Now that the Adani mine in Queensland has passed what seems to be the final hurdle, while it will still be a focus of protests it is now important for Adani Group to create and build a long term image and relevance in Australia. Adani Group is widely misunderstood here.
Few if any Australians are aware of the diversified role of Adani in areas such as solar power (below).
There have been mistakes. While “overstating” projects might be good communication in many countries, it is a disaster in Australia which is the home of the “tall poppy syndrome” (want to chop you down) and cynicism. In Australia it is best to under-estimate a project and then deliver beyond expectations.
This initial approach hurt the project and much of the bravado might well have been the Queensland Government – but dealing effectively with local politics is another important task for the group.
Here are some challenges, opportunities and ideas for the future brand of Adani in Australia:
- Build up the media, political and community profiles of your local Australia team
- Create some leadership profile opportunities for Mr Adani
- Clarifying the Adani approach of “vertical integration” which is not well understood in Australia
- Accept that protests and negative media will continue but strive to at least get your proper share of media space
- Carefully select the media you will deal with – and provide media tours of Adani in India – with full transparency
- Support and become involved in coordinated media relations programs with Indian High Commission in Canberra
- Have Mr Adani seen as a “promoter of Australia” by leading an annual group of Indian business leaders to visit and explore opportunities in Australia
- Bring some scientific R&D work to Australia – for example with RMIT University as a collaborator – this has the advantage of giving Adani relevance outside of Queensland
- Create an alliance with Indian foundations which are high profile here – for example ASHA Foundation educates slum dwellers and is well known for having a slum young person graduate from Melbourne University. Provide scholarships for more to come here
- Create or support a meeting of leading Australian and Indian resources and environmental scientists in some annual dialogue
- Have a regular presence in Canberra
- Develop some “owned media” content that is highly professional, well written and not propaganda
- Facilitate Australian business and political missions to India, leveraging close contacts