Our work gets results and we make organisations stronger along the way.

  • Council on the Ageing Australia

    Media & PR, Strategic Communications

    Essential has managed public relations for COTA Australia since 2015. As a peak consumer body for older Australians, COTA sought to establish itself as an influential voice in the sector and secure positive national policy outcomes for its members.

    Essential collaborates with COTA to provide timely and authoritative responses to emerging media stories to ensure COTA’s unique perspective is always at the centre of the media conversation. COTA is also a member of the National Aged Care Alliance, for which Essential has run the award-winning Age Well election campaign in the lead up to the last 3 Federal elections. In this way, we’ve helped establish COTA as the go-to voice for all issues affecting older Australians and won significant aged care reform for older Australians.

    COTA’s prominence in the national debate make it an exceptional advocate. Essential helps develop media strategy for election platforms, annual conferences and Royal Commissions, putting policies affecting older Australians in the spotlight. COTA has closely influenced government policies on consumer protection, aged care, superannuation, taxation and health. Through a strong public relations strategy, COTA secures legal protections for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.

  • Smart Start

    Goodstart Early Learning

    Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Union / Alliance

    In March 2017, the Australian Parliament passed changes to childcare funding, helping over one million Australian families with the cost of childcare.

    Over the last three years we’ve been working in partnership with Goodstart Early Learning through the Smart Start campaign to advocate for affordable, quality early learning for all Australia’s children. The Smart Start campaign launched with a small seed list of families, a digital hub with resources, videos with experts and training sessions with educators around the country.

    Fast-forward three years and the campaign is 26,021 supporters strong, with more than 10,000 supporters taking more than three direct actions to implement change.

    We’ve produced countless online actions targeting decision makers and infographics raising awareness of the value of early learning. We’ve engaged families on the ground in Goodstart centres and reached hundreds of thousands of Australians through digital advertising.

    The focus of 2017 was to make sure Australian families were aware of the proposed changes to the childcare rebate and benefit. It was also to ensure the Federal Government implemented the measures promised in the previous budget. We targeted senators and MPs and produced countless infographics and case study stories from the Smart Start community to keep supporters engaged.

    The outcome? A $2.5 billion childcare funding package to make early learning more affordable for Australian families.

  • Never Alone

    Luke Batty Foundation

    Media & PR, Crisis Management, Digital Design & Development, Not-for-profit

    Rosie Batty’s ‘Never Alone’ campaign was launched on Luke Batty’s 13th birthday in June 2015 and built an online community of over 80,000 people.

    Never Alone was driven through the eyes of victims. The campaign was a supporter community that stood with Rosie to support her in the community and the corridors of power through a variety of awareness raising activity and targeted interventions in the public debate. Integrating media, government relations and online strategy, the campaign took Rosie’s supporters on a journey of increasing engagement in support of her advocacy.

    Never Alone has helped deliver significant policy wins including a commitment from all states and territories for respectful relationships education and increased funding for frontline services.

    Most recently, Never Alone forced safety problems with the family law system into the mainstream debate. Rosie delivered the ‘Justice for Kids’ petition directly into the hands of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, asking for a commitment to create a system that puts the safety of children first. Since then, significant progress has been won in the form of wide ranging inquiries and a commitment to end the direct cross-examination of victims by abusers.

    Never Alone also integrated fundraising, with the ‘Luke’s Champions’ monthly giving program helping to fund the on-going work of the Foundation.

    Never Alone was wound up in February 2018 to allow Rosie time to rest and recover after a grueling four years in the public eye after Luke’s murder.

  • carecareers Promotional Video Series


    Creative Production, Not-for-profit

    What do Fight Club, ‘art food’ and a smelly dog all have in common? They’re all topics that came up in discussion in the fun video series we produced for carecareers to get people thinking about a career in the disability sector. This documentary style ‘fly on the wall’ video series gives insight into the lives of people with disabilities like Sarah, Olivia, Richard and Robbie, and serves as an advertisement for careers in the disability sector. Working with the talent and our integrated creative team of project managers, script writers, art directors, videographers and producers, Essential came up with an authentic creative concept that told a story, and aimed at inspiring action – getting people to think about a job in the disability sector.

    Managed by our team from creative concept to completion, our services include scripting, location discovery, visual analysis, videography, art direction, and post production including accessibility features. With our integrated process and team of creative professionals, we brought the carecareers video series to life with plenty of laughs.

  • Fight for the Reef


    Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Not-for-profit

    In December 2013 Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved plans to expand the Abbott Point coal port. In response, two of Australia’s largest environmental organisations WWF and Australian Marine Conservation Society approached Essential with the dream to run a large scale public campaign to stop the expansion and protect the Reef from further industrialisation. Thus, Fight for the Reef was born.

    Armed with research that showed 89% of Australians consider protecting the Great Barrier Reef our most important environmental issue, Essential built and deployed an integrated campaign to build a community of Australians committed to protecting the Reef and advocating on its behalf.

    Through the three-year campaign Fight for the Reef grew to one of Australia’s largest and most influential supporter-driven movements, with over 260,000 supporters. Campaign activity played a key role in achieving a ban on new dumping of dredge spoil in the Marine National Park Area, stopping the expansion of three coal ports and protecting important parts of the Reef coastline, include Cape York and the Fitzroy Delta, from further destruction.

    Key to the campaign’s success has been Essential’s multi-pronged research-tested strategy and narrative, focused on the economic and employment impacts of industrialisation on the Reef. Essential rolled this messaging out across a number of online and offline executions including three TVCs, outdoor advertising, print ads, radio ads, digital display ads, media relations activity and more.

    Campaign highlights:

    • Built a list of 260,000 supporters from across the globe
    • Built a 85,000 strong Facebook following, with content that routinely reached more than 1 million Facebook users
    • Free media activity that reached more than 50 million people world-wide and achieved over $20 million in ASR value.
  • Every Australian Counts

    National Disability and Carer’s Alliance

    Disability Sector, Not-for-profit

    This multi award winning campaign gave Australia the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Since 2011 Essential has worked with the National Disability and Carers Alliance to build a 150,000-strong supporter community and win cross party support for a scheme that is totally transforming the way disability supports are delivered in Australia.

    Beginning with in-depth analysis of community attitudes to disability issues and services, Essential developed the brand logo, tagline, online strategy, website, and content and engagement plans needed to win.

    The campaign continues to evolve as Australia meets historic milestones in the transformation of our disability support system: from winning support for the NDIS in 2013, to a re-launch in 2015 that provided the impetus for the start of the NDIS roll out in July 2016.

    In 2017 the campaign galvanized the community into action again, rolling out the first community based report card on the scheme, sharing hundreds of stories, and taking a delegation to Parliament to secure full funding for the scheme.

    With a new website and brand refresh in 2018, Every Australian Counts will continue to apply pressure on governments to deliver their promise and ensure the NDIS is implemented in a way that works for all Australians with disability, their families and carers.

  • The Ration Challenge

    Act for Peace

    Media & PR, Strategic Communications, Not-for-profit

    The Act for Peace Ration Challenge is a fundraising initiative where Australians live on the exact same rations as a refugee for a week to raise awareness and funds to support refugees living in camps around the world, as well as Act for Peace’s other humanitarian, sustainable development and advocacy programs. In 2017, Act for Peace commissioned Essential to deliver and implement a communications strategy with the objective of increasing brand awareness and boosting participation in the Ration Challenge by achieving exposure in key target earned media.

    Between March and June 2017, Essential implemented a four-phased integrated communications plan, utilising key messages, case studies and pre-existing digital marketing content, to generate media coverage across print, broadcast and online media.

    The Ration Challenge received widespread coverage across mainstream broadcast and print media, including coverage on Studio 10, ABC News Breakfast, Triple J and a plethora of other stories online and in local print media. Triple J’s breakfast presenters were even brave enough to complete the weeklong challenge and they shared their experience on air over the course of the week. Total media circulation almost doubled from the previous year.

    In addition to traditional proactive media relations, Essential provided Act for Peace with on-call advice for campaign trips abroad, reactive media for political developments and assisted Act for Peace in designing and implementing an ambassador outreach strategy.

    Essential’s work contributed to the Challenge’s success which saw more than 14,000 people sign up to take the Ration Challenge, raising $3,253,982, which is enough to feed 11,299 refugees for an entire year.

  • The Rail, Tram & Bus Union

    Rail Tram & Bus Union

    Media & PR, Crisis Management, Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Union / Alliance

    The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW has engaged Essential to assist with its full suite of communications needs for a number of years.

    From research and strategy through to earned media relations, member communications and social media, Essential has worked with the RTBU to successfully deliver a full service offering that has helped the union influence the state’s transport decisions, as well as ensuring its membership is kept well-informed on the latest news impacting them.

    Member communications is key in a union, and having a membership as diverse as the RTBU’s presents unique challenges. But by working with Essential, the union has met the challenge of providing its members in its various divisions with dynamic, relevant, timely and popular communications through a range of tailored communications channels.

    Having Essential’s team on hand to provide strategic 24/7 communications support and advice means that you’ll often see the RTBU in the free media, strategically pushing for better outcomes for its members and commuters at large.

  • The Protect Penalty Rates Campaign

    The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association

    Media & PR, Crisis Management, Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Union / Alliance

    To stand up for the livelihoods of some of the country’s lowest paid workers, Essential has worked to support Australia’s largest private sector union, the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) in their campaign to protect penalty rates.

    Working together to develop a communications and digital strategy that seeks to educate, inform and mobilise supporters into taking action, the Protect Penalty Rates campaign has created a powerful public movement of 42,000 active supporters and over 4,500 on Facebook who are willing to stand up against cuts to their take home pay.

    This powerful supporter base will prove invaluable in campaigning to protect and restore penalty rates in the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election.

  • Save Our Recycling

    Local Government NSW

    Media & PR, Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Government

    Local councils in NSW pay an annual waste levy to the state government for landfill use, which is absorbed into its revenue. Local Government NSW, the peak body for LGAs in the state, wanted to see that money beneficially reinvested and extract policy commitments in the lead up to the 2019 state election.

    Essential audience research found strong support for spending the levy on recycling. We developed the Save Our Recycling campaign to build public support for this proposition. The campaign was driven by residents and waste officers across the state who became grassroots advocates for this policy change. With a campaign website, growing supporter base, a series of campaign ‘moments’ and strategic media relations, we put waste management on the election agenda.

    The campaign drew policy commitments from two major parties and applied public pressure through an election petition that attracted over 12,000 signatures. Through strategic media relations highlighting the large amounts of recycling that goes into landfill, the need to invest in onshore recycling facilities became a prominent issue in public debate until well after the election. The Save Our Recycling campaign changed the conversation on recycling, and LGNSW became a prominent public advocate for its members and for residents across NSW.

  • Renew Our Libraries

    NSW Libraries Association and Local Government NSW

    Media & PR, Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Government, Union / Alliance

    The NSW Public Libraries Association and the state peak body for local governments, Local Government NSW, engaged Essential to develop and execute a campaign advocating for increased investment in public libraries.

    The Renew Our Libraries campaign activated local libraries and their communities, changing the conversation about the purpose and function of local libraries. We reframed libraries not only as places to borrow books, but as crucial support systems which residents turn to when they have trouble accessing services or completing administrative tasks like taxes. Libraries were seen to fill a gap in services and provide help to those who need it most.

    The campaign won the support of over 100 councils in NSW and secured major state funding commitments from across the political spectrum. As a result of the Renew Our Libraries campaign, the NSW Government is now providing an additional $60 million in funding over a 4 year period for public libraries in NSW.

  • Everybody’s Home

    Media & PR, Digital Design & Development, Creative Production, Strategic Communications, Not-for-profit, Union / Alliance

    The Everybody’s Home campaign united a coalition of housing, homelessness and community sector peak bodies in a campaign that redefined the housing affordability debate in Australia. In the lead up to the Victorian and NSW state elections and the 2019 Federal election, Everybody’s Home sought to put homelessness and housing policy at the top of the agenda.

    Essential undertook extensive stakeholder and social research to design the campaign, producing tested messaging, a campaign website, supporter collateral, and promotional materials to mobilise everyday Australians and organisations behind a single goal: to fix Australia’s broken housing system. Campaign communications are integrated across media, offline supporter actions and political lobbying activity by partner organisations.

    Since its launch in March 2018, Everybody’s Home has amassed over 30,000 supporters and 200 partner organisations from unions, to local government, to Australia’s biggest charities. The campaign’s asks are endorsed by two major political parties and have won better renter’s rights in NSW and Victoria. Everybody’s Home helped unite a fragmented sector and continues to keep the housing crisis, and its solutions, at the centre of public debate.

  • Back the Blue

    Police Association of NSW

    Media & PR, Strategic Communications

    Ahead of the 2019 NSW State Election, the Police Association of NSW prepared a comprehensive claim for new police officers across the state to alleviate the dangerous under-resourcing of the Force.

    The election commitments the Police Association were seeking outlined precisely what police required in order to combat serious issues such as ice use, mental illness, domestic violence and terrorism in our communities.

    The Police Association engaged Essential to create and implement a media campaign to support the ‘Back the Blue’ campaign, with the overall aim of securing commitments from political parties to increase the number of officers across the state.

    Using data and case studies to highlight the dangers of under-resourcing police, Essential developed a proactive media campaign in the lead up to the State Election, which put police resourcing front and centre of the media cycle.

    The media pressure, combined with a strategy of on-the-ground actions, worked with both major parties committing to substantially increasing police numbers. The NSW Government announced the recruitment 1,500 new officers, an estimated commitment of $580 million – the biggest investment in NSW police numbers in over 30 years.

  • Your Rights at Work

    Australian Council of Trade Unions

    Research, Media & PR, Strategic Communications, Union / Alliance

    In 2005, the Australian Council of Trade Unions asked Essential to research and develop a campaign to overturn WorkChoices, a new set of industrial laws announced by then-Prime Minister John Howard aimed at rolling back worker protections and weakening the union movement.

    The Your Rights at Work campaign was born of extensive audience research, which discovered low public awareness of the changes and only minority opposition to them. Essential developed an advertising campaign that used the most resonant issue arising from the legislation – the dismantling of unfair dismissal laws – as a starting point. The result was the now well-known ‘Tracy’ ads depicting a woman’s struggle with the unfair laws. Tracy became the face of the damaged caused by WorkChoices and rapidly raised public awareness of the policy.

    After a six-week campaign, 64 per cent of Australians were opposed to the WorkChoices laws and more than 70 per cent said they knew something about the laws. The Howard Government spent $50 million on advertising in the wake of Tracey, but the message about WorkChoices had hit home. In 2009, the new Labor Government passed the Fair Work Act, reinforcing the priorities established in the Your Rights At Work campaign and securing the crucial role of unions in protecting Australian workers.

  • The Australian Housing Monitor

    Per Capita

    Research, Digital Design & Development

    The Australian Housing Monitor (conducted for Per Capita) is a large, nationally-representative survey covering public experiences and attitudes toward housing related issues. it is a key source of information on what Australians are thinking about an issue generally seen as amongst the most important facing Australia today, allowing many demographic comparisons including contrasting the views of tenants and property investors. View it here.

  • Energy Consumer Sentiment & Behaviour Surveys

    Energy Consumers Australia

    Research, Digital Design & Development, Energy & Solar

    The ECSS & ECBS (conducted for Energy Consumers Australia) together form the most comprehensive ongoing monitor of the attitudes and activity of residential and small business energy consumers in Australia. Conducted continuously since 2016, the ECSS & ECBS uses qualitative and quantitative research to understand consumer attitudes to the electricity and gas sector, with a recent focus being energy transition. View it here.

  • Queensland Household Energy Survey

    Energy Queensland and Powerlink

    Research, Digital Design & Development

    The Queensland Household Energy Survey is conducted for Energy Queensland and Powerlink and is Queensland’s most comprehensive survey capturing household insights and trends in energy behaviours and attitudes. It is updated annually and covers samples of over n=4000 Queensland energy consumers. View it here.

  • Early Learning Monitor

    Thrive by Five Campaign

    Research, Digital Design & Development

    The Early Learning Monitor forms a key part of the Thrive by Five Campaign and research aims to understand how everyday Australians and parents think the early learning system currently works, how it impacts children into adulthood and how important this issue is to their vote. It is a good example of how research can both inform communications campaigns and become an important part of the communication.

    View the research here.

    Learn more about the campaign here.