"Public relations is essentially about developing and maintaining structured communications with stakeholders important to a business or organisation's operational and financial performance so they continue to support the business in their own ways."
Developing a world-scale processing capacity
Success in business is dependent on anticipating and responding to the local, regional and global environment to ensure cost competitiveness. Today Heinz Wattie's operates one of New Zealand's few world-scale processing sites.
Establishing such a centre was proceeded by a significant number of closures and relocations, impacting on some of New Zealand's most vulnerable regions in terms of high unemployment and low skill level.
When tough decisions had to be made the priority was to ensure that all communications were primarily focused for "local" rather than national audiences. The messages to staff were: no fault; beyond their control; the company will provide all the assistance required; and there are jobs in other parts of Heinz Wattie's for those who want them.
Aside from communicating with staff, the next priorities were: the community and business leaders, the local newspaper editors, iwi and the local MPs.
As a result, the company was regarded as having "done it right" by the affected staff and their local communities.
A new way for the meat industry
Until taken over by the Cooperative PPCS Ltd, publicly-listed Richmond Limited operated as New Zealand's largest and most diversified export meat marketer and processor. We developed and implemented the communications programme that underpinned Richmond's journey from regional operator to the country's largest meat business.
The implementation of innovative food-related brand strategy and the rationalisation of processing assets were key focuses of this transition for all major stakeholders, including shareholders, staff and farmer suppliers and customers.
Direct communication to all stakeholders supported a media strategy that resulted in unique differentiation for Richmond as pursuing a new vision as one of New Zealand's largest exporters.
Tegel is one of New Zealand's most trusted FMCG brands, so managing the products, welfare and environmental issues particular to a large, integrated marketing, processing and farming operation is critical.
For almost 15 years we have developed and implemented communication programmes required addressing issues arising in such large business, while doing so in a way which continues to build consumer's trust.
Kapiti Fine Foods
In 2004 - 2005 Kapiti Fine Foods experienced difficulties in attracting new staff to its expanding business.
To help address this, a corporate and product public relations programme was implemented to highlight the company's scope and innovation. This meant leveraging initiatives and events such as top performances at cheese and ice cream awards, the implementation of a new and innovative milk "bottle", and the establishment of a revolutionary new ice cream plant.
As well as media releases targeted at the trade and general media, plant visits were organised for journalists.
Within six months, the company saw a huge increase in applications for positions it sought to fill.
In 2006 Kapiti Fine Foods was acquired by Fonterra, in a deal which earned its owner a significant premium.