NSW Farmers set out to be ‘seen and heard’ in the 2015 state election campaign as the proactive, engaged and innovative voice of regional and rural NSW. Icon was appointed to develop a bi-partisan campaign that would represent the interests of NSW Farmers' diverse membership base, and appeal to existing members while engaging a new generation of farmers.
It’s often said that our farms and rural communities are the backbone of Australia. In NSW, farming employs over 65,000 people and generates 11.7 billion in annual production. For too long, however, the voice of country NSW has been largely absent in state elections. Huge electoral margins (some as high as 34%) mean sitting members have little incentive to advocate for a greater share of government funding, investment or focus.
The challenge was to convince the major parties (and their local candidates) not to take country votes for granted.
By tapping into a powerful insight about widespread political disaffection and disempowerment among rural voters, Icon and NSW Farmers created a simple and powerful platform for people to do something tangible to affect change at the highest levels of Government.
The campaign used a savvy combination of marketing approaches and communication channels including local town hall events, grass-roots activism, digital channels, social media and word of mouth to mobilise famers and those in rural and regional NSW to ‘Stand Up, Shout Out and Be Heard’.
The star of the campaign was the 'Rate your Pollie' tool on the custom-built campaign website, which provided users with an opportunity to be heard, and provided a huge talking point which was amplified through social media.
Social media was an integral part of 'Stand Up For Farmers', with Facebook driving nearly 1,500 new visitors to the campaign hub, and over 320,000 impressions of tweets during the six week campaign. Politicians were rated over 5,000 times on the campaign website, which itself saw more than 1,300 users per week.
A close collaboration between Icon and NSW Farmers’ Head of Corporate Affairs, Veneta Chapple, was key to securing over 80 pieces of earned media (editorial) with a total reach of over 1.3 million, and a median quality rating of 8/10 (Barcelona Principles).
Most importantly, the campaign was able to reach the NSW State Parliament, with the victorious government signing a memorandum of understanding promising to carry out every single policy proposed by NSW Farmers.
Icon’s landmark integrated communications and digital campaign 'Stand Up For Farmers' for NSW Farmers, won the 'Digital and Social' category. The campaign also received recognition as Highly Commended in the 'Community Relations' and 'Integrated Marketing and Communication Campaign Strategy' categories, as well as being Commended in the 'Public Affairs' category.