Commshake named one of Australia’s best PR agencies

Murraylands-based communications agency Commshake Media + Engagement has reiterated its position as one of Australia’s industry leaders, after taking home two accolades from the prestigious Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Golden Target Awards last week in Sydney.

The small team of seven won Silver for the hotly contested ‘Small/Boutique Agency of the Year’ category, and Bronze in the ‘Regional Communications Campaign of the Year’ category. It’s a huge feat for the boutique regional company, which was up against firms based in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Commshake Media + Engagement Director Courtney Blacker said she was still in shock over the wins, and never dreamed back in 2016 when she first started the business, that it would grow to become a nationally-recognised leader in the field.

“What I love most about this recognition for Commshake is that it demonstrates the expertise and value that exists in the regions outside of our major cities,” Courtney says.

“Our work is all about sharing great stories from SA’s regions with the world, and I’ve always believed we do this just as well as our city peers. To have it officially recognised by Australia’s industry leaders is an amazing feeling, and I’m so proud the work my team continues to deliver.

“We were the only regional PR agency that came away with one of the national awards.

“I feel honoured that we were representing the brilliant projects, products and people who live in Australia’s country areas, and I’m still pinching myself that we edged out some of the big guns in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

A former journalist, media manager and project manager, Courtney began the business seven years ago when she saw a gap in the South Australian market for good communicators who could work with people in country areas to help tell their stories. Now, the team has expanded to 7 employees, working alongside 10 creative partners, and helping more than 40 clients each year.

The team is based in SA’s regions, with offices in Murray Bridge and Port Lincoln, and some team members also hailing from the Riverland and Adelaide Hills.

“We’re from the regions, for the regions,” Courtney says.

“People in the country are different, because our lives and the things that connect us and have meaning are different to our friends in the city.

“I feel privileged that our clients continue to trust us with their passion projects, businesses and experiences, and let us help propel them on to the world stage.

“Over the past year alone, we’ve been able to work on world-leading projects like the launch of the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve, getting carp onto premium Australian restaurant menus, and bringing international guests back to the Murray River post-COVID. Now we’re excited to see what’s next.

“We bring something different to the table of regional projects. Out clients continue to tell is that we simply ‘get it’ when it comes to raising the profile of their rural and remote initiatives, and seeing them get their credit they deserve it always our biggest highlight.

“Our team will continue to help put exceptional stories on the national and global stage, helping to drive our State’s sustainable future.”

Courtney also champions the expertise of regional women in her agency, taking on new university graduates and giving them an opportunity to develop a career in the home region, while also providing flexible office arrangements that allow working parents to excel in the industry without travelling to the city.

The team also uses exclusively SA-based creative partners, many of whom are also regionally based.

These two awards come off the back of Commshake leading South Australia’s top two destination marketing campaigns for 2022 as well – after their clients Destination Riverland and the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Tourism Alliance took out gold and silver in last month’s SA Tourism Awards.

The team has also previously won PRIA GTA awards as South Australia’s Best Small PR Agency (2019), a National Commendation for Best Small PR Agency (2019), plus secured two finalist positions in the 2020 national awards.