Issue #11 September 2009

In This Issue

  1. Our recent work
  2. Hit the ground running… in the right direction
  3. Believe it and do it - Brand alignment
  4. Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report – value counts more than numbers
  5. Can we help?

Our recent work

Over the last months, Balfour Consulting has:

  • Reviewed a major regional Traditional Owner advisory group to assess its long-term viability and develop strategies to support its continued operation.
  • Continued to manage community engagement for major road projects with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
  • Undertook a major research program in Moranbah for Queensland Health.
  • Completed a feasibility study and business plan for a proposed tourist and economic development project in Carpentaria Shire, with the business plan including strategic, operational, implementation and risk management plans.
  • Developed a stakeholder advocacy plan that includes a detailed stakeholder database and communications, risk management and implementation plans.
  • Helped rename and rebrand a financial planning company and develop a three-year strategic marketing plan.
  • Assisted in the Statewide launch and promotion of an education program that was taken up by more than 400 teachers and 175 schools in its first two months.
  • Successfully prepared tender submissions for three Townsville companies.

Hit the ground running… in the right direction

When people asked me what I do, I usually reply "Strategic planning", and this elicits responses ranging from confused through to sceptical. Okay, so what is Balfour Consulting about? The word strategy comes from the Greek word strategos, which is a combination of the words "army" and "lead" and is generally interpreted as "the way of the General". So strategy comes from the military and is the process by which all possible resources can be used by military command to achieve long-term military/political goals.

Basically, strategy is about winning the war, while tactics are about winning the battles. You don't have to win every battle to win the war, and strategy determines which battles can be abandoned and which must be won.

Good quality strategic planning underpins quality business and marketing planning. Quality strategic planning also includes an implementation plan for at least the first year of operations. Taking the military analogy further, the strategic planning undertaken by Balfour Consulting P/L is all about establishing the beachhead and a solid initial grasp of the territory that the organisation wants to win.

Think about it - when you implement marketing plans, you inevitably declare "war" on one or more of your competitors! An interesting take on this approach is a book called Marketing Warfare by Al Ries & Jack Trout. They repeatedly draw from Karl von Clausewitz's 1832 treatise "On War" to present an interesting and thought-provoking view on competitive marketing.

I was fortunate enough to attend a one-day seminar featuring these two highly energetic and very entertaining marketing "gurus" at the Melbourne University School of Business in the early 1990s. I think the work they did on Positioning in the 1980s was groundbreaking. While the more serious academics may not agree with me, this book is an easy read and well worth the time of anyone is interested in marketing and business.

"Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world."

Believe it and do it - Brand alignment

Have you ever decided to purchase a product or service on the basis of an innovative advertising campaign or excellent promotional materials, only to be quickly put off by staff behaviour that failed to support the promise made to you? This usually means that the management don't "get it", and so the staff just don't care. Mobilising your staff behind your Brand is the key to achieving growth. This requires taking people on a journey of commitment, from rational understanding through emotional engagement to alignment of behaviour. No matter how strong the corporate vision and strategy, without motivating and directing people in the organisation it is impossible to deliver the brand promise consistently.

To align your staff with your brand promise, it is critical that senior management show leadership by "living the brand" and, through this, delivering the brand promise internally. The company must not fall into the trap of believing that simply using internal communications that talk about vision, values and promise will be effective in achieving alignment. If the way the organisation operates does not reflect the Brand values and the Brand promise derived from those values, buy-in to the Brand promise by staff will not be achieved. In reality, internal communications have a limited role to play in engaging and aligning staff with the Brand as compared to the organisation "living the Brand".

As the Brand Engagement diagram below shows, to fully engage your staff with your Brand and to maximise internal Brand alignment, staff must engage with the brand at intellectual, emotional and behavioural levels.

"You don't create a culture; you catch it like a virus. People see new behaviours and copy them until they become the way we do things here." - Phil McManus, head of internal communication at Vodafone

"Suggestions for enhancing synergies across seamless boundaries"
- Notice on a suggestion box.
There was only one suggestion contributed - a used teabag.

Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report – value counts more than numbers

The World Economic Forum has recently released its annual "Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 - Managing in a Time of Turbulence", in which Australia slipped from an overall world ranking of fourth in 2008 to ninth in 2009. However, we are still ranked first in the Asia Pacific region. This report is based on the Travel Tourism Competitive Index, which was developed in consultation with major international travel and tourism organisations and those key major multinational companies that drive the worldwide tourism industry. This index is based around three broad categories of variables identified as drivers of tourism and travel competitiveness. The categories are (1) the regulatory framework, (2) the business environment and infrastructure and (3) human, cultural and natural resources.

According to the report, our drop in ranking "can be traced in large part to a perceived weakening of the prioritization of the sector in the country, a poorer assessment of the ground transport infrastructure, and weakening price competitiveness". We were also rated down in our affinity for Travel & Tourism, ICT infrastructure and environmental sustainability. Our identified areas of strength are tourism infrastructure, human resources, safety and security, air transport infrastructure and natural resources.

An interesting aspect of the Australian section of the report is the following table, which shows that although Australia's international tourism arrivals have remained relatively static since 1995, international tourism receipts (the value of these tourists to our economy) have almost tripled since then.

It always amazes me that some tourism organisations still report meaningless arrival figures rather than focusing on the important statistic, the value of tourism. The figures below suggest focusing on the value of international tourism is a better story than simple arrival figures might indicate.

The full report is available at

Can we help you?

Balfour Consulting Pty Ltd has a proven track record in the following areas:

  1. Feasibility plans and studies

  2. Business strategic plan development

  3. Marketing strategic plan development

  4. Risk management

  5. Community engagement and consultation

  6. Facilitated planning workshops

  7. Market and social research

  8. Public relations

For further information, contact us on (07) 4771 4566 or e-mail us as at:


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