Winning campaigns. Making organisations stronger. Delivering change since 1997. We are a full service agency that brings together research, strategy, media, digital, advertising and production. We see the world the way you do and we want to make a difference.

Our Approach

We know who we will work for and who we won’t. We’re informed and our creativity delivers outcomes. Our researched-based communications strategy will shift public opinion, influence government policy and make you stronger along the way.


We deliver media and creative that doesn’t just look smart. Our research methodology allows us to understand how audiences relate to your issues, frame debates and test solutions.


We will give you a clear path to success. Our strategy will help you articulate your objectives and then identify the appropriate tools to achieve them.


We can execute your communications strategy across all platforms. Our team are experts in media relations, advertising, digital production and online engagement.


We will review and improve your strategy. Your campaign data will help refine creative and messages.

Our Services / Research

Our Services / Research


Many of our clients come to us because they want to create change, but they don’t always know how to approach or even define it.

Essential Research develops programs that provide insight rather than just data to inform your communications strategy.

We deploy focus groups, benchmark polls, key informant interviews and the latest online research tools to understand issues and audiences, frame debates and test our solutions.

Our communication audits take an in-depth view into an organisation to inform recommendations that will help you meet long-term objectives and drive efficiency.

Contact us to discuss our research services

Our Services / Communications

Our Services / Communications


Essential provides strategic communications support to Australia’s leading progressive voices.

Our expertise includes media relations, issues and crisis management, advocacy support and stakeholder engagement.

Essential consultants are also experts in our client’s sectors. We understand your place in the broader political and market landscape.

We won’t steer you to a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. We recommend a mix of tools to maximise opportunities and meet your objectives within budget.

Contact us to discuss our communication services

Our Services / Digital

Our Services / Digital


Essential is at the forefront social and online campaigning, offering a full suite of digital services.

We are leaders in running integrated campaigns that translate communication strategy onto online platforms.

A key ingredient to our success is our ability to maximise the impact of key moments and react to the political, social and traditional media landscape.

We keep watch on emerging platforms, changes in technology, trends and best practice.

Contact us to discuss our digital services

Our Services / Production

Our Services / Production


Essential is an experienced one-stop shop for branding, web design, video and advertising production.

From concept development to rollout, our production team will ensure your visual identity and online presence articulates your values and purpose to target audiences in line with your communications strategy.

Contact us to discuss our production services

Our Work

Essential has been the strategic force behind some of the most influential campaigns in Australia.

We’re a values driven agency. We care about the work we do and the clients we work with.


Essential has been the strategic force behind some of the most influential campaigns in Australia

With offices in Melbourne and Sydney, our highly skilled team of consultants provides a one-stop shop for research, communications, digital and production services.

We’re a values driven agency. We care about the work we do and the clients we work with.

Some of our clients include the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, National Disability Services, the Luke Batty Foundation, Fight for the Reef and Getup!.

Our edge? Research is at the heart of our proven methodology.

Not only does our resident research team, Essential Research, deliver hundreds of polls and focus groups every year – but they’re responsible for the market leader The Essential Report which charts the national mood, drives public and media debate on key issues every week.

We use these and other insights gathered through extensive research to develop a deep understanding of issues facing our clients in Australia and New Zealand – and deliver winning campaigns.

Our People

Tony Douglas

Executive Director

Tony Douglas founded Essential in 1997, with over 25 years’ experience on the frontline of the biggest public affairs communications campaigns in Australia.

Tony’s experience includes driving research & strategy behind the ACTU’s successful “Your Rights at Work” campaign. Tony provides high-level strategic communications advice to Governments, including key campaigns in South Australia that have helped underpin that state’s defence manufacturing industry.

Peter Lewis

Executive Director

Peter has been a Director of Essential since 1999, and has over 20 years’ experience in public affairs and media.

He has driven groundbreaking projects such as the successful Every Australian Counts campaign to gain bipartisan support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Peter provides regular public and media commentary on key issues, especially around the insights from our exclusive Essential Report.

Peter Stahel

Associate Director

Peter leads our national team of communications consultants. Before joining Essential, Peter was a senior political adviser and press secretary in roles at a state and federal level. He is a communications and government relations practitioner with expertise across a broad range of issues including environment, social services, industrial relations and human rights.

With his substantial experience in campaign strategy and a background in politics, Peter has a unique understanding of the processes and pressure points that can influence decision makers.

Rebecca Huntley

Research Director

Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends. For nearly nine years, Rebecca was at the global research firm Ipsos. From 2006 until 2015, she was the Director of the Mind & Mood Report, Australia’s longest-running social trends report.

She is the author of numerous books including ‘Still Lucky: why you should be optimistic about Australia and Australians’. She has worked with a wide variety of clients from banks and FMCG companies to NGOs, charities, unions and political parties.

Kim Harlow

Head of Digital and Production

Kim leads the digital and production team at Essential and is a digital communications specialist.

She’s passionate about developing evidence-based strategies and how digital technology can be used to implement them. Kim also has extensive experience in advertising, website development, user experience and supporter engagement to drive successful marketing campaigns. She is a firm believer in the power of narratives and networks to create impact.

Luke Brown

Associate Director

Luke leads our energy transition practice.

His ability to help clients achieve their media, stakeholder, government policy and other public affairs objectives comes from his unique blend of corporate, government, start-up and legal experience.

Luke led regulatory and stakeholder affairs at Momentum Energy, the retail brand of Australia’s largest clean energy producer Hydro Tasmania, served on the board of the Energy Retailers Association of Australia, was a senior communications manager within the Victorian Government, and co-founded leading car-sharing firm Flexicar.



T. 02 8280 9100

Level 11, 338 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000


T. 03 9929 9999

15-31 Pelham St
Carlton VIC 3053

Back to top