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September 2013

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27 Sep

Liverpool forum gives disadvantaged youth a voice

by launch-admin Sep 27, 2013 0 Uncategorized


Youth put leaders in the hot seat

·       Liverpool Street University launches ‘Backchat’ forum to engage youth in community issues

·       First forum with NSW Treasurer Michael Baird – Friday, 27 September 2pm


Friday 27 September, 2013: Leading youth services provider The Ted Noffs Foundation today launched Backchat, a free forum where Western Sydney youth will have the unique opportunity to hear, learn and challenge politicians, community members and industry experts.


According to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census, Liverpool City has a significantly higher proportion of young people than the NSW average. In 2011, there were 34,566 young people living in the Liverpool area, which represents nearly one in five people or more than 20 per cent of the Liverpool population[1].


Backchat will comprise of six annual talks from a range of NSW and national guest speakers. Each presenter will provide insights into power and influence and participate in interactive Q&A sessions, hosted by the young people.


The first of the series will take place  Friday, 27 September at 2pm at Noffs’ Street University campus in Liverpool, with New South Wales Treasurer, The Honourable Michael Baird. Mr Baird will discuss the importance of embracing opportunities and share advice on how to accomplish personal aspirations.  (Full details at end of this release).


In 2012 the Liverpool Council produced a youth strategy, which identified the need for additional participation opportunities for local young people, as the majority of young people surveyed indicated they did not feel their voice was valued in the community[2].


Street University Co-founder Matt Noffs said the new Backchat forum will give youth an opportunity to tell their story and express their desires and goals, but also to challenge the people making decisions about issues that affect them.


“This series is all about empowering youth from marginalised areas by equipping them with a fuller understanding of the business and political world and providing them with the chance to engage with influential people,” he said.


“Youth in areas like Liverpool are constantly faced with difficult social issues such as unemployment, drugs, alcohol and crime, and yet they rarely have the opportunity to speak out and discuss these problems directly with the influential members of the community who have the power to really change things. Backchat will offer young people the chance to have their voices heard instead of being spoken for by councils, bureaucracies and members of parliament.”


Mr Noffs said Sydney’s South West is fast becoming a hot spot for young people and innovation however, to keep the hub alive, the community needs to invest more time, resources and funds into the area.


“The amount of talent, creativity and drive coming from Sydney’s South West is invaluable and it’s up to us to embrace and nurture these young people,” he said. “In 10 years they will be leading the West, so we need to start listening to what they have to say and providing opportunities that will allow them to flourish.”


Event details

When: Friday 27 September from 2 pm until 3.30 pm

Where: Noffs Street University Liverpool, 1 Speed Street (Cnr Terminus & Speed Street)

Phone: +61 2 8785 8000

Email: streetuniversity@noffs.org.au


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Media contact: Sarah Tsiros (02) 9492 1034 / 0466 805 364 or sarah@launchgroup.com.au

About the Noffs Foundation: About the Noffs Foundation: The Noffs Foundation is one of Australia’s leading youth services providers, and an advocate for best practice in drug and alcohol provision, prevention and treatment. The Noffs Foundation was founded in 1970 by the great Australian humanitarian Reverend Ted Noffs to provide essential services for young people who experience drug and alcohol problems and related trauma, and their families. Noffs has pioneered new community outreach initiatives, including the opening of free urban education facilities to support young people who are homeless, using drugs, involved with crime or simply need someone to talk to. Other services include rehabilitation, individual and group counselling, education, training and group outdoor activities. The Noffs foundation supports thousands of people every year.

[2] Council’s Education Options Survey conducted in 2010


27 Sep

Four trends shaping the PR agency of the future

by launch-admin Sep 27, 2013 0 Uncategorized

Four trends shaping the PR agency of the future

11 September, 2013 Fleur Brown

Description: our trends shaping the PR agency of the future

For an industry that excels in repositioning, our PR industry looks spookily similar to what it did 10 years ago.

Brands are still mostly buying traditional publicity campaigns from PR agencies (albeit with more online media titles).

In many ways the GFC averted an identity crisis for the PR industry. Despite watershed changes to the mediascape, clients have preferred ‘safe,’ devil-you-know campaigns and services with tangible results and hardcore reporting.

In this environment innovative PR offerings like social campaigns are treated as a mere value-add – linked to delivering short-term marketing metrics rather than exploring broader brand building outcomes.

The good news is PR agencies didn’t over-invest in innovation during a time when clients weren’t prepared to pay for it. The bad news is that other players in the communications sector did and are now poised to reap the rewards.

Entire industry sectors have sprung up around digital communication offerings and social media channels are working directly with brands. Advertising and creative agencies are also starting to focus more attention on influence and below-the-line dollars. 

What unique territory can PR occupy in this evolving communications world? And will the market pay for it?

Here are four factors I believe will help shape the future success for PR:

1. PR people get news value – and news continues to drive the consumption of a significant percentage of online content. Whether former journalists, frustrated journalists, or pros who’ve had the concept of what makes news beaten into them by unresponsive media, PR people understand the subtleties of the news environment and the best of them have a strong instinct for news values and news creation.

The appetite for news will never disappear – whatever physical form it takes. And there will always be a place for news brokers – where news agendas can be balanced against the views and interests of corporates, causes and individuals.

PR pros of the future will continue to be content creators in earned media environments, where the story value takes central place in any negotiation.

2. PR provides the best integrated offering with social media – PR and social media dwell comfortably together. The drivers are similar and both are focused around news, information and entertainment with results best gained via an ‘earned’ position rather than a paid one. When these two disciplines work together and work strategically, the results are significantly amplified. Where marketing and broader corporate agendas can often be at odds, effective PR people know how to drive promotion and manage company reputation and issues seamlessly as part of the same campaign.

3. We can dwell in ambiguity: The world of PR is, by nature, a murky one, which can involve endless pivoting and repositioning. Historically, PR people have been dismissed as superficial or masters of spin. In today’s frenetic decision making environment, where there are more questions than answers, providing an agile communication service that can respond to corporate issues in real-time is a highly prized skill. 

4. … and still keep our feet on the ground: The inability to pin down a PR brief or contain PR activities to one box kept it free of reporting scrutiny for decades. 

However, the GFC and the advent of social media has created an environment where PR in all its forms is now subject to robust KPI reporting – with a much clearer contribution to marketing and company objectives. 

As a result, clients now get the best of both worlds – a flexible communication service with measurable outcomes against KPIs.

The Australian PR industry is mostly represented by independent or boutique PR operators – with a handful of bigger Australian brands and multinationals. Some are claiming that the future of PR is to align with or sell out to bigger advertising or creative agency brands, creating a one-stop-shop. However, whilst this may be a fiscally smart move, PR is a specialist field that has much to gain from the emerging communications environment.

We should never compromise or dilute our strengths.

The answer is not to blend in, but to stand firm in our areas of specialisation. The market needs that offering.

Fleur Brown is CEO of Launch Group.

To read more about the state of PR, see the current issue of B&T magazine, out this week, which includes a main feature dedicated to the sector. 

See the B&T article here


25 Sep

Zenogen clinches $435,000 in angel funding, appoints new chairman

by launch-admin Sep 25, 2013 0 Uncategorized


Media Release           


Zenogen clinches $435,000 in angel funding, appoints new chairman


Clean-tech start-up rethinks hydrogen production with backing from Sydney Angels and private investors


24 September 2013: Australian clean-tech start-up Zenogen has announced an additional $330,000 in funding from angel investment group Sydney Angels, increasing the company’s total investment capital from this round to $435,000. The new investment will be used to help Zenogen introduce their revolutionary technology to both local and international markets.


Zenogen has pioneered a potentially industry-changing technology that aims to disrupt the world’s energy markets by making zero-emissions hydrogen production economically viable. As an alternative to the expensive precious metals that are currently used and consumed during gas production processes, Zenogen has developed an electrocatalyst to improve the efficiency of hydrogen and other gas production.


The new investors include Sydney Angels members Donald Bunnell (Co-Founder of Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. and former Asia Business Development Vice President for BHP Billiton’s aluminium group), Adrian Bunter (Executive Director at Venture Advisory) and Andrew Stead (Director, New Ventures at NICTA). The Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund also contributed funds.


They join existing investor Ignition Labs, Australia’s first clean technology accelerator. Ignition Labs is run by ATP Innovations, whose four parent companies are the University of Sydney, Australian National University, University of Technology Sydney and the University of New South Wales.


Investor Donald Bunnell said that Zenogen’s new carbon-based technology stands to save electrolysis-based hydrogen producers billions of dollars lost each year through much greater energy efficiency and lower material costs.


“Zenogen is definitely an industry changer – both in the chlorine space and in the hydrogen space. You’re talking about significantly cheaper materials and greater efficiencies. I think Zenogen can develop win-win partnerships that will build value for both the company and its partners; making Zenogen a very valuable company,” he said.


Mr Bunnell has a thorough understanding of the energy industry and a proven record in helping start-ups to achieve scale and success. He will guide Zenogen through the company’s expansion plans and will also help provide access to further capital funds. In addition to the investment, Mr Bunnell has also been appointed as a Director and Chairman of Zenogen.

Zenogen Founder and CEO Daniel Zafir said that working with Sydney Angels allows start-ups to find more than just early stage funding, which is vital for building a platform for growth.


There are people who come to you with just money, and that’s the most that they can give you. It doesn’t really get your business any further. It’s great to have an investor like Donald on board, with a depth of understanding in the clean-tech space and the ability to raise capital, he said.


Sydney Angels Committee Member Richard Dale, said that Zenogen’s success in securing angel funding shows that Australian investors continue to be interested in ideas that reach beyond web- and app-based technology.


“Zenogen had an overwhelming response from Sydney Angels members, and the fact that so many investors wanted to back a clean-tech start-up is a great sign for Australian entrepreneurs. Zenogen combines innovative technology with a strong management team, and this investment demonstrates the appetite for new and different types of industry disrupting innovation.” 





About Zenogen: Zenogen is a clean-tech start-up company that has developed graphite electrodes for water electrolysis: the only commercially viable zero-emissions method of producing industrial gases such as hydrogen. Until now, this process has required prohibitively expensive metal catalysts, such as Platinum, in order to attain a production efficiency that is economically viable. Zenogen has a proprietary manufacturing method for graphite that allows it to replace these expensive catalysts at a fraction of the cost whilst simultaneously improving electrical efficiency, with significant savings in energy consumption.

Zenogen’s graphite electrodes have been demonstrated as a fully functional proof of concept and the technology is now ready for implementation in small-scale industrial electrolysis applications.­­


About Sydney Angels: Sydney Angels is an angel group whose members invest in innovative early-stage companies with high growth potential. Sydney Angels provides its members with quality deal flow, a collaborative investment process, and an opportunity to support entrepreneurs and the early-stage ecosystem. Sydney Angels offers entrepreneurs an efficient path to capital, expertise and experience from its members, who are backed by the $10 million Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund


Media Contacts

Ashford Pritchard ashford@launchgroup.com.au 02 9492 1040 or 0411 020 680

Carmen Cita carmen@launchgroup.com.au 02 9492 1004 or 0432 088 784

5 Sep

Brand advocacy experts Social Soup and Pollinate launch umbrella brand: The Influence Group

by launch-admin Sep 5, 2013 0 Uncategorized


Brand advocacy experts Social Soup and Pollinate launch

umbrella brand: The Influence Group

·      Andrew Handosa appointed Group Business Director

·      Hosting exclusive breakfast with Geno Church – Word-of-Mouth expert

Thursday, 5 September, 2013: Global word-of-mouth agency Social Soup and innovative research house Pollinate today announced a further alignment of their businesses under a new umbrella brand, The Influence Group. Both companies will retain their existing brands and services, with The Influence Group providing an integrated consultancy exclusively focussed on increasing knowledge and the application of influence.

As well as providing thought leadership and expertise, The Influence Group will offer brands an end-to-end solution to support the product cycle from idea to launch, with services including research, word-of-mouth and brand advocacy. The group draws on insights from a community of more than 140,000 influential consumers in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

The group is co-chaired by Pollinate Founder Howard Parry-Husbands and Social Soup Founder Sharyn Smith. Andrew Handosa has been appointed Group Business Director for the group and will be responsible for growth and operation of the brand.

Andrew joins The Influence Group from London-based brand and digital consultancy, Corporate Edge, where he was the Lead Creative Strategist. He brings valuable experience from working in major client, vendor and agency roles creating solutions for iconic brands in the UK, European and Australasian markets. Andrew has developed and launched multi-million dollar product portfolios for ZTE and Optus Group, managed large-scale integrated marketing campaigns as well as the brand transformation of Telstra.

The Influence Group Director Howard Parry-Husbands said the group is dedicated to going beyond brand awareness to drive behaviour change and brand advocacy both on and offline.

“Influence is the most powerful way to change behaviour. With more than ten year’s experience in influence driven co-creation and hundreds of successful advocacy campaigns across three continents, we have proven that influence is a fundamentally better way to advertise ” he said.

“Influence generates lasting behavioural change and provides a proven return on investment because it empowers people as the trusted media channel is peer groups. The influence model engages consumers to help shape, decide, create and then share the future of brands.”

To celebrate the launch of The Influence Group, the company will be hosting an exclusive industry breakfast with world-renowned word of mouth expert and co-author of Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements Geno Church on October 23rd in Sydney.

Church’s talk, The Passion Conversation: Inspiring Your Staff and Supporters to Love Your Brand, will weave the latest academic and marketing research with practical, real world case stories to demonstrate how to spark and sustain word of mouth marketing, build a thriving community, drive meaningful conversations and ultimately impact the financial success of a business.

Spaces for the breakfast are limited, for more details or to register interest visit: http://theinfluencegroup.co/

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For more information contact:

Sarah Tsiros


02 9492 1034 / 0466 805 364

About the Influence Group: Founded in more than a decade’s expertise into what influences Australian consumers, The Influence Group houses the collective wisdom of insights agency Pollinate and leading advocacy and WOM agency Social Soup. The Influence Group provides an entire suite of influence solutions, from idea to innovation, communication through to action. The group offers research, knowledge and expert advice on influence, drawing on a community of over 140,000 of Australia’s, New Zealand’s and now the UK’s most influential consumers. They have completed over 500 successful advocacy campaigns across three countries and have established partnerships with leading academics and international experts. http://theinfluencegroup.co/

About Social Soup: Founded in 2006, Social Soup is Australia’s leading influence agency. Born out of insights that personal recommendations are more trusted than traditional advertising, Social Soup was the first Australian agency to harness the power of word-of-mouth and influence as a marketing channel. Social Soup specialises in connecting brands with influential consumers, working with a community of more than 140,000 influential consumers who try out products, help shape them, and then share their experiences with their social networks. Social Soup has worked with companies in every major marketing category. Clients have included the Commonwealth Bank, Panasonic, Arnott’s, Coca-Cola Amatil, Kimberly-Clark, Nestle, Kelloggs, Unilever, LOreal, CUB, Pernod Ricard, Heart Foundation, the Australian Red Cross and Reckitt Benckiser. Soup is a 2011 BRW Fast Starter; winner of the Telstra Business Awards People’s Choice NSW; and winner of the best ‘Business to Consumer’ campaign at the 2011 Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Awards for its work with the Commonwealth Bank.http://thesoup.com.au/

About Pollinate: Pollinate is Australia’s leading strategic research agency. Founded in 2004, Pollinate pioneered co-creation with influential consumers in Australia to develop innovative ideas, products and campaign concepts for brands. Pollinate understands how messages travel through a community, from the media, to advertising and word-of-mouth. The use of influential consumers uniquely positions Pollinate to develop paradigm-shifting innovations for brands, amplifying the effectiveness of media and communications. http://www.pollinate.com.au/

4 Sep

Audi and SKY NEWS drive 2013 election coverage

by launch-admin Sep 4, 2013 0 Uncategorized


Audi and SKY NEWS drive 2013 election coverage


Wednesday, 3 September, 2013: Multi Channel Network (MCN) today announced Audi as the exclusive SKY NEWS broadcast and digital partner for the channel’s 2013 election coverage this Saturday, 7 September.

The partnership sees Audi sponsor SKY NEWS award winning political team on-air from 5.30am. From 4pm, Political Editor David Speers will anchor SKY NEWS coverage joined by a panel of special guests. The partnership also extends to SKY NEWS Election 2013’s online properties as well as BigPond’s online election news coverage.

Saturday evening’s sponsorship is part of Audi’s wider election based campaign with the news channel, which has seen the luxury German car manufacturer also sponsor election related programs The Nation and Showdown in the lead up to the big night.

MCN Director of Strategic Integration, Elizabeth Minogue, said: “On September 7, the nation will be looking for extensive political reporting and in-depth analysis around the election. Audi’s partnership with SKY NEWS’ across broadcast, tablet, mobile and online means Australians can receive the most up to date and comprehensive election coverage from the country’s leading political correspondents on multiple screens,” she said.

The campaign aims to increase general awareness of Audi as the most progressive and forward-thinking motor brand in Australia.

Audi’s General Manager, Marketing, Kevin Goult, said the decision to support the election coverage on SKY NEWS was an important one for the brand, as it would see Audi strategically align with a leading news platform that had a clear focus on leadership around the country.

“SKY NEWS is a leader in the news space during this important time, and as a premium car manufacturer, we are interested in supporting the voice of experts and progressive thinkers in the Australian landscape. This partnership is an ideal brand fit, and an important link to technological leadership in this country,” Mr Goult said.

Audi media agency representative, Mediacom Group Director, James Sneddon, said: “Audi is a pioneer within the industry globally, designing vehicles that are innovative and prestigious. The SKY NEWS Election partnership is the ideal opportunity for Audi to demonstrate its forward-thinking position in the Australian marketplace as a premium brand.”

“Similarly to the SKY NEWS brand, Audi is a technology leader. The company is focussed on delivering the best-possible products and services to consumers, and this includes supporting the delivery of key information to business leaders throughout the federal election,” he said.

TVCs incorporated in the campaign promotes Audi’s leading technology and progressive design.

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Further information:

Sarah Tsiros

(02) 9492 1034 / 0466 805 364


About Multi Channel Network (MCN): Established in 1997, MCN is a joint venture between FOXTEL and FOX SPORTS. MCN is responsible for the advertising interests of 55 national STV channel brands, 72 websites, 61 mobile sites, 40 apps and 3 IPTV services. In addition, MCN is the only media company to offer the complete range of advanced television advertising solutions via the remote control. MCN delivers optimum campaign results for clients by combining high value audiences with an unmatched choice of premium content. MCN specialises in creative solutions, which bring life to ideas and deliver clients a better advertising experience. In addition to being the third largest television network in Australia by commercial audience, MCN has Australia’s largest combined online and mobile network in Australia with a monthly online reach of 8.1m unique audiences and a monthly mobile audience of 4.7m. For more information: www.MCN.com.au