International aqua feed company enters Australian waters

The brief:  BioMar, a Danish company with production facilities in 11 countries, are world leaders in the research, development and production of sustainable, high performance aquafeed.  BioMar had held, since the beginning of acquaculture in Tasmania,  a well-established position in Tasmania as the leading supplier of high-quality fish feed for Atlantic salmon through exported fish feed products from their production facility in Scotland.  At the time, one in every three farmed salmon in Tasmania were fed BioMar fish feed products. 

At the beginning of 2017, BioMar hoped to  construct a $56 million state-of-the-art fish feed factory in the Tasmania’s north west. However, at the time, there was significant community backlash against acquaculture as a whole. Biomar were concerned how this growing tide of community ill will would impact its proposed development. 

They knew they needed a public relations firm with local knowledge, connections  and political expertise on their side. 

Font PR was engaged to develop and implement a  strategy to inform public opinion prior to the lodging of a Development Application with council, focusing on the local Wesley Vale and surrounding communities. The desired outcome was for the local community and other key stakeholders to welcome and support the development.

The story:  Font PR undertook wide ranging research to understand the differing views regarding the industry. From this, key messages and a media strategy were developed supported by a community engagement plan targeting the local residents and business owners. There were numerous tactics in this campaign, including detailed Q&A documents for the media spokesperson, media call run sheets, media releases and media alerts, editorials, community newsletters, flyers and speech notes.  There were also community drop-in sessions at the proposed site and paid advertising, but the heart the strategy ensured stakeholders were the first to hear of any news of the proposed development. These stakeholders eventually became partners in the project – informed and empowered.

Concurrently, Font PR informed political decision makers about the benefits of the project to Tasmania as a whole.     

The results: They speak for themselves: BioMar received strong positive media coverage at the launch of the project, as well as support from the local and business community.  The project received Development Appliciation approval with no community concern raised. With the Liberal Government’s commitment of $2.3 million, Font PR secured the Premier’s attendance at the project’s media launch,  also attended by BioMar’s UK Managing Director.

Civil works are now set to commence with the site expected to be in operation by late 2019.  Font PR continues to assist BioMar with developing, distributing and managing regular communication to media and key stakeholders as milestones are met and new work commences.

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