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Blog post
September 3, 2019

A Step In The Right Direction

Here at Isentia, wellness is a focus and working in an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak openly about troubling issues without fear or stigma is important to our culture of inclusivity and respect. We believe being part of an organisation that are advocates for diverse employment and fair treatment are important values and having a healthy mindset is just as important. We also love to lend a hand to local and national fundraising organisations wherever we can and support social issues that resonate with us.

With this in mind, it sparked an idea to combine health and wellness whilst also participating in a charitable activity. We wanted to raise funds for a great cause, get fit and have fun at the same time and so 11 Melbourne Isentians formed a running club and participated in the Run Melbourne 10km. Our charity of choice was White Ribbon. 

We trained hard and with the help of Strava, we were able to stay accountable with our training and also track our progress. Running through the Melbourne winter was a challenge in itself, but slowly and surely our fitness and running pace increased week by week and we were feeling confident about the 10km run. Many of us achieved our fastest times, motivating us to continue training and recruit more people into our running club.

Over a three-week campaign, our team collectively raised $1,375 for White Ribbon, it was great so many of our colleagues, friends and family were supportive of us participating in the event as well as supporting this great cause. 

Where are we running off to next? Watch this space…

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In our third edition of Isentia Conversations: Communicating through Change, we chat with Rochelle Courtenay, the Founder and Managing Director of Share the Dignity. Rochelle talks to us about how she stays connected with over 6,000 volunteers across Australia and how she motivates those teams to work to end period poverty.

Isentia’s Insights Director, Ngaire Crawford also shares some of the trends seen across social and traditional media about home not always being the safest place for some people, and how social communities can help combat this.

Because many of us are working from home, we saw this webinar series as an opportunity to connect with each other, learn from subject matter experts and hear their stories, as we adapt to a new way of working.

https://youtu.be/uphrqGuXO7w?list=PL6mOcXpe0JCOp0LlpmFdkDIRdfMBuNiKk

Ngaire Crawford from Isentia talks feeling safe and secure at home

4:55 - Although most of us are now working from home, home isn’t always the safest place for everybody.

5:25 - The main topics currently reported on mainstream media:

  1. The increase in family violence - a topic that has been present since the lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand.
  2. Connectivity and education - there is concern about people not having access to the right equipment or  not having good enough internet connectivity for homeschooling.
  3. Poverty during lockdown - there are restrictions in place to stay at home and access to food more controlled than ever before. Food specials are a thing of the past and fresh food may be more difficult to get.

8:55 - Within ANZ, data shows people are searching online about the rules for lockdown. What are they? Are they doing the right thing? What are the policies?

9:10 - On social media, people are reaching out and using their social channels to create connection, to remind everyone to check in on people and be a source of safety. During March, references to being scared and feeling unsafe more than doubled across ANZ.

Cluster topics driven by COVID-19 for feeling unsafe included: Rates, self-isolation, stress and mental health. 

Cluster topics driven by COVID-19 for feeling scared included: Government, kids, workers, rent, supermarket, police, trust and social media. 

10:15 - It’s important to see the good in social media right now - it’s the greatest facilitator of social connection. Not only can people reach out to others directly, toxic people and unhelpful communication can be called out very quickly. Always use your common sense when using social media, check your sources and investigate claims before relying on them.

13:13 - The importance of community

  • Communicating with your social media audiences and communities is valuable during this time. 
  • See the good that people are doing as well as the innovation.
  • Listen to your audience and ask for feedback. We’re all in our homes and more conversational than ever.
  • Be genuine and authentic when talking to your audience, if you look as though you are doing the right thing, then people will be on board. 
  • Follow on social media those affected most from lockdown and watch what they are doing and how they’ve adapted their businesses.
  • Watch cancel culture on Twitter, understand what’s driving people to call out brands and public figures on social media.

Rochelle Courtenay from Share the Dignity talks staying connected and keeping your teams motivated

15:45 - For the past five years, Rochelle has also been known as the ‘Pad Lady’. Share the Dignity was created after Rochelle read about the high number of Australian homeless women who didn’t have access to essential sanitary items. 

Twice a year, she drives two collections for sanitary items and runs the ‘It’s in the bag’ campaign each December. For this initiative, every day Australians are asked to fill a bag with essential items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary items, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and soap. For a woman who is fleeing domestic violence, it may have been weeks since she has brushed her teeth, so these basic items are essential for these women in need.

16:56 - Communicating online to her ‘Shero’ and ‘Hero’ volunteers has been the norm for Rochelle since she founded Share the Dignity. Using ‘Workplace’ for their intranet, internal communications via announcements to all 5,783 volunteers is easy and effective. 

17:45 - The most important thing when communicating is to be authentic and genuine.  We ensure the most important people (Sheroes and Heroes) within our charity are kept informed and are at the forefront of everything that’s done. We ensure our communication comes from the heart first and our heads second.

19:03 - Reinforce the message you are trying to communicate. With charities, it’s important to remind volunteers (and staff members) why they are doing the work they are doing. Often, different types of communication are developed to cater for different communication preferences. Videos are recorded and also written up to deliver the same message.

19:58 - Since COVID-19, Share the Dignity has adopted new engagement initiatives on social media. The most recent; a Mother’s Day campaign where the community was asked to share their favourite photo with their mum. The campaign encouraged people to connect and engage with one another, to share stories, smiles, tears and laughter. It was a great way to create a community within a community. It’s important to help people within your community through difficult times.

24:30 - A key part of running a charity is to sustain volunteers’ passion. We do this by sharing stories about the women they have helped and continue to help.  We make sure they know how much of a difference they are making to someone else’s life.

If you would like to view other Webinar Isentia Conversations: Communicating through Change:

Isentia Conversations: with Katherine Newton from RU OK? 

Isentia Conversations: with Bec Brown from The Comms Department

Isentia Conversations: with Rachel Clements at Centre for Corporate Health

Isentia Conversations: with Helen McMurdo at MTV

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Blog
Isentia Conversations: with Rochelle Courtenay from Share the Dignity

Because many of us are working from home, we saw this webinar series as an opportunity to connect with each other, learn from subject matter experts and hear their stories, as we adapt to a new way of working.

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Case Study
RUOK? Day Campaign

R U OK? uses the insights Isentia provides to plan and evaluate its campaigns. Revealing the messages that get attention and how different audiences engage each year.

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When it comes to reputation management, understanding your audience perception puts you a step ahead. Learning your audiences frustrations and what drives them, provides insight into how to positively engage with them. As a PR or comms professional, knowing which audience segment impacts or influences your brand reputation is key, especially when sharing messaging.

Reputation is important at the best of times, yet throughout the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies gained the media spotlight whilst their reputation was under scrutiny. As a result, they had to act swiftly and develop new vaccines for immediate and long term use on a global scale.

How do audiences perceive the pharmaceutical industry?

Since the pandemic, we've learned companies are expected to lead. Large companies that failed to take significant actions lost reputation. Those that acted on the opportunities presented to them, flourished. To build or maintain a positive reputation, companies needed to become agile and evolve their operations. 

By using media monitoring and audience intelligence tools, brand reputation and audience perception can be tracked and managed by monitoring traditional and social data, news and industry-specific artificial intelligence (AI). 

Audience perception comes from customer experience, functionality and reputation across mainstream and social media conversations. With social media being an unfiltered platform, it can be hard for brands to control their narrative. However, when you know what your audience is saying about your brand, you can better understand the influential voices and outlets leading the conversations. Monitoring traditional and social media allows you to:

The change in audience sentiment

As an industry that’s responsible for the research, development, production and distribution of medications around the world, having a positive reputation is invaluable.

Pharmaceutical companies frequently use social media to communicate health concerns, new advancements and potential outbreaks. Furthermore, they have been in the spotlight for the past 24 months, helping a society navigate through COVID-19 and out of lockdowns.

The pandemic led to a rapid change in public sentiments over a short span of time. People expressed sentiments of joy and gratitude toward good health, yet sadness and anger at the loss of life and stay at home orders. 

It’s important to understand audience perception toward health-related content, and how your audience perceives the news you share or is shared about you. As the world turned to pharmaceutical companies for vaccines, heightened media coverage meant the public were listening, watching and paying more attention than ever before. This gave those companies the opportunity to redefine what they stand for.

Australian trust in pharmaceutical companies versus global country average. Source: Ipsos and Statista

The role of social media

Historically, the sector had been tarnished by bad publicity. However, the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor 2021 report revealed pharmaceutical companies are now seen as more trustworthy than they were three years ago. 62% of Australians say they trust pharmaceuticals, in comparison to a global country average of 31%.

Social media intelligence plays an important role in how audiences discover, research and share information about a brand or product. Pharmaceutical companies need to continue their connection with their audiences, through storytelling. With this, they can influence a positive narrative and maintain the positive shift in reputation.

During the pandemic, Pfizer dominated social media. On Twitter, Pfizer was the most mentioned company compared to other competitors during the same period. Conversations about the actual brand were not as popular as vaccines, yet social media buzz was inline with Pfizer's consequential milestones and notable events during the pandemic.

Audience perception on twitter

With company mentions of this calibre, there’s no denying the number of conversations involving pharmaceutical companies. Audiences are talking in an unfiltered manner. Whether it's about their credibility, reputation, or the effectiveness of treatments, there’s no escaping the global conversations about the pharmaceutical industry.


Companies cannot afford to ignore conversations that could influence their reputation. Rather than treating it as something beyond their control, using reputation management tools within a media intelligence platform can assist in rolling out a more effective and efficient comms strategies on both traditional and social media.

The power of audience perception

A recent study on Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis by our sister company, Pulsar, shows a topic that is considered an intensely private conversation, has since moved online. An analysis was performed on the relationship between influential figures and wider audiences.

The below chart shows what the engagement metrics look like for the 19 most-engaged with accounts describable as either dermatologist, esthetician, medical doctor, nurse or pharmacist. 

From this chart it tells us dermatologists hold authority in this conversation with three of the highest engagement tallies originating from dermatology accounts. This suggests their audience trust their expertise and are favourably perceived.

Comparing the mentions and engagements of the top 19 influencers, by engagement, in the atopic dermatitis and eczema conversation. Sept 2020- Oct 2022. Source: Pulsar TRAC.

Audience perception on twitter
Audiences engaging in the conversation around both eczema/atopic dermatitis and medicalised skincare on Twitter, set against the more general eczema/atopic dermatitis conversation over the same period. Sept 2020 – Oct 2022. Source: Pulsar TRAC.

The above chart shows a comparison analysis on audiences engaging in conversations around both eczema/atopic dermatitis and medicalised skincare on Twitter. This is set against the more general eczema/atopic dermatitis conversation over the same period (Sept 2020 - Oct 2022).

Healthcare professionals remain a significant presence. Viewing the two audiences alongside each other:

  • Young black communities cohere into the single largest community.
  • LGBTQ+ communities emerge as a far greater presence in the wider conversation. 

From this study, we can see there is a seamless loop between conversation analysis and audience segmentation. This allows for a dynamic view of how each community talks about a topic differently. 

3 pillars to consider when repairing brand reputation

1. Be active and engaged on your social networks to help control the conversations. Turning the mythology around can be difficult, but with a compelling or positive evergreen story, it can change the perception audiences have about your company.

2. Monitor what is being said. Negative news gets more attention. This creates unwanted negative conversations and commentary. Tracking analytics, such as media mentions, share of voice and media outlets with a media intelligence solution allows you to keep a vigilant eye on the type of media coverage you’re receiving. When repairing a negative reputation, at least 35% of the company’s share of voice should involve company representatives.

3. Create a recovery roadmap to deliver on business improvements. Be transparent and authentic when it comes to communicating to customers and stakeholders. This will help with rebuilding trust and repairing your reputation. 

When a company needs to repair their reputation there is a need to use sources of traditional and social media. These will form the pillars of their repair strategy. These pillars can support a comms strategy with real-time data, identifying what's working and what isn’t.

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Blog
Reputation Management: How Important is Audience Perception?

Reputation management is crucial for any brand. With unfiltered social media, it is critical to understand your audience perception.

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Image of falling stock prices in a crisis on a blue background

In today's fast-paced world, audience intelligence is critical to crisis management. By understanding who your audience is and what they want, you can more effectively manage a crisis. 

The constantly changing landscape of the internet and social media can make it difficult to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, the vast amount of data available can be overwhelming and make it difficult to identify the most important information.

Getting a hold of the narrative in the media is crucial. It's inevitable that at some point, your brand will receive negative press. Whether it's a simple misunderstanding or a full-blown crisis, bad press can have a serious impact on your brand's progress. 

Surviving a crisis: Optus & BeReal

Crisis management bar graph of Optus data breach mentions in the media
More than 100,00 mentions of Optus in the media since the data breach announcement.

On 21 September, there was a data breach of telecommunications company Optus where many of its customers’ information were compromised. In response, the company adopted a cautious and controlled approach in delivering its external communications. 

However, the approach allowed the media as well as social media to swirl negative narratives about the company’s “inaction”. In the three weeks after the announcement that its databases had been hacked, there were more than 123,000 mentions of the company in the media. 

In this instance, addressing a crisis quickly to minimize the impact on your business is critical. Seeing a spike in media coverage becomes a good barometer of how negative sentiment can escalate against your brand. 

In another example, rising social media app BeReal suffered a shutdown in September. The app focuses on users being authentic in their posts by prompting them to post pictures of themselves at random times of the day. With almost 15 million downloads of its app in September alone, the shutdown caused a stutter in its communications approach.

Image of BeReal tweet on shutdown
Source: Twitter

With a single tweet acknowledging the shutdown of its service, users were left puzzled as to what had happened. Media queries were left unanswered. This silence by the social media platform led to high-profile news sites such as Yahoo and TechCrunch covering the shutdown. 

This is a highly risky communication approach in an extremely competitive market of social media platforms. Social media giant TikTok rolled out its version of BeReal while Instagram has begun testing the function. 

Image of tweet on BeReal shutdown and crisis management
Source: Twitter

The lack of transparency during a crisis such as a shutdown can lead to negative publicity and a loss of trust in the company. If users are not given clear information about why an app is shutting down, they may feel ‘lost’ and ultimately lose them as users

7 things to consider for your crisis management strategy

While it's impossible to completely avoid negative press, there are steps you can take to manage it and protect your brand's reputation.

1. Acknowledge the crisis & remain transparent

In the hyper-speed age of information-sharing and social media, it's more crucial than ever to be open and honest with your audience. 

When something goes wrong, don't try to hide it - own up to it and let people know what you're doing to fix the problem. 

Being open and transparent will help build trust with your audience and show that you are committed to making things right.

2. If it happens in your industry, it's your crisis

When a crisis strikes your competitor, there is no time to revel in their troubles. On another day, the crisis could happen to your brand and the scrutiny would be as intense as it was for your competitors. 

Take notes of what is happening in the media and quickly facilitate actions to counter any possible scrutiny that might come your way. These actions must be part of your crisis management plan.

3. Anticipate and monitor the crisis

In the high-speed world of audience intelligence, crisis management is essential to protecting your brand. Rapid response and proactive communication are key to mitigating the damage of a negative event. 

By monitoring the conversations online and identifying potential risks, you can take steps to prevent a crisis before it happens. If a crisis does occur, having a plan in place will help you quickly contain the situation and protect your organisation's reputation.

Make sure you have a media monitoring function so that you can monitor the escalating spread of news. Additionally, a social media intelligence platform can identify topical discussions your audience are engaged in.

4. Don't argue, trivialise or act defensively

Crisis management is the process by which an organisation deals with a major disruptive event. It's critical to remember that in a crisis, your audience is seeking reassurance and guidance on the issues.

Therefore, it's essential that you don't argue, trivialise or act defensively. Instead, you need to be calm, informative and decisive in your actions. This will help to instill confidence in your audience and allay the media pressure to give you space to address the crisis.

5. Keep it short and sweet

The message you send out must be brief and informative in order to effectively manage the crisis. Getting involved in a large-scale debate is not advisable because it distracts your focus from finding solutions. 

A brand crisis can be a very difficult situation to navigate. Your audience is interested in what you are going to do next and what will happen to them. It's important to keep your audience updated on what is happening and what you are doing to resolve the issue.

6. Address your most important audience

In the event of a crisis, it's essential to quickly identify your key audiences and address their concerns. For a fast-moving consumer goods or a services organisation, the customer comes first because they are the primary audience of interest. 

It also depends on what type of crisis it's. If there is a workplace safety and security matter, it's better to address your employees first and reassure them on resolving the crisis. 

Ultimately, it's best to identify key audiences and have various sources of information to implement this preemptive approach. From discovering communities in social media narratives to stakeholders of your business, keeping the flows of communication open is a priority.

7. Keep authorities and the media on your side

In the event of a crisis, it's essential to effectively communicate with the authorities and the media. Provide updates to the media and work with authorities to ensure that they are kept informed of the situation. By having a good relationship with them, the crisis is managed effectively and the negative impact on your business is minimised.

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Blog
Crisis management with audience intelligence

Crisis management is crucial for any brand. In today’s social media-driven world, a brand crisis can quickly spiral out of control.

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