Project Description

Regional Australia Institute

Project: Profiling a newly created policy think tank

OPF Consulting’s (OPF) challenge was to help establish brand awareness and position the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) as the leading regionally focused research, strategy and policy partner among the nation’s public, private, and government audiences.

Our strategy focus was to raise the profile of the RAI’s executive team as thought-leaders on regional issues and increase awareness of their involvement in advocating for regional policy through high profile, strategic media relations.

  • OPF worked directly with the executive team to plan and execute integrated strategic communication plans. We promoted RAI’s story as the country’s leading think tank, advocate and influencer for change and development in regional areas, by maintaining a consistent and authoritative presence in Australia’s leading media outlets.
  • OPF provided strategic input to RAI’s communication plans and support consistent communication to an extensive network of stakeholders. We also maintained their web presence with regular blog posts, helped provide content to and manage social media accounts, distributed regular newsletters and produced marketing collateral for various RAI projects, including promotional video. We ran media training sessions with RAI executives to improve their speaking techniques and ability to convey RAI messages to different audiences across multiple channels.
  • OPF started Twitter accounts for the executive team, coached them on the world of social media and supported them to publish meaningful, consistent and engaging content. Their profiles advanced from 0 to hundreds of followers in the first six months.
  • OPF built and maintain their new website including creating campaign specific sites when required.
  • OPF assisted with the organisation of a number of RAI events including event logistics, crafting messages, developing presentations, writing speeches, managing media attendance and coverage.
  • OPF targeted the most highly respected and revered thought-leadership media opportunities including achieving panelist roles, opinion editorials and expert interviews in some of Australia’s most influential news and current affairs programs and publications including: ABC’s Q&A program, ABC’s 7:30 Report, ABC News 24, Prime Seven News, WIN News, ABC’s Radio National Saturday Extra and Nightlife, The Australian, Australian Financial Review and more.
  • OPF helped to establish RAI as a credible, trustworthy and independent expert on important regional issues – such as natural disasters, telecommunications infrastructure, human capital, and city deals.

OPF worked alongside RAI to launch [In]Sight 2014: Australia’s Regional Competitiveness Index. We were responsible for staging a launch at Parliament House in Canberra. Guests included Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne, Minister for Industry the Hon. Ian MacFarlane, National General Manager for Government at Telstra, Dr Jack Dan, and representatives of Local Governments and leading corporations from around Australia.

  • OPF wrote speeches, sourced promotional materials, arranged media training for executives, assisted with presentations; managed video production and media attendance and coverage for the event.
  • The official launch generated widespread media coverage across both regional and national outlets, including Nine network, Radio National and, with more than 255 pieces and a combined reach of over 15 million people.

In 2015 we helped RAI to create a national competition framework, Regional Online Heroes (ROH), designed to find the most digitally innovative businesses in regional Australia.

  • OPF built a comprehensive suite of campaign specific materials including a logo, digital and print collateral and an integrated website. We partnered with Google to offer a prize package including flights and accommodation for ten Regional Online Heroes to attend a master class at Google HQ in Sydney and a celebration dinner on Sydney Harbour.
  • OPF promoted the competition to an extensive network, leading industry bodies, state and commonwealth Members of Parliament and local Mayors.
  • OPF engaged the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Affairs, Warren Truss, and esteemed regional businesswoman, Jane Cay of Birdsnest, as our expert judging panel.
  • Almost 200 incredible entries were received from regional businesses around the country, ranging from a peer-to-peer farm minding business in Parkes NSW, to a 12-year-old app developer in Cairns, QLD.
  • OPF achieved widespread traction for the competition, for the stories of the ten exceptional finalists, and the broader achievements of regional businesses everywhere. Coverage was secured in national print, radio, television and online, including in The Australian and on the Prime Seven Network across a three-month period. The inaugural 2015 Regional Online Heroes competition was such a big success; the competition ran again in 2016 and 2017.

In 2017 the RAI’s Lightbulb Moments Campaign has engaged with businesses in yet another outcomes focused way – encouraging people to come up with bright ideas to transform and advance their regions – or regional Australia. Over 150 entries resulted. Ten finalists were selected by a judging panel of five, including Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash. Each received dedicated project development and mentoring support from the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) and Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR). All 10 finalists received business mentoring from RAI and FRRR to help turn their bright ideas into reality.

“OPF has provided media and communications guidance and support to the Regional Australia Institute since mid-2014, making a substantial contribution to the organisation’s overall success. They are very responsive and attentive to the organisation’s needs, often in short time frames. They have sought to develop a deep understanding of what our organisation is seeking to achieve and provide helpful advice.” 

Jack Archer, CEO (2015 – 2019) Regional Australia Institute