ENT surgeons
Public Relations for The Passe and Williams Foundation

Integrated communications strategy, messaging and PR

Modern storytelling that matters


The Passe and Williams Foundation is a charitable trust that works to improve the health of people with ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders by funding life-changing medical research, surgery and care.

The largest funder of ENT research in Australia, the Foundation has operated for 30 years and takes an active role in the sector. It runs an annual awards program funding the best people and projects, as well as hosting influential conferences and events.

Despite the Foundation’s long legacy of achievement, it had a minimal public profile. The Foundation lacked a formal marketing-communications strategy and relatedly, did not have a significant media presence or social media following.

Icon was engaged to develop and action a communications strategy to unlock the Foundation’s full potential in the public eye. This involved bettering its engagement with critical stakeholders, increasing brand awareness, encouraging support of its work and positioning the Foundation as an influential voice on industry issues.

01. Beyond Science (2).mp4


The challenge here is one common to many long-standing organisations: how to move forward.

The Foundation’s existing communications and messaging were technical, inconsistent, complex and focused on the past.

Add to that the complication of a crowded landscape in the health sector for media coverage and public attention, heightened by COVID-19.

A limited budget called for a focus on fewer tactics, executed with impact.

Icon was tasked with repositioning the narrative to make the Foundation’s work matter to everyday people – while ensuring leadership buy-in for the change.

Icon’s collaborative approach to strategy and messaging development needed to remain true to the Foundation’s purpose and brand values.

Images inside the lab


The key strategic driver lay in shifting the focus of messaging from what the Foundation does, to all that it achieves. By looking outwards, instead of inwards, the impact of its work and benefits to the community are showcased as they should be.

Icon introduced tiered messaging for the industry and the public, with the latter developed to be concise, compelling and jargon-free for resonance and understanding. Highlighting real patient stories, awardees’ work and facts and figures about ENT disorders helped to put the Foundation’s work ‘in action’.

A comprehensive, integrated communications strategy was developed that segmented channels for the different stakeholder groups and introduced modern tactics such as email marketing and video content.

The annual awards program was looked to as a flagship moment for communications. Awardees’ projects were used as the storytelling device to amplify the Foundation’s messages and demonstrate the importance of its funding, promoted through traditional public relations as well as digital media.

Under Icon’s guidance, the communications activity took a modern approach that utilised digital channels and repurposed content across multiple platforms.

Importantly, the Foundation’s team was consulted and up-skilled to be able to deliver the strategy moving forward through workshops, guides and templates.

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04. Awardee Projects_vf.mp4


Results of the integrated communications strategy included:

  • The new narrative cut through with media to generate 250+ pieces of coverage nationwide reaching a potential audience of 17.2 million

  • Top-tier outlets ran stories including Channel 7 News, Channel 9 News, Sunrise, ABC Radio, Australian Financial Review, The Canberra Times and trade sector publications, with many back-linking to the Foundation’s website

  • Foundation name and CEO were very prominent in media coverage (included in 82% of pieces) and the awards featured in many headlines

  • Increase in website traffic and enquiries resulting from the awards announcement, as well as a doubling of LinkedIn followers

  • Inaugural EDM achieved above-average open and click rates

  • Thought leadership by-line published in The Australian demonstrating the importance of the Foundation’s work in the ENT sector

The new messaging was so effective that it catalysed a modern re-branding for the organisation and provided a suite of assets such as videos and templates for ongoing use.

Lab team


Icon has advised my organisation in implementing a communications strategy to increase our public profile via digital platforms and the media. Their approach to challenging traditional thinking is impressive and hugely effective; they helped us identify our audience, brought us along the journey in a collaborative manner and pushed us to think creatively about how we present ourselves, whilst being respectful of our boundaries and keeping their eye on the end goal.

Through Icon’s guidance, we have undergone an astonishing transformation; we have quadrupled our online follower base, re-branded, established a quarterly newsletter and been the subject of multiple media appearances. Icon was the cornerstone for all of these achievements, sharing their knowledge and guiding us to develop in-house capability. I wouldn’t hesitate to engage Icon in the future or to recommend them to others. They’re a pleasure to work with and the consummate professional.

Jeanette Pritchard, Chief Executive Office


  • Communications strategy

  • Digital strategy

  • Messaging house

  • Brand narrative

  • Media relations

  • Thought leadership

  • Case studies

  • Email marketing (EDM)

  • Issues management and counsel

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