Category Archives: Client

Bird brainstorming – an internship with a difference


As 2017 draws to a close, we thought we’d share this story of collaboration … and birds … to end the year!

the entire team

“The Nest”: Courtesy of Ross: L-R: Stacey Maden, Vanessa Ambler, Liz Thompson, Jack Walden, Yulia Zaytseva, Dominique Queivana, Charlie Osborne, Mavis Boamah

In October 2017, BirdLife Australia and the c word collaborated with Deakin University to deliver a unique internship opportunity for Deakin PR and communication students. The students worked alongside staff from both organisations in a ‘Communications Command Centre’ at Deakin Downtown to develop and deliver a comprehensive national communications campaign for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, one of Australia’s largest citizen scientist projects.

Chief of Staff Liz Thompson shares highlights from the program as Deakin University students discovered their inner twitchers.

Senior Lecturer Ross Monaghan’s Twitter channel, @TheMediaPod has generated dynamic and interesting Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for Deakin students. Earlier this year, Jack Walden, of the c word agency, was so impressed by the student projects he had seen via @TheMediaPod, that he approached Ross with an internship proposal. This ultimately brought Deakin University, BirdLife Australia, the c word agency and six Deakin students together for an intensive two week internship collaboration.

The internship brief was to create a team of communications students to coordinate the promotion of BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count. The students were allocated roles according to areas of interest – media and social media co-ordinators, content creators, and a chief of staff – to create the Aussie Backyard Bird Count Communications Team. This team worked under the guidance of Stacey Maden, BirdLife Australia’s Communications and Events Coordinator, and Jack Walden, CEO of the c word.

Nesters R Monaghan

During the two weeks, students developed short movie-clips, blog and social media posts and popular Instagram polls that generated lively engagement with followers. The students also developed and circulated partner program collateral that successfully promoted engagement with universities, schools and libraries. Media releases were prepared and circulated to media outlets which generated a schedule of interviews that the students also coordinated. One of the students attended the filming of an interview for ABC News Breakfast with BirdLife Australia talent at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

ABC botanic gardens jack 3

The work-ready learning opportunities extended beyond the implementation of the communications campaign. They included challenges such as administrative and information management procedures, daily schedules, and even the creation of the actual workspace. Given that the team included students from four different continents, a large map of Australia was the first of many documents that adorned the walls of the “Communications Command Centre” AKA, “The Nest” at Deakin Downtown.


Ross negotiated to use the space at Deakin Downtown, which he says is a fabulous resource for industry-based projects such as this.

bird watching Julia

The benefits for students are numerous and well known, and WIL also keeps staff up to date with industry needs.  Ross said: “I encourage other staff to get involved in these projects for first-hand knowledge of what industry is looking for with graduates. The bonus is that industry gets to see the great work that our students are doing. There is no better PR for Deakin.”

nesters at lunch - julia

Jack Walden also reflected upon the success of this internship from an industry perspective: “The collaboration between BirdLife Australia, the c word communications agency and Deakin University not only delivered a great learning opportunity for a group of talented communications students, it also provided a significant boost in coverage for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count via traditional media and social media. Two million birds counted – what a great result”.

Cute owls attract crowds


img_1646Next week’s c-word is counting as we take part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, helping our client BirdLife Australia count 1.5 million birds in 7 days.

On Wednesday, we helped BirdLife Australia bring a pop-up backyard, complete with a very cute owl, to Sydney’s urban backyard, Martin Place. Serena the owl certainly knew how to draw a crowd.

BirdLife Australia is calling on all Australians to head into their favourite outdoor spaces and join the count from Monday 17 October.

We’re calling on all c-words to embrace their inner #BirdNerd and join the count … come on it’s a c-word!

Whether you count in your own backyard, local park or botanic gardens, in a group, with a friend or by yourself, everyone who joins the count will help BirdLife Australia reach its target of counting 1.5 million birds in 7 days. It’s fun, but it has a bigger purpose: it provides a picture of how Australian birds are faring across the country.

No matter where you are, there are birds all around you. It doesn’t matter if you live in the suburbs, in the city, by the sea or in the country; our Australian birds live in all different types of habitats. Sometimes you just need to look up!

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count really is for everyone, and anyone can take part anywhere in Australia.

Download the FREE app or head to the website to get started and become a part of this huge citizen science event.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Diana Gibson in the #CommsCorner


It’s almost time for National Bird Week and the Aussie Backyard Bird Count which begins Monday 17 October. With birds on the mind, we thought we’d revisit our #CommsCorner with our client Diana Gibson.

From e-waste to fair-trade to Australian birdlife, Diana Gibson has held a range of marketing and communication roles across a diverse range of industries. We work closely with Diana in her role as Head of Membership Development and Communications at BirdLife Australia (four National Bird Week campaigns to date!) and this week she joins us in the #CommsCorner.

My elevator statement?

If you think it can work, step out of your comfort zone and give it a go….if it doesn’t, the sun will still rise tomorrow and you can try again with that learning behind you.

A Typical Day?

My day starts with checking in with team members to see how they are travelling, checking in on media exposure and bird and conservation stories of the day, and tracking how our supporter and new member campaigns are going. Then it gets diverse…it might be running a consultation on strategic directions for BirdLife Australia’s two scholarly journals, finalising a partnership with the likes of Aurora Expeditions and arranging for a project staffer to accompany their passengers on an Antarctic adventure, working with our scientists to select icon birds to headline a campaign, talking priorities with a volunteer branch committee member.. and on the odd occasion I might even get out to a BirdLife Australia observatory or project, spot some local birds (with lots of help…I’m no expert!!) and see firsthand  what is so important about bird conservation.

Which tools can’t you live without?

My tablet (funny how I could live without one a couple of years back!) … and the phone – so much better to talk than email. Oh, and Raisers Edge, our Supporter Relationship Management system!

What are the biggest challenges in your  role?

The diversity of audiences BirdLife Australia needs to reach… from the general backyard bird lover to the conservation advocate , the professional / academic whose life-work is birds and conservation and of course, the twitcher, or bird-enthusiast. And of course making the not-for-profit dollar work really hard for bird conservation.

Best Campaign you’ve ever worked on?

I have to say BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count, of course! Nearly 50,000 participants and we’re only two years into this annual event! Its been a big shift for BirdLife Australia to focus on reaching the average punter with no or little experience of birds and get them active, discovering what’s in their own backyards! Mark it in your diary now for October 2016.

And can I have another ‘best’? It goes back about 15 years now – Oxfam International’s Make Trade Fair campaign and the fun of being part of planning a launch in Trafalgar Square in London, with Chris Martin on stage! All for a very serious issue – the market disadvantages faced by many workers and producers around the world.

What has been the biggest change to communications since beginning my career? 

The Digital Age! Not only do you need to understand enough about the technology to know what is possible, it’s the accompanying shift from ‘push’ communications to ‘conversation’ that is still challenging people.

If you had to cut/keep something in your communications budget what would it be?

The dream of having sufficient funds to invest in the ‘Holy Grail’ – a fully integrated, dynamic  supporter engagement /intelligence system. Raisers Edge is great –but  there is still so much further we could go.

Fully integrated engagement/intelligence systems are out of reach of the small NFP, but central  to really getting the best out of relations with supporters, donors, volunteers, campaigners.

What quality do I look for in communications team members?

Can do, will try, will persevere and will take the initiative. And a great ‘stakeholder’ influencer!

Centenary a c-word for celebration: 2108


img_4278Picture this.

It’s 2108. No that’s not a typo.

Stanford University’s century long study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) is nearing completion (with the help of AI of course), Japan’s proposed Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid is months from reaching its pointy end, and the c word is celebrating a centenary of coffee, communication and champagne .

For individuals, their 100th birthday is a major milestone. An excuse for cake and a reason to watch the letter box, in the Commonwealth realms at least, for a congratulatory letter from the Queen.

For organisations, a centenary is a celebration of the characters who have paved the way for the next 100 years and a chance to remember the stories which have filled the halls of corporate headquarters and company parties for decades past.

While we may be a few years off our centenary (it’s never too early to begin planning), we have been lucky enough to be working with Victoria University in 2016 to help them celebrate their centenary of opportunity.

img_4279Over the past century VU has built a strong reputation throughout Australia and the world as the university of opportunity and it all stems from its founder Arch Hoadley, a scout, Antarctic explorer and a true leader.

As we countdown to our centenary, we are looking forward to working with many Australian and international companies who will celebrate their centenaries in the years between now and 2108.

In the meantime, here are some centenary celebrations to take note of. Coca Cola celebrated the centenary of its iconic packaging, patented in late 1915. To celebrate, the company created a year long marketing campaign, including new ads, a music anthem and social media campaigns to draw the audience in.

Coca-Cola’s Chief Marketing Officer said: “The campaign, which will be executed in over 130 countries, is our invitation to consumers around the world to share in the specialness of an ice-cold Coca-Cola.”

Coke itself is of course much older than its uniformed packaging, but the thing that makes it recognisable (other than the taste) is definitely worth a mention.

In 2011, IBM marked its 100 years with a celebration listing their great achievements and looking towards the future. Check out the centenary video from IBM here:

The video is beautifully executed and it works as a great IBM marketing tool.

100 years is a significant achievement for any company, but for one in the constantly morphing industry that is technology, it is particularly notable. IBM is a company that has moved with the times, always innovative and making a difference both to the tech sector but also to society.

When Universal Studios ticked over to 100 years, it celebrated through “100 years of Moments and Memories” and a video highlighting its most iconic films.

C = Chevrolet marked its centenary in 2011. Here’s  a great article from The Guardian about how the Chevrolet family celebrated this epic event.

Our very own c = Capital City; Canberra had its centenary in 2013. And no one could forget the Centenary of the ANZAC last year with some great memorial celebrations paying homage to the ANZACs. Reminding Australians to remember WWI.

The list goes on of companies hitting the 100 mark this decade. The campaigns behind these milestones are important, and remind people of the association they have with the brand.

We’re marking our 8th anniversary this year – a while to go until a letter from the Queen but still worth celebrating.

the c word crew (celebrating a centenary of c-words in 2108)

Australian science shines during 18th National Science Week


Last week Australia celebrated its 18th National Science Week, an annual celebration of science and technology with thousands of individuals – from students to scientists and chefs to musicians – taking part in more than 1000 science events across the nation.

As the particles settle on another stellar week putting science in the spotlight, we thought we’d celebrate the vital role communication plays in science helping the public receive and understand complex information.

At the c word we get the opportunity to work with a range of scientific organisations including our client veski who bring scientists and researchers to Australia, our friends at the Australian Synchrotron who shine brightly, and our most recent addition to the c word family, the Centre for Personalised Immunology.

Like any organisation, scientific organisations need to share stories of their innovative work with the public.

Communicators in these organisations help scientists share the results of their research with everyday citizens – demonstrating the importance of innovation and discovery.

A few weeks ago in our #CommsCorner we spoke to Gretta Pecl a marine biologist and science communicator. She said that the “lack of scientific knowledge isn’t our biggest barrier to making progress and taking action – it’s effectively communicating the results we do have to people, communities and governments at various levels”.

The team behind National Science Week have done a great job engaging the public with a range of interactive events, speeches and panels encouraging a large audience to have a look into the world of science.

It’s integral to have an informed public, and to keep them engaged in the science and technology issues that inevitably affect us all.

On that note, we’ll leave you with Alan Alda. Alan came to Australia for the inaugural World Science Festival in Brisbane last year, and announced a partnership with the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU.

Reflections on #SVF16


With the Shared Value Leadership Summit just around the corner (watch out NYC), we thought we’d reflect on the 2016 Shared Value Forum held here in Australia in April. This year, more than 170 leaders from business, government and the social sector came together with #SVF16 partners NAB, IAG, DFAT and AFR BOSS to re-imagine how businesses can partner for change. Hosted by our client the Shared Value Project, the event attracted an exciting line up of local and international speakers, case studies and interactive sessions.

Put simply, shared value is a way to reimagine social problems as business opportunities.

Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision and one of the great speakers on the day said: “I think shared value gives us the best hope…the great challenges facing us really need shared value”.

Our key takeaway from the day was the high level of confidence within the Australian business community in shared value as a framework and a strategy.

Counting crows and citizen science

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Last October we helped launch the #AussieBirdCount in Sydney, this October we’ll be at Fed Square (another iconic backyard)

Excuse the ornithologically inspired blog post but we’re actually counting crows, not listening to the band.

We’re counting down to national Bird Week, which runs from 19 to 25 October, and we’ve become a little obsessed with the colourful stories of Aussie birds, and the people who share their backyards with them.

This is the fourth year the c word has been part of the PR team for this fantastic annual event, and every year it keeps getting better. We are excited to again be helping BirdLife Australia deliver the Aussie Backyard Bird Count – a citizen science project and Australia’s largest bird survey.

With less than a month until people head into their backyards, the countdown is on for the largest annual event on the BirdLife Australia’s calendar, and our crew is working hard to help deliver the best national Bird Week yet.

Do you have a story about Aussie birds to share?

We’ve been working closely with our contacts in the media with a passion for Aussie birds, as well as Aussie twitchers and ornithological specialists, to get ready for the event.

These conversations have already led us down some very interesting garden paths. We’ve chatted with a couple who have been in a bird count off for fifteen years (chasing a personal 700 species record), a group of bird watchers who enjoy craft beer while participating in a 24 hour twitch, and a woman who “felt like she was partly deaf before learning to understand the call of Aussie birds”.

The bird counting app is back and it’s even easier for Australians to get involved in the art of bird watching. Anyone can be a twitcher – from professionals such as Sean Dooley Editor of Birdlife Magazine to children playing in their backyards. The app is fun, user-friendly and creates an interactive experience.

Have you got 20 minutes? Have you got a smart phone? Then you can bird watch too. Get involved in the bird survey, download the app and get counting. We want to hear from all types of people, from all areas. This citizen science project will involve professionals from all over Australia along with non-professionals to collect and analyse the data, adding to BirdLife’s already large bank of knowledge.

Our aim is to help BirdLife Australia count 1 million birds in 7 days.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Community corporate collaboration critical: survey of ASX100 reveals


the c word has always believed: companies are at their best when they have a competitive-edge, creative-thinkers,  community collaborations and a focus on making a positive impact on society. That’s how we’ve always run our business, and that’s how our clients also operate.

Shared value, a term officially coined in the Harvard Business Review in 2011, has given business, government and non-profits a name to use.

Today our client The Shared Value Project released the results from the 2015 ‘State of Shared Value Survey’ with a panel discussion hosted by NAB along with media partner AFR Boss Magazine. You may have also seen details of the survey in your Friday morning copy of AFR’s Boss Magazine.

We’ve just left the panel discussion and we can report that while the global movement might be strong, Australian businesses are making shared value their own. It can be seen in companies across the nation from insurers to banks to FMCGs.

You may already recognise the concept within your own organisation. If so, you should join the community of Australian business leaders committed to advancing shared value in Australia.

The results of the survey, which are now available online or in the latest issue of AFR’s Boss Magazine, present an impressive picture of shared value in Australia. The survey targeted a combination of ASX100 companies and other organisations with demonstrable experience or interest in creating shared value.

And it’s not only Australians who are impressed by the results. International shared value trailblazer Mark Kramer has said he is “deeply impressed by the enthusiasm for shared value in Australia.”

The report also includes some great examples of shared value in Australia, and provides evidence of the challenges facing companies wishing to pursue a shared value strategy.

Whatever business you’re in, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the survey results and find out more about shared value.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew



Collection of colour, creativity and caches


The best (or maybe the worst) thing about the internet, is the ability to get lost or distracted when you’re doing research.

We’ve been glued to our screens this week researching for a number of clients as they prepare to refine their websites. We have come across so many sites, some awe inspiring, and some just plain hard to navigate, and have decided to share five with beautiful design to draw you into  the content and stimulate the imagination. Some inspiration if you’re on a similar journey.

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Cooking with manners

Martha’s website offers up recipes, cooking tips and home and lifestyle blogs. Martha’s flair for all things home and decoration is evident on this site. It is user friendly, incorporating mouth watering images and Martha’s infamous flair for decoration, design and perfection is evident.

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A lovely French designer

This amazing site for Parisian designer Mahedine Yahia is a real masterpiece. It acts as a resume and portfolio for Yahia, who most likely will never be out of work again given the site’s flawless design work and concerted focus on great imagery.

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Strong Russian coffee anyone?

Check out this beautiful page from coffee (yes finally a c word) roasters in St Petersburg. Fresh like roasted coffee, this site is definitely up to date and beautifully designed. They’ve combined beautiful colour graphics with parallax scrolling and different types of navigation. It really brings the website to life and keeps the reader intrigued.

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A little bird

We still think that Twitter’s simple design and user friendly experience is one of the best social media sites out there. Perhaps that’s why it’s becoming more and more popular.

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And finally, a crisp classic – simple, elegant, beautiful

It’s a question that will go unanswered: just how did Steve Jobs get something we use everyday to be so damn pretty? The Apple website and specifically the iTunes site are flawless. You could keep exploring the vivid colours and images for hours. (and just been us, we often head there for a little inspiration drooling). Macs are so beautiful that they’d probably be fixtures in movies and on TV even if product placement didn’t exist. They are artwork on their own. Their slim lines, the simple colours, the shape of that iconic apple on each piece. So of course the website is going to follow suit in its design.


Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Crabs, cocktails and clock-free time: Sri Lankan writing fellowship now open


“The gift of time is the greatest gift that a writer can receive” – Susan Meyers

Having uninterrupted time to put pen to paper is a writer’s ultimate dream. The Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship for 2015 offers just this: an opportunity for writers across Australia to apply for a writer in residency in an environment wholly dedicated to writing, with accommodation and full board provided, to develop an established writing or illustration project.

Located in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka for two to four weeks to purely work on a writing project, free from social obligations and financial pressures. This residency gives the artist or writer the time and brain space to refine their craft and clarify their expression through their writing or illustrations.

Applications are invited from emerging and established writers who have been engaged for a minimum of two years in the fields of journalism, creative writing (fiction and non-fiction, performing arts or poetry) or certain online platforms – like Bloggers.

The successful fellow will receive an economy return airfare from Melbourne to Colombo in Sri Lanka, a 30-day tourist visa, internal transfers, accommodation, full board (all meals) and AU$1,000 spending allowance.

This fellowship should be used to develop and prepare a new or existing work for publication. For emerging authors moving into the next stages of a writing career, this kind of progress is essential to help move forward and continue building a reputation in the writing world.

And the judges are…

Judges include Sri Lankan-based author Royston Ellis, Victorian writer Michelle Wright (2013 Templeberg Fellow), Canberra-based writer Lucy Nelson (2014 Templeberg Fellow), and the co-owners of Templeberg Villa Brent Carey and Christopher Shields.

Royston Ellis is the author of more than 60 published books (guides, novels, biographies and volumes of poetry). Originally from England, Royston was the British representative of the Beat Generation. Royston has been residing in Sri Lanka since 1980. His knowledge, and closeness with the Sri Lankan culture is obvious in his writing.

Michelle Wright lives in Victoria and writes short stories and flash fiction. Her stories have won The Age, Alan Marshall, Grace Marion Wilson, Orlando and Magic Oxygen Short Story Awards. Her collection of short stories, Fine, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript written while in Sri Lanka as the 2013 Templeberg Fellow.

Lucy Nelson is co-director of Canberra’s experimental writers festival. Her work is regularly published in the Canberra Times and street magazine The Big Issue. She has published and performed personal essays and short fiction and is currently working on her first manuscript.

Applications should be submitted online by Monday 6 July 2015.

From crabs to cocktails, Sri Lanka offers it all. It is the perfect destination for relaxation, brainstorming and the creative process to brew.