February - May 2021
North East Water
Community Engagement Planning & Implementation. Supporting role for a Deliberative Forum
Fishbowl PR supported the North East Water team by planning and project managing community consultation on the Urban Water Strategy and the Mid-Point Pricing Review.
This included delivery of an electronic survey and facilitating five community workshops. The third component of the engagement plan was a deliberative community forum. We supported Max Hardy, a deliberative engagement specialist, to deliver the forum.
What is deliberative engagement?
It's a process designed to give participants the time and opportunity for extended consideration, to deliberate, on topics for which an organisation is seeking community input. Experts present information to participants who are then given questions to discuss and asked to provide conclusions.
The other feature of deliberative processes is the representative make-up of the panel, or group of participants. Participants are chosen through random selection to represent a cross-section of age groups and geographic areas.
"I appreciated Birgit being dedicated to the project and taking on responsibility for many tasks. The quality of the work was excellent. I respected and valued her opinion when raising issues and working through options and problems. Birgit is very reliable and knows what she is doing."
Misty Howard, Manager Governance
North East Water
November 2020 - Current
Communications Advice & Implementation
With an expanding business and the Marketing Manager going on maternity leave, Merriwa Industries asked Fishbowl PR to provide strategic advice and support to the part-time acting Marketing Manager.
Assistance included communications planning, developing a work plan, working with the All Abilities Communications Team on staff communications including the introduction of an electronic newsletter and content advice.
“We sought out Birgit for her strategic thinking ability when we needed to fill a maternity leave gap. Her clarity of thinking and ability to pick up quickly what we are trying to do and offer insights, while taking what was given to her and making sense and order from it, gave me comfort.
The questions Birgit asked helped me to get my thinking clear; to crystalise the direction. I also appreciated her support of me and that she proactively dealt with gaps in information from me. She has a strong ability to do organisational people navigation which saved me time.
I was delighted that Birgit delivered above what I expected and her capacity to pivot with a changing scope brought additional value. I got a collaboration and a partnership; we worked well together.
Lisbeth Long, Leader Commercial
Oct 2019 – Jul 2020
Central Hume Primary Care Partnership
Local Awareness Raising Campaign
The Central Hume Primary Care Partnership is one of 28 Primary Care Partnerships (PCP) across Victoria. While PCPs have been in place in Victoria for 20 years, as they operate behind the scenes in a facilitator role and are not front-line deliverers of services, the public has limited understanding of their role.
At the end of 2019 the Victorian government undertook a review of PCPs and as of September 2020, they are still waiting on a decision regarding ongoing funding. Vic PCP, the co-ordinating body for all 28 PCPs, prepared an advocacy campaign direct to decision-makers. Central Hume PCP asked Fishbowl PR to develop an awareness raising campaign highlighting the PCP’s local role.
The main challenge was building more understanding in the community about what the PCP does and its importance. Our initial research informed our approach. It revealed the power in the campaign would come from telling the stories of how PCP projects had changed people’s lives.
We developed a campaign plan to raise awareness and build relationships with key players. The plan contained the key messages for the campaign and set targets across traditional media, social media, website and relationship metrics.
Across the four projects highlighted in the campaign, community members consistently said the program had reduced their isolation; whether it was the health service at Waminda Community House, the Active Alpine Program, the Community-Wide Youth Mental Health Initiative in Mansfield or the Self-Management Approach to Supporting Patients with Chronic Health Conditions.
The case studies revealed how the community embraced the programs, the long-term nature of the work and the need for ongoing resourcing for such health and wellbeing initiatives.
Targets set for media coverage, website traffic, Facebook engagement and development of new relationships were all met or exceeded. This article appeared in the Border Mail.
“Without working with Fishbowl PR on this project, we wouldn’t have realised the significance of having the community voice within the case studies. We wouldn’t have gone down to the detail of how the work impacts the community or client. That clearly is of great significance to MPs and the Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS) staff and helped our partners understand more distinctly how what we do impacts on the ground.
The whole process of developing the campaign and peer to peer discussion about how advocacy can be done in different ways, was very beneficial. It supported us as a partnership; indirectly it re-inforced what was being done at a statewide level and was shared with other PCP Executive Officers to use the approach for their area.
We shared the work with the department (DHHS) locally for them to understand what is happening in each of the local government areas. The case studies are ready to use and will probably be used again and again; in our annual report, on the VicPCP’s website, our website and for social media sharing.
Due firstly to the bushfires and then COVID-19, the plan had to change a lot. We appreciated Birgit’s flexibility and understanding of sensitivities about timing of the release of our campaign.”
Huw Brokensha, former Executive Officer
Central Hume PCP
February 2020 - July 2020
Indigo Shire Council
Climate Emergency Stakeholder Engagement
Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and in February 2020 appointed Fishbowl PR to engage specific stakeholders and develop recommendations for a Climate Emergency Action Plan.
COVID-19 delayed the planned stakeholder engagement. The plan was re-configured and engagement took place online in May. We consulted two groups; staff and those on Council’s target stakeholder list. The target stakeholders had the opportunity to be involved in one or more ways across three different opportunities.
The stakeholders made suggestions and prioritised actions Council could take, actions council could lead / support the community to take and actions for which Council could advocate to other levels of government.
The recommendations were included in Council’s Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan 2020. They included:
- Embed the Climate Emergency in the Council Plan
- Cultivate a climate change culture
- Mobilise the community to act on climate change
- Promote environmentally sustainable development
- Reduce Council’s carbon footprint
- Collaborate and advocate
Michelle Croker was part of the Fishbowl PR team for this project.
August 2019 - December 2020
Mansfield Shire Council
Communications Advice & Implementation
As Council didn’t have a dedicated communications officer, Fishbowl PR was called in to assist with communications planning, key messaging and strategic advice.
We continued to support staff to deliver on the plan and provide crisis communications support through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Birgit takes all the stress out of public relations strategy and execution. She has a great understanding of community and government, so is able to quickly and professionally develop and implement accessible and effective communications. Birgit is flexible and easy to work with and goes above and beyond for the client."
Kaylene Conrick, Chief Executive Officer
Mansfield Shire Council
Oct - Nov 2019
Alpine Children's Services
Fee Increase Communications Plan
Alpine Children’s Services (ACS) provides childcare, family day care, kindergarten and out-of-school-hours care in the Alpine Shire, across four main sites.
In October ACS engaged Fishbowl PR to develop a communications plan to advise current and potential clients of fees for 2020. We consulted a small sample of clients. We used their feedback to inform communications materials that explained the reasons for the new fees and the actual out-of-pocket expenses for families. The outcomes exceeded the targets set.
The clients also provided suggestions to improve communications generally in the main centres which ACS took on board.
"Birgit sought to fully understand our business and our needs.
Her approach was professional, timely and valuable. Not only was the relevant information conveyed to our target audience in a sensitive manner, but Birgit gave us valuable feedback gained throughout the process.
This feedback has enabled us to make simple yet effective organisational changes that will allow us to better meet the needs of our clients. We look forward to using Fishbowl PR again."
Tanya Scott, Chief Executive Officer
Alpine Children's Services
March - July 2019
Brighter Futures Collective Impact Partnership
We worked with Social Change Projects on the communication strategy for the Brighter Futures Collective Impact Partnership in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs.
Brighter Futures aims to change attitudes about young people with a care experience and connect them to people in their community who can support the aspirations they have for their lives.
Brighter Futures has developed extensive local networks and incorporated young people's lived experience of care into the initiative’s design.
The communication strategy focuses on engaging the community, advocating for systems and practice change in Out of Home Care and sharing young people's success stories.
April - June 2019
Startup Shakeup is a regional partnership working to develop north east Victoria’s startup ecosystem. As it prepares to move into its second phase; building the missing parts of the regional ecosystem, Startup Shakeup asked Fishbowl PR to research and develop its communication strategy to support future plans.
Together we looked at the issues facing startup cultures and ecosystems in regional Australia and consulted local stakeholders to determine how communications could best support Startup Shakeup’s plan.
Startup Shakeup is committed to improving outcomes for entrepreneurs, jobs and regional growth. Mostly, startups are entrepreneurs who see a problem and develop a solution. Most often these solutions are high impact, use innovation and are scalable, offering benefits locally, nationally and potentially globally. Startup Shakeup is looking for mentors and investors. If you can help, they would love to hear from you.
Oct 2018 - Jan 2019
Ovens Murray Regional Partnership
Fishbowl PR and Scout Studio were commissioned to develop eight case studies about digital innovators in north east Victoria. We managed the project over four months, co-ordinating, interviewing, photographing and filming subjects to tell their stories in print and video.
The subjects included grassroots initiatives, education and training to improve digital literacy, business and government projects. All provided insight into what’s possible and how people are attracted to this region for the lifestyle, while continuing to innovate, some on projects with national and international reach.
You can read and view the case studies on the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership’s website.
"It was terrific working with Birgit and Jerun on production of our multi-media digital innovation case studies – they were extremely approachable, met all of our expectations along the way and delivered an excellent set of products."
Robyn Guiney, Regional Partnership Coordinator – Ovens Murray
Wodonga City Council
As part of a team led by Spiire Albury and Twin Prism Consulting, Fishbowl PR developed the communications materials for the Gateway Island Master Plan review.
In February and March 2018, the community and key stakeholders were informed about the review and invited to contribute their ideas. Through promotion in the media, on social media and other communication tools, there were more than 1200 views of the information on www.makewodongayours.com.au, Wodonga council’s online engagement platform.
In total 323 people provided input, either in person by attending open house sessions or by making a written submission.
The draft Master Plan, which incorporates this input, was released for comment at the end of June and will be finalised in September.
Communication Plan, Social Media Strategy
Fishbowl PR first worked with the then Rural Housing Network in 2013, developing their communication strategy.
In June 2017, the Rural Housing Network changed its name to BeyondHousing.
We helped the team prepare for the change; developing a communication plan to introduce the new brand to all stakeholder groups. This included moving social media accounts, scripting phone messages, advising clients and briefing media about the launch events.
Six months later, key stakeholders said they clearly remembered being advised of the change and understood the key messages; what the brand represented and that the BeyondHousing team, services and contact details remained the same.
We have also reviewed the organisation’s communication strategy and developed a social media content strategy to align with BeyondHousing’s new strategic plan.
"Working with Birgit to develop the communication strategy objectives and measurement framework (in 2013) meant we collected and monitored data we hadn’t before. We used this baseline data for setting goals and KPIs in our new organisational strategy (in 2018).
Having Birgit’s help to set the communications direction and drive the agreed activities is a great support to the role of CEO.
Several plans were enacted in 2018 that contributed to team morale. Staff certainly have a level of pride in seeing their work covered in the media and featured on social media."
Celia Adams, CEO
Communication & Engagement Strategy
In 2016 Yackandandah Health developed a master plan for its vision to offer a European model of aged care, based on greater interaction of the elders with the community and to provide allied health services for all ages.
In early 2017 Fishbowl PR was asked to develop a communication strategy to facilitate the transition. This included research and consulting the community about Stage 2 of the master plan; the plans for a community hub.
We then assisted with implementing the recommended actions. This included more engagement with key stakeholders, co-ordinating a new website, the formation of a Community Reference Group and in early 2018, planning the opening of the new building that houses 16 residential aged care rooms and 10 apartments.Case Study
"The communication strategy has played a significant role in bringing Yack Health back to the community.
We hadn’t comprehensively planned any of our communications, marketing or community engagement before and we didn’t know how to do it. There was a sense the community didn’t understand what we were trying to do and now they are not only talking about it but getting involved.
With Birgit it has been a partnership – at no point, have we felt we didn’t own it.
The advantage for our staff is that Birgit has trained and empowered them so that we are building their skills and capacity.
It probably goes without saying, but Birgit’s clear, open and frequent communication makes it very easy to work with her."
Annette Nuck, Former CEO
Evaluation & Sustainability Services
We worked with Evaluation and Sustainability Services to consult several of the business’s key stakeholders about their marketing and communications preferences, customer experiences and needs. With the insights provided, we developed recommendations to both address the stakeholders’ needs and set ESS apart from other providers.
ESS specialises in designing and conducting complex evaluations that consider environmental, social and economic outcomes as well as develop monitoring and evaluation plans and frameworks across various sectors.
"I highly valued Birgit’s skills and independent views following the Insight Audit. Evaluation and Sustainability Services is expanding into new client bases so we were actively reviewing our marketing processes and Birgit’s recommendations, not only through the audit, but also through her pragmatic advice on other elements of marketing, have dramatically advanced our planning. I am particularly grateful that she thought nothing of value-adding when I sought further advice."
Director, Environmental & Sustainability Services
Fishbowl PR and Social Change Projects teamed up to develop a communication strategy for Quercus Beechworth as it prepares to launch a major new project for the town, called Connecting Beechworth.
Quercus Beechworth’s purpose is community – a place to share, learn and connect. The strategy was designed to refine existing processes, given limited resources, in order to engage a wider range of community groups and individuals. It recommended key objectives, five priority areas and the main activities to deliver on the objectives.
"As we had never worked with a communication strategy before, we appreciated Birgit assisting us to better understand what it would contain. I welcomed both Birgit’s and Daniel’s objectivity, focussed thinking and willingness to ‘take on’ our concerns and comments. This process resulted in a strategy that is professionally delivered, focussed on the needs of Quercus and offers a ‘roadmap’ for Quercus for the next 2 years."
Manager, Quercus Beechworth
Website Review & Social Media Plan
We completed a review of Albury Galvanizing’s website and produced a web design brief for their new site in 2016. Since then we have been helping Albury Galvanizing with social media strategy and stakeholder engagement regarding their recent environmental works program.
Galvanizing provides robust surface protection against corrosion of steel items of every shape and size. Albury Galvanizing has protected steel components for some of the nation’s major infrastructure projects such as bridge and freeway works, mining and building projects.
"Since commencing our involvement with Fishbowl PR in 2015, Birgit’s professional approach to her work has made it easy for us to keep our messages relevant and up to date and this has added value to our business and our brand. I would recommend Birgit and Fishbowl PR to any organisation that is seeking this sort of support."
General Manager, Albury Galvanizing
Consultation & Communications Plan
With the federal government’s Medicare Rebate Freeze affecting the income of medical practices since 2014, at the end of 2016 the Beechworth Surgery made the decision to introduce a new fee for concession card holders effective in February 2017. As part of this decision, the Surgery developed a draft Fee Policy that offered support for those patients who experience hardship as a result of the change.
We developed the communication and consultation plan for the Surgery. Its main focus was to advise of the change and invite patient feedback on the policy. 220 patients responded and as a result of their suggestions, the policy was changed.
In Oct 2017, this project was Highly Commended in the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s Victorian Golden Target Awards, small budget category.
"Birgit brought an independent and critical eye to the task, which added significant value. Her experience in managing a significant consultation campaign was evident in the highly-organised planning and delivery.
Birgit quickly understood many of the key strategic issues that our practice faces and has a very realistic and pragmatic approach to implementation."
Practice Manager, The Beechworth Surgery
Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship
The Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE) held an official launch and screened a documentary in nine north east Victorian communities in May.
We worked with the ACRE team to create the communication plan using traditional and social media and print and radio advertising. We also incorporated the collection of data for ACRE’s long-term social impact evaluation project.
"Birgit has superbly honed skills in understanding and advising on communications strategy.
She is super smart, collaborative, strategic and pragmatic.
Her grounded approach is all about getting the best out of the available resources. Love her style, approach and the results that come with it."
CEO and co-founder, Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship
When a long-term business partner retires, what’s the potential impact on the business?
JWP Architects wanted to understand their clients’ perceptions and needs following the change which took place 12 months earlier.
Fishbowl PR developed a targeted questionnaire and interviewed nine of their clients. The results provided the partners with a range of insights; about the value they deliver for their clients, 10 client-identified opportunities for their business and feedback on how well they conduct their relationships.
"Birgit quickly understood many of the key strategic issues that our practice faces and has a very realistic and pragmatic approach to implementation.
After speaking to our clients, Birgit recommended strategies to maintain and improve these important relationships. We now have a clear action framework on which to plan ahead and have made changes already.
Birgit has a depth of experience across a range of professions and can distil this into very useful general principles of action and we highly valued having her independent eyes over our operation."
Partner, JWP Architects
Communications & Media Support
UPA Murray has been offering aged care on the Border since 1959 and wanted to review its marketing and communications materials to position it for changes in the sector.
Working with a graphic designer, Fishbowl PR co-ordinated a refresh of the brand, including a re-design of all marketing materials. This included reviewing the website and project managing the construction of the new website, including photography and domain name registrations. We formed a staff marketing working-party to ensure the new designs met all the stakeholders’ needs and to build support for the change.
We also co-ordinated a program of news stories and prepared media releases to raise awareness of UPA Murray’s facilities and services.
“UPA has been very pleased with the services of Fishbowl PR in regards to our marketing enhancement and website development project.
There has certainly been an increase in public awareness of UPA in local and regional media since Fishbowl PR started working with us.”
Regional Manager, UPA Murray River & Riverina
Goulburn Valley Waste and Resource Recovery Group
Communication & Engagement Plan
The Goulburn Valley Waste and Resource Recovery Group (GVWRRG) engaged Fishbowl PR to develop and implement a communication and engagement plan for the stakeholder review of its draft Implementation Plan.
The draft Implementation Plan covers the waste and recycling infrastructure needs of six municipalities in the Goulburn Valley region for the next 10 years.
The process was prescribed by the Victorian government through Sustainability Victoria and DELWP, which saw all regions develop complimentary plans for a statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Framework.
We worked with GVWRRG to research and shape the communication and engagement plan, deliver the communications and stakeholder engagement activities and set-up the monitoring and evaluation process.
"Birgit was a pleasure to work with. She had the skills to understand an unfamiliar topic and put together a plan to ensure we met all the statutory requirements.
She was able to be very dynamic which was needed with changing timelines and requirements. The project had many deliverables that required action at the same time and a need for detail - Birgit managed this very capably."
Executive Officer, GVWRRG
Old Beechworth Gaol
Forty-nine individuals, families and philanthropic groups bought the Old Beechworth Gaol in November 2016.
We worked with the small purchase team to research and develop a communications plan for the public announcement including advice to statewide and regional media, social media and collaborated with Scout Studio to develop the website and video.
"Birgit’s attention to the planning for our announcement, when we were knee deep in contracts, was an incredible support. While media around the country covered the story, the real value was how she considered and prepared us for the local and regional community interest because that’s the heart of this project. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough."
Spokesman for the Investor Group
Communication & Consultation Plan
For 18 years Beechworth.com has provided accommodation, entertainment, dining and service businesses a place to promote their offerings to visitors and residents, while at the same time promoting the town as a tourism destination.
Fishbowl PR recently consulted subscribers to see how Beechworth.com could improve its service to them. The feedback led to increased communication with subscribers, changes to the information on the website and more active promotion of the subscribing businesses.
"This process demonstrated the power of asking our clients for feedback. They had good ideas which benefited them, their customers and our business, so it’s a win:win:win.
Birgit’s approach helped us prioritise the changes into a deliverable plan, including targets so we can monitor how the changes affect visitor numbers and how many click-through to the subscribers’ businesses."
Rural Housing Network
Media & Social Media Support
The Rural Housing Network (RHN) provides services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness across the Goulburn, Ovens and Murray regions of Victoria. Fishbowl PR developed RHN’s communication strategy in 2013 and is this year providing support for campaigns across traditional and social media.
The campaign for Homelessness Week in August 2016 resulted in 22 news items on TV, radio and in print with a reach of 184,647 and a highly positive tone. Visits to the RHN website increased by 29%, they attracted 10 times as many Facebook followers as in a normal week and the reach of Facebook posts tripled.
"Fishbowl PR’s work in Homelessness Week in August was phenomenal. This is the key awareness raising week for us for the year and the way Birgit understood what was needed, co-ordinated and delivered all the elements produced an amazing result for us.”
CEO, Rural Housing Network
Rural Councils Victoria
2011 to 2015 Communication Support
Fishbowl PR provided strategic advice and communications support to this member organisation over four years. For details of the variety of work and the results achieved, please read the Case Study.
"I am very impressed with Birgit's proactive approach and focus on keeping in touch with me, particularly as she works remotely. Birgit has a broad range of skills and is highly organised.
The benefit for me is stress-free, high quality and timely support. I highly recommend Fishbowl PR to other member or industry organisations."
former Program and Policy Manager, Rural Councils Victoria