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Blog post
June 24, 2019

A two way street

The common stereotype an internship is one from the movies of a young student rushing to work with a tray of coffees in one hand and the boss’s dry cleaning in the other. While there are certainly negative internships out there, my personal experience interning at Isentia has been a valuable opportunity to learn and develop.

During my internship at Isentia I have been exposed to client interactions, assisted in the production of external-facing work, and developed my research capabilities. However, I believe that the most valuable lesson for an intern is to develop their confidence and sense of value as a young professional. 

Professional discourse often describes the working journey as a ladder, indicating a strict hierarchy with a singular direction. I’ve found that unlike the ladder model, the culture at Isentia is one that allows for a valuable overlap of experience and open communication, with senior and junior members providing insights and ideas in collaborative discussions. This is an ideal environment for an intern in being able to ask for guidance and develop the confidence to provide input.

I believe the greatest challenge for an intern is to find the balance of following instruction and delivering what is expected, while also taking a critical and independent approach to add value and improve the outcome. It may take years for me to develop this confidence, however, during my short time at Isentia I’ve strived to be solutions-oriented when undertaking tasks and provide valuable support to the team.

It should be said that internships are an opportunity that many cannot afford, creating a gap of experience between those who have the privilege and time to undertake an internship, and those who do not. If you decide to hire an intern you should keep it in mind that many are interning on top of work and their studies with the aim of learning, advancing their experience and gaining exposure to the industry. When an intern is supported and given challenging work they can grow and harvest profits for your team and organisation.

The Isentia team members are diverse in background, and bring different skills and unique perspectives to the table to form an interesting and collaborative culture. I’ve found the team, as well as the wider office, hugely welcoming and supportive of my learning journey, taking the time to answer my questions and explain tasks. Thanks to them, my experience at Isentia has largely been a positive one.

Beattie Tow
Intern from University of Technology Sydney

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Interning at Isentia was enriching and fulfilling

I had the pleasure of interning at Isentia, and my experience was nothing short of wonderful. 

Having only just graduated from university, I could not help but feel slightly apprehensive starting my internship. However, from my very first day, I was greeted with friendly faces all around the office. Before I knew it, I was having morning coffees with my team mates, and soon my colleagues became familiar friends. I was pleasantly surprised by how inclusive and positive the culture proved to be. 

My leader and colleagues from the marketing team were patient when it came to sharing knowledge and took the time to give me tasks that enhanced my learning experience. 

During my internship I gained a deeper understanding how to execute a social media campaign. The planning that goes behind each campaign was so extensive and detailed, which I found intimidating initially, but nevertheless proved to be a great learning experience. For example, I was introduced to the concept of publishing paid advertisements, SEO and content creation. I was even given the chance to write blogs, a responsibility I took on-board with great enthusiasm. 

My experience was not limited to marketing, I was fortunate enough to get involved with the client experience team, where I learnt more about Mediaportal and the amazing insight services Isentia provides. Time flew by quickly and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow.

Isentia isn’t all about working hard; it provides a holistic experience with various social activities and events so everyone has a chance to get to know each other better and learn about the different roles that help to make everything happen. 

I am a strong believer in an enriching environment and Isentia has exceeded my expectations as a company, which teaches and places value in those who work there. The knowledge I have gained is invaluable, and I am thankful for the friendships I have made along the way. 

I highly recommend working at Isentia and leave the team feeling much more confident of the future ahead - a big thanks to everyone who added to my experience.

 Nicole C.
Sydney University, Marketing Graduate

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My experience as an Isentia Intern, Nicole

Interning at Isentia was enriching and fulfilling

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How would I sum up my experience as an intern for Isentia? Interesting, rewarding, challenging, and engaging.

Hi, my name is Allan. I am currently an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering and Business Management student studying at the University of Technology, Sydney – and have recently completed an internship with Isentia’s HR department.

First of all, you might be wondering what an Engineer is doing as a HR Intern – they don’t exactly fit together, do they? It was for this reason that I was initially hesitant in applying for the role as I didn’t know whether it would align with what I wanted out of my future, or whether I would be a good fit.

However, I soon learnt that being an intern with Isentia was a rewarding and interesting role, not to mention the fact that I was also surrounded by a group of incredibly supportive and knowledgeable people.

Having put myself forward as a mentee for the Australian Human Resources Institute’s mentoring program, I was inspired to learn more – an interest that ultimately led me to this exciting role.

Being an HR intern at Isentia wasn’t just any job – I took on this role because of the challenges it would provide to explore a different area of expertise. And yes, there were definitely new and interesting projects waiting to test my capabilities!

I do have to admit, I always seemed to find myself applying a bit of my engineering experience to the way I undertook each task, but I think this was an approach that helped bring a new and alternative perspective to the team. Who knows, maybe I taught them something new too?!

Along with the day-to-day operations of a HR department, I also gained skills across areas such as policy development, the intricacies of an intranet, and how a strategic HR function operates within a large business.

I would highly recommend Isentia for all future interns wishing to challenge themselves with something new and exciting – I certainly loved my time there and will carry that experience with me throughout my career!

Allan Soo 
Student from the University of Technology, Sydney NSW
Combined Degree in Business Management (Hons) and Mechanical Engineering (Hons)

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Blog
An unforgettable, positive and awesome experience

How would I sum up my experience as an intern for Isentia? Interesting, rewarding, challenging, and engaging.

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The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, as they can significantly influence public perceptions and shape the narrative surrounding key industry players.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicRelations/comments/1aukych/australia_woolies_ceo_interview_mishap/?share_id=S-JDSwqI-UlHg_mIeTlkg&utm_content=2&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_source=share&utm_term=1

It was only the latest in a series of media items to seize Australia’s attention, and cast the nation’s supermarkets into something of a PR and Comms crisis.

And yet, viewing events through this framing also only gives a partial picture. As the discussion surrounding the impact of supermarkets on the rising cost of living intensifies, we've observed a notable surge in the usage of terms such as 'shrinkflation' and 'skimpflation'. Reaching back even further, we can see how the topics attained a gradually greater place on Australian news and social channels. Shrinkflation and skimpflation are tactics employed by supermarkets during economic challenges. Shrinkflation involves reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, subtly passing on costs to consumers. Skimpflation maintains product sizes but compromises on quality to preserve profit margins. These strategies often frustrate supermarket shoppers, especially during economic strains like inflation.

Clearly, the topic has become ubiquitous. But if we want to understand how information and perceptions have been communicated to mainstream Australian audiences, then it becomes vitally important to pay particular attention to broadcast media. 

Broadcast media (which includes television, radio and podcasts)  plays a pivotal role in shaping public discourse and influencing perceptions, particularly on pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis. 

Using Isentia to monitor these data sources, we gain valuable insights into their contribution to consumer attitudes. From identifying which organisations are most associated with the issue to pinpointing key public figures and preferred channels within radio and TV, broadcast media monitoring allows us to understand the complex dynamics that shape public opinion.

It’s the oldest of these media types which accounts for the most mentions of the supermarket crisis. Beyond reporting updates on the senate inquiry and government actions, radio excels in facilitating in-depth conversations between hosts and listeners, which surfaces more individual consumer stories than television or podcasts can match.

ABC's predominant coverage of the topic corresponds with the network's content strategy. Major programs such as the Supermarket Four Corners special and podcasts like The Briefing attract substantial listenership and garner attention from other channels. Channel 7, in addition to delivering key news updates, focuses on the shopper experience within supermarkets, shedding light on everyday challenges faced by audiences, such as navigating shrinkflation and skimpflation tactics.

Understanding the majority share of broadcast channels within this topic is important as it reflects who has the loudest voice, and is most persistently advancing a certain narrative or way of framing the situation. 

Coles and Woolworths dominate the conversation, reflecting their prominent presence in the retail landscape. Their widespread accessibility and familiarity to consumers make them prime subjects for discussion in the context of rising costs and economic pressures. 

Conversely, Aldi and IGA, while still significant players in the grocery market, may receive comparatively less focus in these discussions. Aldi's reputation for offering lower-priced alternatives and IGA's decentralised business model, with independently owned stores, may also contribute to their reduced presence in conversations about supermarket practices during times of economic strain. 

Each channel and network approaches discussions about supermarket groups differently. While Coles and Woolworths understandably dominate each station's broadcasts, the precise balance (and the time afforded to Adi and IGA) is revealing.

For instance, 4BC has encouraged audiences to diversify their shopping habits, with one 4BC broadcaster highlighting that "Aldi and IGA are actually doing more than the other two to really help enormously with the cost of living."

In the discourse on supermarket practices during the cost of living crisis, a number key figures emerge across broadcast channels. Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, is predictably prominent on just about every channel, particularly broadcaster 2SM. 

All of them, that is, apart from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which spotlights Allan Fels, an economist and former ACCC chair who has analysed price gouging by major corporations. Other notable politicians mentioned include Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Craig Emerson, Steven Miles, and David Littleproud. 

Media's focus on these figures is crucial for shaping public discourse and policy responses amid economic pressures. While supermarkets are often discussed as a key antagonist in the cost of living crisis, they are increasingly being viewed in the context of potential solutions, particularly regarding government policy to regulate supermarket giants.

At the same time, focus does not only fall on the prominent individuals driving business decisions and policymaking. Country Hour (NSW), for instance, focused a story on cherry grower Michael Cuneo, who ceased selling to supermarkets after he made a financial loss on a shipment of fruit. And it was this story that achieved the greatest media reach of any radio content on the topic.  

Clearly then, the topic has not played out in any one way across any one channel. The prominence of key figures and top broadcast channels in this conversation underscores the importance of understanding how media coverage impacts public discourse and regulatory decisions. Isentia's broadcast capabilities offer unparalleled insight into the role of broadcast media in shaping the narrative surrounding supermarket practices. By harnessing Isentia's monitoring and analysis tools, organisations can gain deep insights into how influential discourse and coverage can impact an industry. 

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How Australian broadcast media has shaped the cost of living crisis narrative

The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, […]

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The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals, with people facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences. 

What’s driving the cost of living concerns?

A range of factors are driving the cost of living in Australia, with some having more of an impact than others. Using data from our sister company, Pulsar, inflation (as the overarching issue) is gaining the most media coverage as the price of goods and services continues to increase over time.

The top drivers of the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 2023

The chart also shows the rise in energy costs, interest rates, and housing prices (rent and mortgage prices) as other main drivers for cost of living concerns. As energy prices continue to increase, households are feeling the pinch as their expenses soar. And when it comes to housing, whether it's the skyrocketing rent or the burden of increasing mortgage payments, many individuals and families are finding it increasingly challenging to secure affordable accommodation.

Let’s take a closer look at these topics.

Energy fuels the discussion

Energy sources and prices are hot topics in the media, impacting households, affordability, and vulnerable populations. But a troubling discrepancy emerged in the May 2023 Budget: businesses got more attention than households in energy relief measures. Surprisingly, only 13% of media coverage focused on the struggles faced by individuals, while a whopping 29% centered around the politics and policies of Australian businesses. This raises valid concerns about whether the media is truly addressing the needs of Australian communities.

The energy narrative and the cost of living

Sectors feeling the heat of media scrutiny

Media outlets play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing the cost of living. When it comes to specific energy sectors, they have become the subject of intense media scrutiny. Data from our Energy Transition report shows that coal and gas are in the hot seat, with a significant portion of media coverage - 43% for coal and 26% for gas - dedicated to discussing these fossil fuels. This media focus highlights the ongoing conversations surrounding the environmental impact of coal and gas, their contribution to climate change, economic considerations, and the urgent need for policy changes to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Feeling the pinch

The cost of living crisis goes beyond numbers; it’s intertwined with the housing market and interest rates. Escalating housing costs, fueled by rising prices and interest rates, can put immense strain on household budgets, leading to financial stress and widening economic inequality.

But the conversation doesn't stop there. The story behind the data is clear: the cost of living is an issue that affects us all, and the media plays a crucial role in shaping and amplifying the conversation. Google searches and social media activity reflect people’s ongoing concern about the weight of living expenses, especially around RBA announcements. Anxiety emerges as a dominant theme, with a staggering 93% of media coverage highlighting the keyword.

cost of living comparisons
Source: Isentia (print, online, broadcast), Pulsar TRENDS (Twitter), Google Trends, May 1 - July 30 2023

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows living costs have reached an all-time high. Over the past 12 months, all living cost indices have risen between 7.1 percent and 9.6 percent for all households, compared to a 7 percent annual increase in inflation.

The difference largely stems from living cost indices taking into account mortgage interest charges. Housing and interest rates have been the largest contributors to the rise in the cost of living, with home owners feeling the pinch from rising mortgage payments and renters feeling the brunt of it. According to the RBA, the average mortgage size in Australia has increased by 38% in the past decade. According to Pulsar data, unsurprisingly, 84% of Australians are left feeling sad about the cost of living. 

Influential figures shaping the conversation

Data from the Pulsar Platform gives a visual snapshot of how several Australian and foreign individuals and groups are influencing the conversation, including politicians, economists, consumer advocacy groups, and business owners.

who is talking about the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 31 May 2023. Influential people and organisations

Unsurprisingly, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds significant influence when it comes to shaping the cost of living conversation in Australia’s political landscape. As the governing body in Australian Parliament, their policies and initiatives subjectively bear the everyday Australian in mind, aiming to tackle the affordability challenges that many face. The ALP resonates with citizens worried about rising living costs due to its focus on income inequality, social justice, and fair economic policies. But are they doing enough?

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, along with other influential ALP members including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, and Mick de Brenni, are leading the conversation in an effort to alleviate living expenses and promote income growth. Despite their desire to achieve these outcomes, the public outcry on Twitter shows the frustration Australians are feeling. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are in the firing line, with the public urging more action on the cost of living crisis.

Jim chalmers and the cost of living
online sentiment about the cost of living

How media intelligence can help you navigate the cost of living

Advocacy efforts can be significantly enhanced through the use of social listening and media monitoring. These tools allow you to effectively navigate the dynamic narratives surrounding the cost of living. By tailoring your advocacy approach, you can foster a more equitable and sustainable solution that brings positive change to communities and influences public opinion.

Additionally, by staying well-informed about the ongoing public discourse and trending discussions related to the cost of living, you can develop compelling communication strategies that effectively inform and engage your stakeholders.

Curious about how media intelligence can enhance your communication strategies to connect with your audience? Request a demo here, and our expert team will reach out to help you develop your communication strategies.

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Blog
The Story Behind the Data: Navigating the Cost of Living

The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals. Within our shores, people are facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences.

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