STW owned government relations firm Hawker Britton has launched what it claims is Australia’s first digital government relations agency.
The agency, Connect2Government, is run by Hawker Britton consultant Danny Pearson and aims to cater for small-to-medium business through an online focused offering.
Pearson, the managing director, told Encore: “What we’re trying to do is go down the value chain and deliver a more high-volume low-margin templated approach. It will enable small players in the market who might be more budget conscious to access the expertise of government relations and then apply a more do-it-yourself model.
Pearson said while most small enterprises don’t have the budget and capabilities to employ a third-party lobbyist, the firm hopes to help industry associations and not-for-profit enterprises. “There are a lot of businesses that might not have a big budget but do from time to time need some advice about dealing with government,” he said.
STW Group is a minority investor in the digital enterprise and Pearson, who is a former adviser to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, will also continue to have a role in Hawker Britton.
Justin Di Lollo, head of government relations companies for STW Group said Connect2Government is an experiment. “Government relations isn’t normally an industry where you think of digital application and Connect2Government is providing an entirely new value offering,” said Di Lollo. “We have no idea if it will work. STW is happy to take some entrepreneurial risk on the venture in order to reinforce its leadership in digital communications in Australia, New Zealand and south east Asia.”
The agency may also act as a funnel for larger sister companies Barton Deakin and Hawker Britton. Pearson said: “If it takes off, it might well be a referral service for our other lobbying firms.”
Connect2Government has soft launched with a basic blog style website to market itself and will be rolling out additional content over the course of the next month to coincide with the Federal election.
“Over the next month I’ll have some fairly detailed analysis on policies coming from the Government and the Opposition,” said Pearson. “If you’ve got an interest in an issue, I’ll be able to explain some things you might consider doing. It will be free content as a way to drive interest to the site.”
“Concurrently, I’ll be creating paid content which will be a fee-for-service transaction and that will offer, for example, advice on how to write a budget submission, do stakeholder communications, or rezone land.”
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