Straight Talk is a well-established, industry leading communication and community engagement consultancy with a proven track record of delivering high quality outcomes.
1. We have extensive experience
Best practice community engagement involves consideration of stakeholder needs as well as those of the organisation; it also requires an understanding of the drivers behind engagement, clarity of intent and effective framing of communication so that appropriate expectations can be established within a respectful, two way dialogue.
Our extensive experience enables us to successfully:
- Tailor approaches in outcomes focused ways
- Integrate face to face and online approaches
- Design deliberative processes
- Incorporate complex social and market research approaches without losing the integrity of engagement (as opposed to public relations or push poll marketing).
2. We are recognised industry leaders
Straight Talk has been building its reputation as a leading engagement practice for ten years. Our recognition as industry leaders stems from the fact that engagement and communication are our core business – it is our only business.
For the past decade Straight Talk’s Director, Lucy Cole-Edelstein, has been leading developments within Australia’s growing consultation industry, including working on the development of industry standards. Lucy has recently provided strategic advice to IAP2 Australasia on the development of a new training course that is up-to-date, practical and relevant to the Australasian market. Lucy is one of only two trainers in NSW who are accredited to deliver the new IAP2 Australasia Engagement Essentials Certificate course.
Over the last five years we have been associated with five prestigious best practice awards issued by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and a Planning Excellence Commendations for the NSW Planning Institute of Australia. Straight Talk is the only consultancy to have won multiple awards from IAP2 Australasia over successive years, demonstrating our commitment to both innovation and best practice. In 2010, Straight Talk’s Airds Bradbury OutLoud community engagement process was awarded the International IAP2 Award for Project of the Year and the Australasian IAP2 Award for Public Participation Innovation. In 2013, Straight Talk won the IAP2 NSW Project of the Year Award and Runner Up IAP2 Australasian Project of the Year Award. At the recent 2015 IAP2 Australasia Core Values Awards, two of Straight Talk’s projects received Highly Commended Awards.
3. We use innovative methods
Best practice calls for innovative and effective approaches to engagement.
This includes the incorporation of social and market research tactics to better understand community aspirations, needs and wants beyond ‘the squeaky wheels’. Using random telephone surveys, online surveys and focus groups we can work with specific demographics to understand and hear from voices that are often missing from traditional engagement approaches.
Deliberative processes are another best practice engagement method that involves facilitating a ‘demographically representative’ mini public’ to weigh up issues and come to a considered, consensus decision. These processes include Citizens Juries and 21st Century Town Hall Meetings which are particularly powerful when wanting to design specific approaches to complex problems.
Online tools can be effectively used to support engagement; these tools include discussion forums and social media platforms. Online resources simply and effectively provide the information that stakeholders need to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the project.
4. We deliver quality outcomes
We immerse ourselves in striving for excellence and delivering robust, innovative and effective services by continuously learning from our own work and from international best practice.
As a small, nimble consultancy, we are able to adopt a flexible approach to ensure we can respond to the demands and needs of our clients to deliver the best project outcomes. We have significantly lower overheads than larger consulting practices and are able to provide highly responsive and skilled support to reflect the complexities of the projects we work on. Our focus is primarily on delivering communications to effectively manage risks and add value to project outcomes. We focus less on managing scope and commercial profit margins, which is often a key driver for more corporatised consulting firms.
In 2014, Straight Talk’s independently conducted client satisfaction survey showed that 70% of clients were ‘likely’ and 30% were ‘very likely’ to recommend Straight Talk to others. Clients reported they would recommend Straight Talk because they had confidence in Straight Talk to deliver and were ‘great to work with’, ‘approachable’, ‘professional’ and ‘experienced’.