In 2010, US military vehicle manufacturer Force Protection Inc. approached Hughes Public Relations to build its Australian profile to assist in its bid for a $1 billion ‘Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light’ contract with the Australian Government.
Force Protection had zero presence and had conducted no contract work in Australia at the commencement of the bid process, so Hughes PR was tasked with the job of creating and building momentum for the company from the ground up.
Hughes PR’s strategy covered industry and mainstream media coverage, exhibitions, vehicle demonstrations, and making key government connections to ensure Force Protection’s ‘Ocelot’ light armoured vehicle was ‘front of mind’ amongst major decision makers.
Given a very short time frame in which to build Force Protection’s profile, all avenues were explored and utilised to provide exposure, including a media demonstration day at a 4WD park, demonstrating the vehicle at the International Avalon Air Show, and displaying the Ocelot at the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar race attended by 300,000 people.
Force Protection was shortlisted to a ‘final three’ in the bidding process.
Key objectives of the communication program were to:
- Increase the public profile and brand awareness of Force Protection;
- Establish credibility for Force Protection in the Australian marketplace;
- Keep Force Protection at front of mind for key government contacts and decision makers.
Principal strategies of the program included:
- Coordinating media and direct marketing activity to drive awareness of Force Protection;
- Establishing strong links with key Defence journalists in each market ensuring a regular flow of information;
- Staging product demonstrations to highlight Force Protection’s credentials to the Government and media;
- Monitoring competitor activity and media activity, and responding appropriately;
- Identifying key speaking opportunities for Force Protection management at major trade conferences.
Notable outcomes during the bidding process included:
Convincing the South Australian Government to invest in a purpose-built manufacturing facility should the bid be successful;
Providing key decision makers, including the Chief of Army, with an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Ocelot for a test drive;
Achieving significant media coverage for the Ocelot in mainstream and industry media.