Port Waratah Coal Services
Creating Change
A company that asks itself what does it truly stand for and what does it want to do next is a company that is ready to forge ahead. We helped Port Waratah do just that.
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The Challenge

Get everyone onboard

The size of the organisation and the scope of the stakeholders including employees and the local community posed a considerable challenge. So we took a three-stage approach – developing a positioning strategy, brand architecture and communications plan. This made sure everyone was on board, on the same page and proud of the result. It was crucial to get input from all stakeholders, to allow them to be engaged and part of the process, rather than just have something imposed upon them that they felt no kinship to.


Port Waratah employees posing during OOTS photo shoot
What did we do?

Stakeholder engagement from the start

Stage 1: Brand and positioning statement

A seemingly easy question: who are they and what do they want to do? Through research that included tailored workshops with three levels of employees – executive committee, staff and operators –  and then working closely with the community relations team, we developed a positioning strategy and brand architecture. Having buy-in from all levels was important and made sure we aligned their aspirations with future outcomes.

Port Waratah wanted to stop ‘flying under the radar’ and become more open and transparent. They are continuously refining and improving their processes in terms of operational capacity, safety measures and social and environmental impacts. They wanted to give a more balanced share of voice to the fact they were industry pioneers and proud partners to all stakeholders. Pioneering Through Partnership was born.


Port Waratah embossed and stylised printed collateral

Stage 2: Logo Review and Creative Development

The feel and structure of the old logo and collateral didn’t mesh with the reality they were working in and towards. Even the way they had referred to themselves – PWCS – lacked meaning. A rethink about the name, a new logo and a suite of design elements helped bring the brand to life.

Apart from being efficient and productive, humanising the organisation was also important, especially when the public tend to just see big machinery and coal. Port Waratah strive to have a positive impact on the community in which they operate – it’s where they live and play too. Using real employees in photography for internal and external communication helped address this.

With so many different components and applications, from uniforms to trucks, a comprehensive style guide was also developed to help keep the new look on track.


PWCS printed collateral Port Waratah printed collateral
Port Waratah printed collateral alternative shot of PWCS printed collateral

Stage 3: Communications Plan

Communicating with a new sense of openness and transparency required a plan to maintain consistency and help Port Waratah get the best from their new brand. One of their key drivers for success is their ‘Licence to Operate’ which covers environment, governance, relationships and reputation plus social impacts and contributions. Monthly internal and quarterly community newsletters help get these messages heard and create better public support and understanding.

User-friendly templates make life easy and keep everyone on-track. These range from internal presentations to external press layouts. We also worked with them to develop and implement a comprehensive social media strategy, including risk assessment and content plan, to stay in the loop.

The end result is the rebranding of an iconic Newcastle organisation with buy-in from employees and other stakeholders including the community. It has given Port Waratah some visibility beyond coal and ships and lets them tell their story internally and externally with consistency and confidence.

Full spread of the PWCS printed collateral
model showing off printed PWCS collateral
Port Waratah printed collateral
Port Waratah printed collateral
Port Waratah Coal Services photography
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“We are a unique, non-consumer based organisation with a complex set of needs. OOTS have put much effort into researching and understanding our business and industry and were able to take research previously conducted and build on this with their own, to develop a robust and compelling strategy for rebranding and positioning our organisation in an ever challenging climate.

Hennie Du Plooy
CEO, Port Waratah Coal Services
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