Transdisciplinary Collaboration: A Recipe for Program and Positioning Success

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A QUTeX client, public relations agency Haystac, recently announced its new positioning as The Social Relations Agency. The position is underpinned by a strategic approach, which identifies the personal values that motivate consumer behaviour to more effectively influence action and develop consumer-centric communications activity.

The approach was informed by academic insights from the Queensland University of Technology and offers clients a values-led approach to connecting brands to consumers through insight-led earned media, social media, influencers, content, and events strategies. The move comes after Haystac identified the need to differentiate themselves in their market to position the business more effectively for long term success.

In 2019, Haystac consulted with QUTeX to develop a bespoke capability development program, which harnessed the business’ objectives of using sociology as means for differentiation. Haystac needed to leverage the existing capabilities of the team, whilst pivoting to a new way of thinking to futureproof their business.

The Capability Development Program was co-designed by QUTeX with Haystac, to help embed a new way of seeing and practicing public relations. The program offered more than an upgrade or refresh of skills – it was developed as a platform to help Haystac implement a new methodology to make decisions and work with their clients. This also aligned to their ambition to grow their organisation through approaching business through a different lens.

To support Haystac’s quest for market differentiation by applying sociology, QUTeX harnessed expertise from across the university, to deliver a program that worked with the participants to strengthen their knowledge of sociology and its intersection with public relations.

A variety of learning objectives were factored into the development of the program, including:

  • Using sociological analysis to provide a deeper understanding of social norms, values, and contexts.
  • Strengthening the knowledge of evidence-based sociological and communication frameworks to guide business practice.
  • Designing communication campaigns that draw upon sociological insights to effect change.
  • Applying social justice principles to underpin good practice.
  • Understanding and integrating the sociological principles of ethics, equality, power, and culture in practice and communication.

To deliver on the commitment to Haystac, a collaborative team of experts was formed by QUTeX and led by QUT’s Associate Professor Amisha Mehta, who worked with Associate Professor Carol Richards to bring together the latest in content, research and thinking from QUT.

In response to the new positioning, Haystac National Managing Director, Simone Pipkorn, says while the social relations mission has been in place internally for some time, the world events of these past few months have accelerated its need to reach consumers, with clients turning to values-led responses.

Simone Pipkorn
Simone Pipkorn, National Managing Director, Haystac

Across our national footprint of offices, we have been offering our strategic approach to social relations for some time, however we’re excited to announce our new brand proposition at a time when brands need to be connecting to consumers the most.

One thing is universally true: every decision we make – from the products we buy to the communities and networks we join – is influenced by our individual value set. That’s why we take a sociological, values-led approach to PR and storytelling, combining deep strategic thinking with powerful social insights, uncovered through rigorous research as part of our social relations platform, to connect brands to consumers.

The power of this combined data, backed by a relentless pursuit of creativity, delivers an unparalleled view of the customer worlds, their social groups and personal values, ensuring a deep connection between brands and their consumer audiences,”

To learn more about this partnership, download a copy of the case study.

About QUTeX

QUTeX collaborates with large and small public and private sector organisations to design, develop and deliver customised leadership education and coaching programs. With our nimble and client-focused approach to corporate education for the real world, and access to experts on a wide range of topics, QUTeX will work with your organisation to create and execute a program that meets and exceeds your business’ needs.

To learn more about how QUTeX can work with your organisation, please contact me at  or on 0488 723 254

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Kristy Hammond is a Corporate Partnership Manager for QUTeX. She is passionate about authentic leadership, corporate learning and development, strategic business development and ultimately, organisational success. As a commercially astute business leader and coach, her focus is on helping organisations achieve success, through providing strategic L&D solutions to help improve their capability, productivity and organisational development. Kristy has a breadth of strategic business experience in running businesses, leading successful large teams and creating and delivering on large offshore learning projects, primarily in the education and media industries.

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