Part 3 – Tsunami of Change: HUNTERhunter
HUNTERhunter was started as a side hustle 4 years ago by Alissa McCulloch and her business partner Fiona Gray.
The venture was initially borne out of frustration, and later filling an apparent gap in the market. In their view, their city was not being portrayed in a way that was true or in many ways desirable. As it turns out, the market agreed.
With a background in marketing, the pair rolled their sleeves up and got to work. The result is a media platform that has secured a significant and loyal following.
Asking why they made the effort, Alissa says: “We kept travelling down to Sydney for things. When we Google’d what was on in Newcastle, the search results painted a pretty dim picture of our city. We wanted to change that”.
So off they went building a platform for all things happening in Newcastle and the Hunter. The result mirrors a new Newcastle. A lovely place, a fun place, heck even a trendy place. Henny Penny anyone? Not anymore. Henny Penny – and all we love you for – be gone.
I can’t help but be impressed with the can-do attitude of this lady, this Novocastrian who with her colleague took it upon themselves to build the change we are seeing today. Alissa recalls a different Newcastle. An older Newcastle and we agree that in some pockets, this older Newcastle still exists.
“It’s like in some corners of Newcastle, there is a reluctance to be positive about the change in our city. Instead, the negative aspects of the transformation is drummed up rather than all the opportunities that come with it”.
Asking what the change is contributing, Alissa does not hesitate: “More jobs, more interesting people, better options. This city has always been a great place to live, its just got an even brighter future now”.
Three views on the change
What a refreshing attitude. How lucky are we to have positive, can-do people in Newcastle. I reflect on the interviews I’ve done with three pretty amazing people. Mr Hilton Grugeon, the property developer and lover of change, who points out what in his view is now a slowing of the current. Mr Collins, the EJE architect and Director, who with a team of forward thinkers has designed our groundbreaking university building, NeW Space. Finally, Ms McCulloch, part of the HUNTERhunter duo, who instead of waiting for change, got on with defining our new Newcastle.
Lipstick on a pig
Long & Co’s rationale for penning this story about the change in Newcastle is that – yes there is change – but this change is happening internally and externally at the same time. The change might have been a vision among some (politicians, Renew Newcastle, frustrated business leaders), then realised by an early minority (property developers and architects), and now the rest of us are starting to believe it.
There is a saying “to put lipstick on a pig”. The traditional meaning of this is that no amount of lipstick (e.g. paint) can make up for an ugly pig (e.g. bad product). We are not so sure this saying stacks up in our case. In our humble view, we are witnessing a Newcastle who is definitely reaching into its purse and applying a bright red lipstick like it’s nobody’s business. This lipstick allows us the confidence to know we are nobody’s pig. And that is precisely the impact brand and marketing can have. It has the ability to change things. Inside and out.
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