Australian Defence Apparel

CASE STUDY: B2B public relations for Australia’s largest uniform manufacturer.

Ellis Jones  •  Friday February 3, 2017
Commercial  •  Marketing & PR


With over a 100-year history as a trusted Australian manufacturer,  Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) is a leader in the design and development of uniforms for emergency services, healthcare professionals, utility workers and the armed forces.

ADA has outfitted the Australian Defence Force (ADF) through two world wars and many other conflicts, playing an instrumental role in creating the iconic image of the Australian ‘digger’.

With a staff of 200 plus people in Australia, ADA continues to operate one of the country’s largest apparel manufacturing facilities in Bendigo, Victoria. Its market remains B2B, with its product produced in large quantities for organisations from the army, to hospitals, to electricity lines-people.

Over the last ten years, ADA has supplied more than five million items, across more than 1,000 different product lines to its clients around the world.

With a focus on making any job easier (and safer) with the right uniform, its positive social impact extends to protecting thousands of individuals at work every day.


As a result of a long history and accrued expertise, ADA’s primary business comes from the defence market. The company approached Ellis Jones at the start of 2016 for B2B public relations services to further entrench its position in the defence market, as well as improve awareness of its services in non-defence markets, including emergency services, healthcare, utility and construction. In addition, ADA wanted to raise awareness of its new partnership with veteran services not-for-profit, Soldier On.


Using Ellis Jones’s IDEA Methodology, the agency developed a communications strategy to guide ADA’s B2B public relations activity over a six-month period. This established overarching objectives and target sectors, for an essentially B2B business, seeking to increase awareness among prospective purchasers across large institutions, such as government and non-government infrastructure managers.

We highlighted the value of specialist industry-media coverage along with mainstream targets that would deliver a large audience reach. And we established a series of content themes and pillars, which drew out a range of ADA spokespeople, story opportunities and risks to be managed through our public relations activity.

Our insights led us to focus on ADA’s positive social impact: in protecting people in some of Australia’s most dangerous workplaces; in driving innovation in design and manufacture of world-first products; and in creating local jobs in regional Victoria, Melbourne and across Australia.

Using the agency’s established media contacts, whilst also creating new relationships for the specific benefit of ADA, we launched into proactive and reactive public relations. We employed a monthly content creation and dissemination cycle, researching, writing and distributing original content, to the right media at the right time.

From the launch of new products to industry awards, appearances at national trade shows and the opening of Soldier On’s Melbourne centre, content created and distributed by Ellis Jones was compelling to media, and insightful to target audiences.


Working collaboratively with ADA spokespeople, partners and ambassadors, our communicators successfully grew the company’s voice as an expert in apparel design, innovation and manufacturing, to a mass audience. Ellis Jones secured significant coverage, across mainstream, industry and local media of ADA’s expertise, and positive social impact, accruing an advertising equivalent value of over $818,000, over the first six months of PR activity. Notable coverage included a profile on ADA CEO, Matt Graham, in the Herald Sun, and an article on the company’s technological innovation with the US military in The Australian; as well as stories in the Bendigo Advertiser, industry blogs and magazines (e.g. Australian Defence Magazine), and business publications (e.g. CEO Magazine).

The agency also supported ADA in generating media coverage with and for its partner not for profit, Soldier On, when it opened its newest centre in Melbourne.  Ellis Jones secured attendance and coverage from The Age, Herald Sun, The Australian and The Courier Mail, as well as the 6pm television news, for all three commercial networks: Channel 7, Channel 9 and Ten.

Talk to us about public relations that catalyses growth for B2B business.

Image credit: Australian Defence Apparel