The Challenge: In early 2010, the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) was a growing organisation, hindered by a lack of awareness and understanding among its primary stakeholders – Government (all levels) and Corporate Australia. The AES was perceived as a small, rural service provider, delivering mostly low skilled jobs to its Indigenous career-seeking constituents. In reality, the AES was delivering long-term career opportunities across a range of industry sectors, including banking, engineering, legal and professional services.

From July 2009 through June 2010, the AES was on track for a record year of long-term career placements, however, national and metropolitan media coverage of its success was limited; moreover, the AES was unable to secure meetings with senior ministers or high-level bureaucrats and other stakeholders.

The Brief: Research into Indigenous affairs revealed that brand awareness among key stakeholders could be built through positive media coverage in national, metropolitan and urban outlets. Prior to June 2010, the AES had very minimal press coverage in these. The AES key stakeholders include: existing and potential corporate clients, candidates and Government – all very influential in bringing about long-term policy change for Indigenous employment. Following a competitive pitch, DEC was appointed in May 2010 to develop and spearhead an integrated communications strategy.

The Strategy:
Position the Aboriginal Employment Strategy as a thought leader in Indigenous employment – influence policy makers
• Create cut through with a powerful thought leadership position for media, by offering something new to the category, by way of an Australian-first report into Indigenous career seekers.
• Use report to influence high-level Government stakeholders and existing and potential Corporate Partners.
Connect with and engage Corporate Australia and Government
• Present the findings of the report at a stakeholder event, the AES can speak directly to the wider business community and Government encouraging increased involvement in Indigenous employment.
• Drive further brand awareness and to issue a call to action to the business community and Government, a stakeholder letter campaign will champion the results of the Report.
Drive widespread consumer, stakeholder and media awareness
• Proactive media relations across media outlets in metropolitan and urban areas, highlighting positive AES news and milestones, will further drive brand awareness amongst Indigenous career seekers and stakeholders.
• Letting others tell the story, such as successful case studies showcasing AES career seekers and placed candidates, will capture the attention of Indigenous career seekers, potential corporate partners, Government and media.
• By leveraging the identified media interest in Andrew Forrest, we can offer Danny Lester AES CEO as a strong alternative opinion leader.


The execution: The following tactics were used to implement the strategy.
A thought leader in Indigenous employment
• Developed a survey, to assess areas including: employment opportunities, career progression, industry sectors, qualifications, satisfaction and retention levels, mentors and goal fulfilment.
• Engaged Newspoll to conduct a telephone survey of Indigenous career seekers and professionals registered with the AES.
• Developed a report, revealing the results of the survey.
Connect with and engage Corporate Australia and Government
• Held a breakfast event at the NSW State Library, to launch the results of the Report to Corporate Australia and Government - further reinforcing the educational theme.
• Secured NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to jointly host the event with the AES, to underpin credibility and lend weight to the report.
• Developed media release: “Australian-first: new Indigenous career seekers report launched” and sent to key business media across all outlets.
• Engaged with key journalists and secured a series of in-depth interviews with key media across national and metropolitan radio, print and television.
• Developed a stakeholder database, developed and distributed a series of tailored letters calling to action Government and Corporate Australia to improve Indigenous Employment.
Drive stakeholder, media and candidate awareness
• Identified top tier media, monitored media daily to maximise opportunities and highlighted AES news and milestones with press releases.
• Developed AES Quarterly Newsletter to showcase AES news and achievements to AES employees, existing Corporate Partners, registered AES candidates and the wider Indigenous community.

The results:
• AES corporate partners increased by 10% from June 2010. Additional partnerships secured include: Westfield, Nine Entertainment Group, Woolworths, Coles, Clime and St George Bank.
• Indigenous career seekers registered with the AES grew from 2,028 in June 2010 to 2,670 in May 2011.
• 107 pieces of media coverage secured across national, metro and local media outlets in print, TV and radio. Highlights included: SBS Insight, ABC Stateline QLD, The Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and ABC Radio National.
• More than 20 Million people were reached through extensive media coverage secured regularly.
• As a result of a built profile, AES CEO Danny Lester appeared on SBS Insight and as a speaker at the high profile GenerationOne Ideas Forum held by mining magnate Andrew Forrest to address finding solutions to Aboriginal disadvantage.