National Science Challenge: Building Better Homes Towns & Cities

GoodSense was able to help Building Better Homes Towns and Cities by co-creating a communications plan and brand strategy that resulted in the brand effectively communicating its research to its stakeholders, media, and funders.

In a nutshell

GoodSense was able to help Building Better Homes Towns and Cities by co-creating a communications plan and brand strategy that resulted in the brand effectively communicating its research to its stakeholders, media, and funders.

What was needed

GoodSense has been working with National Science Challenge, Building Better Homes Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora (BBHTC) since November 2017. As a new virtual organisation involving a large team of staff and researchers from more than a dozen different organisations, there was a need for a communications provider that could work across a diverse team and bring coherence and structure to BBHTC communications.

The Challenge’s mission is to find solutions to some of the large, complex issues in the built environment, it is only successful if the research has a considerable positive impact on New Zealand. To create this impact, the Challenge needed to be proactive in getting the research in front of the decision-makers, so they can make better research-informed decisions for New Zealand.

The internal comms challenge was to get the researchers to think about how the outputs can be more directly targeted than just presenting the results of the research.

How GoodSense helped

In November 2017, GoodSense worked with the Challenge’s Senior Leadership Team to co-create a communications strategy, detailed communications plan, to and Brand Strategy Discussion Document.

GoodSense consistently engaged with the research team remotely, through email, Zoom and phone conversations, as well as in-person to help researchers embed communications into their research projects from the planning stage.

Media engagement planning and digital planning began in early 2018. The first release went out in February. By the middle of 2018, GoodSense was coordinating social media for BBHTC. By the end of 2018 and into 2019 work on Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua started, by which time partnerships with key publications had been established and working well for the Challenge. For the first half of 2019, GoodSense worked on ‘The Shift Aoteroa’. Since then, activity has been consistent.

Allanah Robinson, one of our in-house research gurus experienced in strategic marketing planning has consistently worked on setting milestones for the challenge to build communication strategies.

“I’m really proud of the work we are doing to support the Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challenge. The work they are doing is so important to so many New Zealanders. The work has the potential to have a real lasting, and significant impact for Aotearoa New Zealand.” 


Undertaking media support is our team member Kylie Bailey, a well-known journalist, and creative content editor, experienced in brand planning and digital strategy. She has been able to establish a reasonably strong awareness among a group of target journalists about the challenge and who BBHTC are and what they do, making a significant difference in their brand awareness.

What this has meant for the National Science Challenge

It was important for BBHTC to work with someone who shared their values and principles and could effectively reflect these in their communications. We did this by shifting the way BBHTC pitched stories & communications to media and stakeholder approaching their team and funders.

With GoodSense’ assistance, various social media engagement issues have been calmly but effectively dealt with, without compromising the core values. Making the overall external comms consistent and effective.

Both Allanah & Kylie have worked extensively with BBHTC creating a sense of cadence or rhythm. They quickly built a rapport with management and researchers that has matured into high trust relationships. This facilitated the GoodSense team to stretch and develop communication competency of the entire team.

Translating academic research and changing the communication culture within the academic research team to focus on creating impact has been a key outcome from GoodSense’s involvement.

The collaborative planning and trained approach has delivered BBHTC with a number of media coverages by various channels. The most recent being Stuff, NZ Herald, Build Magazine, Urban Studies Spinoff and more. 


NSC Media list

NSC Media


View the full media coverage list here

“The team at GoodSense have been instrumental in our success.  A core factor of this for us has been the consistency of GoodSense. We have had the same team since the beginning which is something that we value highly. I would have no hesitation in recommending the GoodSense team.

The skills of the GoodSense team and the range of tools they have at their disposal made this process easy and effective for the BBHTC team across all levels. GoodSense was effective at understanding our business and our requirements.”

Ruth Berry, Director BBTHC

Read more about Building Better NZ

Explore the GoodSense approach to content and channel planning – including our Cat on a Stool model – a strategic framework for media relations and social media.

To find out more about how we can help with your brand strategy, call Kath Dewar on 09 973 0960 or email us today, we would love to help.