20 years young – celebrating two decades as pioneers in financial communications

This week, Honner celebrated its 20th birthday with almost 200 clients, journalists, staff and friends. It’s been a long but fulfilling journey, and Honner is deeply appreciative of those who joined us to celebrate – and helped us get to where we are today!

As Founder Philippa Honner noted in her speech – it’s been a tremendously rewarding experience growing the business from a dynamic one-man band in 1997 to the largest communications agency specialising in financial services today.

A night to remember at The Mint in Sydney, Honner marked the occasion with a number of exciting announcements.

The team is thrilled to reveal our plans to establish a New York marketing office to drive business development efforts in offshore markets – sourcing global clients to be supported in Australia by the Sydney-based team.

Closer to home, Honner also announced a strategic partnership with website and digital agency Spark Green, an agency that also specialises in the financial services sector. Honner is working with Spark Green to help clients build user-friendly websites and digital platforms to support content-driven campaigns and help financial brands better engage with their audiences.

To support our fast-paced growth, Honner also announced four senior appointments at the milestone event.

Senior Consultants Suzanne Dwyer and Michael Yiannakis both bring over 25 years’ communications experience to the team.

Suzanne started her career in agency at Edelman and has held senior roles with ANZ, EY and Swiss Re. She has also run her own business, providing strategic communication advice to executives in the finance, education, pharma and power sectors.

Michael was a long-time business journalist at The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong and The Australian Financial Review in Sydney and prior to joining Honner also worked as Head of External Affairs and Media Relations, Asia Pacific, for American International Group.

Honner is also building out its content capability, with the recent appointments of Rebecca Thurlow, previously from the Wall Street Journal, as Senior Writer. Amanda Taylor, who brings 17 years financial writing experience, including seven years in marketing communications and digital roles at AMP Capital, has also joined Honner’s content team

It certainly is an exciting time for PR in a changing industry, and as the demand for specialist advice in the fast-moving Australian financial sector grows, Honner looks forward to partnering with our clients to deliver a leading offering.

Here’s to the next 20!

The Honner team

Our clients, journalists, staff and friends.

Philippa Honner’s speech

Amanda Taylor (Honner), Jessica Lee (Cromwell) and Jessica Effeney (Honner)

Brendan Wright (FAST) and Paul Cheal (Honner)

Adam Zuchetti (My Business) and Eric Robledo (Honner)

Cameron Poolman (OnDeck), Charlene Baston (OnDeck), Rashmi Punjabi (Honner) and Oliver Wade (OnDeck)

Chirs Lumby (BT), Bryan Gray (JP Morgan) and Chris Field (JP Morgan)

Damian Crowley (Pengana), Lachlan Douglas (Engines)

Darin Tyson-Chan (Benchmark Media) and Kristen Allen (Perpetual)

Jacqui Marshall (Investec Australia), Michael Clarke (Challenger), Philippa Honner (Honner) and Milton Samios (Investec Australia)

Jamie Williamson (Financial Standard), Adrian Flores (Momentum Media) and Darren Snyder (Financial Standard)

Kate Machin (Investors Mutual), Matthew Walker (WLM Financial), Cameron Poolman (OnDeck) and Susie Bell (Honner)

Lauren Hogbin (Australian Ethical) and Allyson Lowbridge (Australian Ethical)

Mark Smith (FSC), Aleks Vickovich (Momentum Media) and Ian Irvine (ASX)

Matt Dell (Pinnacle), Kylie Smith (Perpetual) and Natasha Gilbert (Pinnacle)

Michael Rockliff (XTB) and Julie Martin (XTB)

Michael Yiannakis (Honner) and Jason Clout (AFR)

Paul Cheal (Honner), Andrew Kleinig (Nuveen) and Bronwyn Jones (TH Real Estate)

Paul Cheal (Honner), Philippa Honner (Honner) and Susie Bell (Honner)

Rachel Maher (Honner), Rebecca Piercy (Honner), Greg Bright (Investor Strategy News) and Matthew Dell (Pinnacle)

Trevor Dixon (Link Group) and John-Paul Cowling (Relational Data Systems)

Vishal Teckchandani (NAB Trade) and Alex Vynokur (BetaShares)

Three ways to avoid awards-season blunders

Honner is thrilled to be nominated again for Public Relations Company of the Year in Financial Standard’s annual MAX Awards after taking out the title last year.

Inspired by our nomination, we thought it timely to reflect on what this year’s award winners can do to avoid those famous awards-season gaffes.

1.    Prepare to bow out gracefully

Blunders don’t get much bigger than announcing the wrong winner and there were plenty of red faces (and a PR nightmare for PWC) when La La Land was wrongly named Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. And it’s not the first major awards season cock-up – there have been similar occurrences at the Miss Universe and Australia’s Next Top Model ceremonies.

So what happens if you are in the middle of your well-rehearsed speech only to have your precious gong snatched away? Smile, congratulate the real winner, make a hasty exit and, unlike Miss Universe, save the tears for later.

2.    Be ready for technical issues

A raft of technical issues can occur during awards season, as Jimmy Fallon found at this year’s Golden Globes when his teleprompter went down seconds into the live broadcast.

What’s a seasoned host to do but improvise? “Cut to Justin Timberlake and he’ll… just wink at me or something,” he quipped.

If technology fails while you are on-stage, make like Fallon and have a joke or two up your sleeve to fill in time until things get up and running again.

3.    Avoid being overconfident

It’s great to be confident but history has shown that overconfidence can leave you with egg on your face. Take actress Rosalind Russell, who walked into the 1947 Academy Awards assuming her Best Actress Oscar was in the bag. Russell stood up before the winner was even announced, only to lose out to Loretta Young.

Or think back to Sally Field’s much-parodied acceptance speech, when she announced: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me right now, you like me!”

So if you are fortunate enough to receive a gong, how can you avoid similar gaffes? Accept the award graciously and remember to thank the people who nominated you, invited you and the team who contributed to your success, so everyone leaves the event feeling great about the evening.

Help Honner win!

Now we are on the other side of the awards fence we need your help to take out the title of Public Relations Company of the Year! Please vote for us here: WWW.FINANCIALSTANDARD.COM.AU/VOTING

We appreciate your support.

The Honner team

A super perspective on the 2017 Federal Budget

The annual 2017 ASFA Budget Luncheon in Sydney today held the general consensus that Scott Morrison has learned lessons of Treasurer’s past and delivered a political-savvy Federal Budget, even if it lacks in long term vision.

Finance and Economics Commentator Michael Pascoe framed the budget as responding to the five key areas that nearly lost the Coalition the last election:

  1. Attack: Mediscare. Response: Created the Mediscare Guarantee Fund
  2. Attack: Education. Response: Unveiled Gonski 2.0
  3. Attack: One Nation and the minor parties. Response: 457 changes; tightening to immigration;
  4. Attack: Housing affordability. Response: A number of announcements, though still tinkering at the edges
  5. Attack: Bank Royal commission. Response: A Bank tax; register for bank executives; and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

AMP Chief Economist Shane Oliver refuted the good versus bad debt debate that the Government has been pushing stating: “At the end of the day debt is debt and we have a deficit problem… the Government is relying on annual revenue growth of 6.7% p.a to get the budget back into Surplus by 2020/21 and I just don’t think we are going to get there.”

Looking at the good, the bad and the really bad of the Budget papers, Urbis Chief Economist Nicki Hutley, said there was a lot to like in the Budget – NDIS funding; Gonski education package; Childcare reform; medical research grants; and action to address housing affordability. However, bank bashing, cuts to foreign aid; no action on climate change; a demerit system for welfare; and no long term vision for Australia all squarely fall in the bad and really bad bucket.

ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy summed up the key take outs for the Superannuation sector:

  • Contributions into super for downsizers is a positive measure but on past experience may not be used by large numbers
  • Salary sacrificing for housing deposit may actually help engagement with younger members
  • Continued Capital Gains tax relief for fund mergers a positive but could go further/longer
  • Care will need to be taken in transferring statutory powers of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal to the newly formed Australian Financial Complaints Authority