Turning community housing strategy on its head by hijacking bad publicity to build positive brand sentiment.
The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) had purchased The Block, a notorious piece of land in Redfern, to redevelop as Pemulwuy: a new mixed-use site with affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, a gymnasium, commercial, cultural and retail spaces, student accommodation, and childcare centre. This project has been met with some opposition from the existing community, who are distrustful about its intentions. To restore faith in this Indigenous-managed project, we strategically implemented community engagement tactics and controlled the direction of conversations about Pemulwuy. We hosted and chaired several public meetings where media were invited, leading to articles in the South Sydney Herald and Courier Mail. Our objective was to keep the community updated on the facts, ensuring Stage 1 of the development wasn’t sidelined by misleading, negative press or protests.
To help break down negative perceptions and the fear of the unknown surrounding Pemulwuy, we produced a CGI animation that shows the project's finished form as a vibrant, sustainable community.
We also formed a powerful team of respected brand ambassadors including President of South Sydney Business Chamber Mary Lynne Pidcock and beloved community elder Aunty Birrell, to champion the project as 'the friends of Pemulwuy'.