired the 3,947 sqm site at 199 Boundary Street, Coolangatta, earlier this year and has already received development approval for the subdivision of the site and construction of the 16 homes.
The homes were designed by renowned architects Herwig Hartl Architects and will be built by Broadbeach-based builders Jason Doerr and Tim Douglas of Valcon Homes.
For more information visit www.sherpapropertygroup.com.au or call 1300 808 646.
One of the defining moments of the 2019 Federal election was Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s heavily publicised showdown with Ten Network journalist Jonathan Lea.
Shorten was riding high at the time and cruising towards victory. Just a month out from the poll, his confidence was on full display as he sparred with Lea over the undisclosed cost of Labor’s emission reduction target to the Australian economy.
It did not go well. After initially berating the journalist about his sources, Shorten jumped into a 90-second monologue about the economic failures of the Morrison government, railed against corporate profits and his gave another forceful rendition of his campaign mantra about the Coalition’s imaginary cuts to service.
He completely ignored the substance of the question and when the Lea demanded he answer, Shorten simply scoffed and demanded another journalist be given the opportunity to ask a question.
Lea was having none of it.
“Answer the question. When can people know? When can people know, Mr Shorten, the cost to the economy? You didn’t answer the question.” Lea demanded.
The exchange led news bulletins for a full 24-hour cycle (an eternity in a campaign) and it did not play well with voters. For many, it was confirmation of the underlying questions they had about Shorten and his lack of substance. It was the first crack in Labor’s armour, which had, to that point, been impenetrable.
History tells us despite the stumble, Shorten still took a lead into polling day. But it was not to be, with Morrison leading the Coalition to victory on May 19. In the wash-up, many pundits rightly pointed to the dust-up, along with Bob Brown’s disastrous convoy of anti-coal activism into the heart of Queensland’s coal mining regions, as the turning point in the election.
Politics and the media
Shorten and Lea’s stoush was a prime example of why managing the media is critical to political success, particularly during a campaign. Despite the focus most major political parties put on raising and spending money during an election, there is a far greater correlation between positive earned media sentiment and success than money spent and success.
If money was the key to political success, we would have Prime Minister Clive Palmer overseeing the nation’s pandemic response strategy.
The ability to joust with a hyper-partisan media, without flinching or stumbling, is the most critical skill of any modern politician. It is why so many clearly incompetent people, with great media management skills, can rise to very high positions in politics. Where is Nick Xenophon these days?
While they have been a fixture of politics in most large democracies for many years, the rise of 24-hour news channels has fundamentally changed the way Australian politicians, public servants and other community leaders must deal with the media.
Dealing with the pressure of a live-to-air press conference, sometimes lasting more than an hour, has added a new plank to the required skillset of people seeking high office.
Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, most Australians’ experience of these live press conferences was their post-spill introduction to their new Prime Minister. Gillard, Rudd, Turnbull and Morrison all made their way straight to a podium after their successful party-room ballots. Each of them knew it was critical to define the narrative of the change of leadership. Some were more successful than others.
However, as the coronavirus swept the world and populations were ordered to stay home, live updates from leaders have become compulsory, and fascinating, viewing. We have seen our leaders under pressure like never before.
My office has the benefit of a television that streams news throughout the workday. This gives me an opportunity to see leaders fronting up day after day to live press conferences and a strong sense of the strategies they deploy to keep the media focussed on their leadership qualities, not mundane distractions like their governance and policy failures.
Throughout the crisis, two leaders – Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews – have been head and shoulders above the rest in managing the narrative and keeping their respective press packs under control.
The Bridge and the Shield
Morrison’s extensive experience dealing with the media from a relatively young age as the Head of Tourism Australia through his elevation into Federal Cabinet, oversight of the ‘turn back’ immigration policy and as Treasurer was great preparation for the cut and thrust of daily briefings.
Most of his media conferences have a fairly predictable ebb and flow to them with a long-winded introduction to the topic of the day followed by some gentle follow-ups to clarify data, government strategies or any inconsistencies. It’s after this initial parry that the real fireworks begin. It is in this environment, being peppered by tough questions on uncomfortable topics, where Morrison comes into his own as a media master.
In recent weeks, the overwhelming majority of questions relate to the perceived shortcomings of the government’s income-support initiatives to deal with the economic fallout of the States’ decision to shutter economies.
The Prime Minister’s go-to tool for handling difficult questions is the primary tactic media trainers have been teaching their clients for many years – bridging.
Bridging is the cornerstone of dealing effectively with the media and an essential tool to control a media interview. It is the linguistic tool that allows the interviewee to move the conversation seamlessly from a negative or unhelpful question on to safe ground.
Done well, bridging provides the ability to transition from uncomfortable territory to safety. Bridging is essentially about reframing an issue and refusing to acknowledge the narrow frame the reporter has built around it. The structure of a linguistic bridge is relatively simple:
A – acknowledge the question
B – bridge to your new narrative
C – concentrate on your preferred content
It can take dozens of forms, but here are just a few bridging statements you might hear if you listen to enough media conferences.
“That is an important question, but what matters in this situation is..”
“We understand the issue well and your concern, but I think the more important thing is…”
“They are great government talking points, but I think it would be more accurate (or correct) to say…”
“This issue has been covered extensively., here’s the real problem…”
“We have looked extensively at this issue, and what it comes down to is this..”
“It is wrong to focus on that, for the benefit of your viewers let me emphasise again..”
The most common, and most serious, mistake when utilising bridging is to not acknowledge the question of the journalist. This acknowledgment of the question requires a good deal of precision, intelligence, practice, and dexterity to get right.
Whether it was arrogance, or a lack of focus, Shorten’s critical mistake in not dealing with Jonathan Lea, was his failure to address or recognise the substance of the question. Nobody, particularly journalists, like to be treated with contempt.
Acknowledgment shows that you take the question seriously and that you admit that the question is legitimate. If you do not acknowledge the question, you risk the journalist making you the focus.
The pandemic’s other greater media performer has been Dan Andrews. While his Government’s policy failures have resulted in dozens of deaths. His tactical approach for placating a hungry media pack comes down creating ‘shields’ and utilising them with extreme discipline.
Anticipating and neutralising media questioning by establishing independent enquiries and the refusing to comment on them, lest you be accused of interfering, is a tried and tested tactic of the modern Labour party and the careerists who have risen to control them in many jurisdictions.
Andrews’ creation of a ‘judicial enquiry’ to investigate the failure of his government’s hotel quarantine program has allowed him to effectively avoid any public scrutiny for one of the greatest failures in Australian political history.
The tactic only works if you put the perspicacity to anticipate the issue and put the shield up, and then have the discipline and control to use it without lowering it, even for one moment.
To watch Andrews stand in front of numerous press conferences and bat away literally hundreds of questions with the same answer is indicative of a man who understands the full ramifications of his failings, and knows any acknowledgment of them will mean the end of his political career.
The ‘shield’ requires a strong understanding of how the media operates and the ability to anticipate weaknesses. Andrews has learned that once the media acknowledges they are not going to get him to admit his failings, they will move on to the next topic.
Both Morrison and Andrews have finely tuned their skills over many years and whether you believe their motivations are benevolent or malicious you can’t but admire their capacity to go into battle for every day for what they believe.
A new digital portal dedicated to providing personal investors and advisors with news, education and insights about Australia’s $1.5 trillion fixed income sector will include the country’s first free, independent database of fixed income ETFs and managed funds.
Fixed Income News Australia (fixedincomenews.com.au) is a joint venture between RGC Media & Mktng and Australia’s leading fixed income commentator Elizabeth Moran. It is the second major news portal published by RGC following the launch of the wholly-owned MBA News Australia platform in 2015.
The FINA portal will combine daily news, expert insights and educational articles with a database of 30 fixed income focussed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and more than 110 fixed income managed funds.
Despite the size of the market, Australian private investors – including individuals, SMSFs and high net worth investors – hold less than 1% of all corporate bonds on issue, compared to almost 20% in the United States. The Federal Government is currently holding an enquiry into taxation and other impediments to the development of a retail corporate bond market.
RGC Media & Mktng Managing Director Ben Ready said FINA would fill the gap for an independent, content-driven, portal that speaks directly to the needs of personal investors.
“Fixed income investing has been the domain of professionals for too long,” he said. “Fixed income investing shouldn’t be scary or difficult and the more we educate people about their options the more people we can help to live a secure, sustainable retirement.”
FINA co-founder and Editorial Director Elizabeth Moran said despite the continued growth of self-managed superannuation and the number of high net worth individuals, Australians still lack a basic understanding of the value and importance of fixed income in a diversified portfolio.
“We are committed to providing the tools and confidence to allow more Australians to invest in fixed income,” Ms Moran said.
“We want to unravel the complexity of fixed income by using language that investors can understand. FINA is all about facilitating greater awareness of fixed income and giving investors the confidence to invest widely.”
“The recent volatility in the share market should be a wake up call to many investors who are over exposed to equities and want to invest in an asset class that provides much greater stability.”
FINA will take a particular focus on covering news and issues about the $10 billion fixed income Exchange Trade Fund (ETF) sector which has grown nearly 500% since 2015 and provides investors with a flexible, transparent and low cost way to increase their exposure to bonds.
Nearly 30 bond ETFs from more than 15 different providers are profiled as part of FINA’s FI ETF Finder.
Ms Moran teamed up with Brisbane-based digital communications, content and creative agency RGC Media & Mktng to create Fixed Income News Australia. RGC is also the publisher of Australia’s leading portals for MBA students, mbanews.com.au and online-mba.com.au.
About Elizabeth Moran
Liz Moran is a nationally-recognised expert in the fixed income asset class with more than 25 years in banking and financial institutions in Australia and the UK.
Prior to becoming an independent commentator in 2019 she spent more than 10 years as the Director of Education and Research at fixed income broker FIIG Securities, helping it grow from 15 staff in 2007 to a recognised brand name with over 6,000 clients and more than 130 staff in 2018. Prior to joining FIIG, Elizabeth worked as an Editor/Analyst for Rapid Ratings a quantitative credit rating agency, writing daily press releases for Bloomberg.
Elizabeth spent five years in London, three working as a credit rating analyst for NatWest Markets. She was part of a team of 30 analysts responsible for rating the Bank’s top 500 corporate clients. Her portfolios included general retailers and alcoholic beverages.
Elizabeth is a Director of the Australian Investors Association (AIA), a contributor to The Australian and the Income Strategist for InvestSmart’s Eureka Report.
RGC was founded in 2015 by Ben Ready and Brenton Gibbs. The company provides a range of digital and communication services including media and public relations, content, SEO, creative, lead generation, and digital marketing. RGC’s clients include some of Australia’s leading brands.