Case Studies

Vantage Performance



To position Vantage Performance as leaders in turnaround and performance improvement, while educating the Australian media and potential clients about what turnaround management is, and how it can benefit business.


Vantage Performance approached Cicero in January 2009 to provide a PR strategy to help this fast-growing Queensland-based consultancy, operating in a fairly new market in Australia, to cut through a lack of understanding about what turnaround management involves, and to publicise their credentials in this field.

Cicero developed and implemented a communications plan that initially focused on media relations, social media and speaking engagements, positioning Vantage as thought leaders on issues including preventing insolvency, cashflow solutions and performance improvement.

The media were looking for credible commentators for SME business struggles, and we positioned Vantage’s CEO Michael Fingland as “Mr Turnaround”, the go-to man for expert commentary.

Cicero also initiated a blogging and Twitter schedule for Vantage, provided strategy and advice for engaging on LinkedIn and secured speaking engagements with The CEO Institute, CPA Australia and industry conferences.

We achieved extensive print, online and television coverage and Vantage, which has expanded to a national consultancy, is now well known for its business blogs, podcasts and columns.


  • Over the past five years, articles on turnaround and performance improvement issues and client case studies have featured regularly in key media, including AFR, BRW, Sky Business News, SMH, Company Director, Smart Company, The Project and The Deal.
  • CEO Michael Fingland is now a regular columnist and blogger for The CEO Magazine on business issues.
  • 10 members of Vantage’s leadership team enjoy regular media profiling in their areas of expertise.
  • Vantage is now running a successful blog,, with substantial blog and podcast content.
  • Michael Fingland is a sought-after speaker for organisations, including The CEO Institute, Australian Institute of Company Directors, CPA Australia and AVCAL.
  • For a comprehensive overview of media hits gained, please click here.

“Kathryn has been instrumental in helping to raise our national profile and I have enjoyed our relationship over the past 5 years. We have received great value and I would recommend Kathryn highly.”

- Michael Fingland, Managing Director, Vantage Performance


Mother's Day Classic



To increase national media coverage for this mature brand event that raises money for breast cancer research, and to provide coverage to help grow the event in regional areas of Australia.


Cicero created the media strategy and worked closely with Mother’s Day Classic’s National Marketing and Communications Manager to ensure this strategy supported the overall marketing plan for the event.

We were responsible for attracting national and metropolitan coverage for the event, held in 76 locations around Australia.

We managed a team of (volunteer) state PR coordinators, providing media materials and advice to help them promote the event in regional and suburban areas of their states.

Cicero director Kathryn Britt was the key media contact for the event, and responsible for organising interviews and providing media advice for the event’s national manager (and media spokesperson).

We also were responsible for organising for the media to profile celebrities and survivors, and for creating media angles for women’s magazines, financial services press (as the event has many superannuation sponsors), fitness magazines and other niche publishing demographics.

We created stories that could be integrated across the event’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and e-newsletters.


  • Achieved 1465 editorial mentions, cumulative audience of 47,325,443 and editorial space equivalent to $5,651,888 in advertising.
  • 605 print articles, 473 online articles, 196 AM radio interviews or mentions, 97 TV stories and 74 FM radio mentions.
  • National magazine coverage of the event more than doubled, front page coverage was achieved in three state metro newspapers and every metropolitan TV station provided positive coverage of the event.
  • Interviews organised for more than 50 breast cancer survivors, as well as celebrity participants including Sarah Murdoch (cover story on Australian Women’s Weekly), Melissa Downes (Sunday Mail), Saia and Anthony Fainga’a (Courier Mail), Rebecca Judd (Herald Sun), Emily Jade O’Keeffe (mX), Amber Sherlock (Daily Telegraph) and Jana Pittman (702ABC Radio Sydney).

“We were thrilled with the results of the television, press, radio and online media coverage Cicero achieved for our national event in 2013. Kathryn ‘s professionalism and expert understanding of the media, combined with her ability to manage a large team of ambassadors and volunteer team members, ensured a highly successful collaboration.  We would confidently recommend Cicero Communications’ media services.”
- Danni Cookesley, national marketing & communications manager, Mother’s Day Classic

To donate to breast cancer research, please click here.




To position BUSSQ as a thought leader on superannuation issues and engage the media and fund members on the value of superannuation as a long-term investment.


BUSSQ is a superannuation fund serving Queensland’s building, construction and civil industries, with 90,000 members and more than $2 billion in funds under management.

In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a challenging time for super funds, it was essential to keep engaging the media and members on the value of superannuation.

BUSSQ wanted to reassure  members that superannuation was a worthwhile investment for their financial future and that BUSSQ was there to make the difficult easy for members.

A media strategy was developed by Cicero as part of BUSSQ’s comprehensive marketing strategy, which included promotion of BUSSQ’s pre-retirement seminar series.

Cicero helped BUSSQ devise a member survey on retirement plans, which became useful collateral for the media campaign and broader marketing strategy.

Our strategy was to use the media to support BUSSQ’s direct marketing messages, promoting simple action steps members could take to secure a superior retirement lifestyle.

BUSSQ’s CEO was positioned as a thought leader on issues impacting members and the superannuation industry.

The target was financial services and consumer media and trade union/member publications (chosen because they were read by members, according to member survey).

We built relationships with key target media and leveraged those relationships to gain positive media exposure that enhanced BUSSQ’s credibility.

Media training was provided to BUSSQ’s key spokespeople, to ensure they could communicate key messages to the media and members and to provide the skills to risk manage media opportunities. A clear media policy was created for all staff to follow when handling media calls.

A media calendar of 10 campaigns was developed and editorial opportunities were sourced in key publications with relevant special reports and industry features.

Written materials included 8 media releases plus articles for union publications.

The campaign was completed on time and within budget.


  • Awarded Best Public Relations campaign at the national ASFA (Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia) Communications Awards.
  • Multiple media hits in AFR (7), BRW (2), Courier Mail (3), Super Review (3), Financial Standard (4), Sunday Mail (3), Investor Daily (3) and many other target publications.
  • Equivalent of almost $1 million in positive industry and consumer media exposure.
  • Exceeded our objectives of: developing relationships with key journalists; and gaining financial services/consumer media mentions providing strategic coverage of key issues of importance to BUSSQ.

“From a media perspective, the campaign helped put BUSSQ on the radar of key journalists and the relationship-building undertaken has helped ensure access to media for BUSSQ to continue to speak out on issues of importance to the industry and members. The campaign has been a great success in helping us achieve our vision.”
- Cary Brown, Marketing Communications Manager, BUSSQ

Queensland On Show



To promote the Queensland At Work and Play trade show to Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland media and optimise the quality of the three shows’ attendees to give exhibitors the best talent pool from which to recruit jobseekers.


The event organisers of At Work and Play approached Cicero Communications to design and implement a communications strategy to promote their events in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. The exhibitions were designed to promote Queensland as an employment and lifestyle destination. Exhibitors included employers from a diverse range of industries seeking to address a severe skills shortage.

Cicero produced targeted approaches to a range of media, including major metropolitan newspapers, suburban newspapers, trade magazines, television and radio.

Utilising a “State of Origin” motif for the southern states, and an “Aussies versus Kiwis” motif for New Zealand, the promotional message was straight forward: the Queenslanders are coming to steal your workers. This simple approach produced extremely good cut-through in all media. Cicero sourced interview subjects for newspapers, radio and TV and, working alongside State Government officials, managed the appearance of the Queensland Premier during the event.


  • Extensive print and electronic media coverage in the lead up to the events.
  • Record numbers of quality jobseekers attended the shows.
  • Exhibitors reported making job offers on the exhibition hall floor, far exceeding their expectations.
  • TV coverage on all commercial networks and the ABC, as well as commercial and public radio, on the Saturday evening of the event, boosting the Sunday numbers to even greater levels.

“I have employed the services of Richard at Cicero as our PR and media relations expert on numerous events since 2006. His ability to leverage his knowledge and relationships has always resulted in TV, radio, print and digital news coverage way beyond our expectations and delivered media value far in excess of what we paid in fees. I have not experienced better results from any of the media relations agencies I have ever used.”
- Michael Scott, General Manager, APN Events.

Graceville Flood Relief



To provide flood-affected residents with vital information on  issues of safety, essential services and flood recovery in the two weeks following the devastating 2011 floods.

Communication challenge:  Many streets were without power for days or weeks and floodwater initially limited access. We were dealing with dislocated community members, and a highly emotional intended audience.


One of the worst affected areas in the January 2011 Queensland flood disaster was the Brisbane community of Graceville/Chelmer.

Within hours of flood waters peaking on January 13, Graceville Flood Relief (GFR) was established and for two intense weeks Cicero provided around the clock pro bono PR, to communicate about the cleanup and social welfare (GFR organised cleanup volunteers and coordinated free accommodation, free school uniforms, cash handouts and other welfare assistance for local families).

Director Richard Newsome acted as a media spokesman for GFR  in TV, radio and newspaper interviews, communicating with a broad audience that could provide donations and cleanup support.

To reach the affected community (without power, and working around the clock to clean damaged homes), we utilised channels including newsletters, public meetings, SMS, Facebook and Twitter.

We assisted in calling a public meeting (attended by 500 people, one in 13 citizens of the two suburbs), coordinated the written information available and speakers at the meeting and advised the GFR chair on risk management and messaging.

Cicero wrote and produced a newsletter with essential services information, health and safety tips and offers of community support. We organised printing and distribution (by letterbox drop) of 1000 copies to all local streets impacted (while many were not able to live in their homes, they were spending long hours at home cleaning up, so this was the best way to reach them). Locals reported an excellent response to this service.

We utilised Twitter to solve the problem of how to “feed and water” thousands of hungry cleanup volunteers – using the hashtags #bnecleanup and #qldfloods to seek food and drink donations and were overwhelmed with the response – hundreds of sandwiches and cakes and truckloads of water and softdrink delivered.

Our Twitter campaign, harnessing an online community ready and willing to help, had such a positive response that we were able to divert excess supplies to Goodna’s flood volunteers.

The final step in our communications campaign was to address the fact that, as volunteers returned to normal life and work commitments, the local community would benefit from a forum to discuss flood issues, and offer and ask for assistance. Cicero established a Facebook page, to enable the local community to communicate with each other directly.


  • From the midday Friday public meeting,  over the weekend of January 15-16, GFR’s volunteer database coordinated more than 1200 volunteers at local cleanup sites (on top of the volunteers Brisbane City Council sent to help).
  • GFR was able to solicit and distribute more than 30 tonnes of donated furniture and goods to flood-affected locals.
  • Graceville Flood Relief’s Facebook page gained  475 “likes” and in the first 30 days after the flood, the page received 114,819 post views.
  • Cicero awarded Apex Community Flood Appeal appreciation plaque.

“In Brisbane’s worst flooding in a generation, our suburbs were particularly hard hit. Graceville Flood Relief oversaw an immediate flood recovery project, for which communications to the affected areas was vital. Cicero Communications executed the communications plan on a pro bono basis and Richard Newsome and Kathryn Britt were a vital component in the successful relief efforts we undertook.”
- Wayne Penning, Chair of Graceville Flood Relief

Media Training



To provide confidential media training and key messaging advice for the Chair and CEO of a Queensland organisation, to deal with a sensitive public issue.


This entity had to communicate with government, interest groups and the general public on a sensitive public issue.

Cicero helped them identify their best spokespeople for different audiences, and tailored a media training program for the CEO and Chair to help them provide the best responses for different types of media.

We provided issues management advice to the CEO and Chair and helped them develop key messaging for each audience.

Talking points were developed for controversial questions that might come up in the media or in public forums.

To help get their message across, Cicero also organised and wrote on very tight deadline a feature in the most relevant newspaper, providing public information and assurances essential to that community.


  • The newspaper feature was received very positively by key stakeholders. An attractive design and catchy articles by Cicero ensured the feature will be able to be used for ongoing public information campaigns.
  • Entity CEO and Chair are now aware of how their phrasing of media answers is likely to be used by the media in story angles. They understand key messaging and how to incorporate this into answers to media questions.
  • Clear risk management policy for media interviews is now in place.

“Cicero’s media training helped provide the skills and confidence for our senior executives to engage with the media. The training was very practical, and tailored to address the important issues our business has to deal with on a daily basis.”
– CEO, Queensland organisation