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June 25, 2019

Confidence, complexity and thinking beyond the first step

Worry is a terrible use of imagination.

Worry, fear and second guessing are everywhere. It’s hard to say if it’s at an all-time high or if it just feels like it with the rise of fake news, social media amplification and the proliferation of stories that keep our minds hunting for the truth. Whatever the reason, we seem to be entering an age where there are no breaks or breathers for our consciousness to just stop and focus on what we can discern as truth, or measure with certainty. We are knee-deep in thoughts and worry, not just between 9-5pm, but now 24/7 and 365 days a year – there is noise all around us.

Of course, there is the other side of the coin that says all this complexity has only made us clearer about our collective want for simplicity. We crave confidence, feelings of clarity, the ability to see a path, and to pinpoint the underlying message before we try to forecast the future. With books like ‘It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America’ by David Cay Johnston on one side and ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson on the other, it’s easy to agree that 2017 may have been a little overwhelming. 

However, if we spend too much time worrying, we leave no room for imagination. We waste energy on what might be, and not on what could be. Yes, the line is very similar, but it has a distinct difference. Imagination chooses to see possibilities – it’s best friends with innovation, and in a business context it can help you regain focus on your desired end goal.

This isn’t to say that you never think beyond the first step when developing your communication strategy, influence program or press release. This is crucial to ensure you’ve thought everything through thoroughly, but also should include things like risk register that will help you minimize risk, accept the things you can’t control, and make the decision to go ahead with the knowledge that you have done what you can to avoid late night worries.

Once you’re off it’s about having the tools in place to reduce worry and creating time for imagination or innovation. We like to fight worry with confidence. Our clients often use our Mediaportal Alerts or the Isentia App to alert them to news that needs attention, giving them peace of mind that someone else is on the case and the freedom to use their mind elsewhere. Or in some cases, it’s going to bed knowing that they will get an early morning daily brief of news coverage so that they can start the day with a clearer picture of what to priorities.  Whatever’s going to give you back some confidence to let your mind refocus on producing more amazingness, do it.

You won’t regret a good idea. But you will regret the ones you never discover.

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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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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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Optimise your customers' journey across all touchpoints to achieve a holistic and customer-centric experience

Customers now have a powerful voice in sharing their experiences and with it, comes an expectation for actions to take place as a result of their feedback. In our digital world, customer data is nearly limitless – but people are much more than data. Their lives are defined by driving wants, needs and desires with an endless amount of choice and more often than not, brands believe they are delivering a better experience to these people than they actually are.

For those brands or organisations that choose to close the experience gap and embrace maximising the customer experience (CX), are finding themselves in a race to the top. By understanding what drives your customers’ decisions and the other influences that are out there, you can improve overall business growth and success over your competitors by making decisions based on customer intelligence.

Optimising the customer experience

A customer’s feedback has the power to transform your organisation through innovation and by improving their overall experience it can reduce customer churn. No matter where your organisation is in terms of CX maturity or customer feedback management, it is important to have access to customer insights in order to implement strategies to retain them. 

Here are 3 steps to maximising the customer experience:

1.       Illustrate the customer journey

The customer experience is made up of many customer journeys – the path customers take to solve a problem or need. The better experience your customers have with your brand or service, the more engaged they become, and the more opportunities become available. Having a great customer experience can also promote customer loyalty and as long you continuously optimise every element along their journey you will have satisfied customers.

Understanding the steps of your customers journey through various touchpoints, engagements and interactions with your brand will help to properly target your customers and understand their requirements and their pain points. Divide the customer journey into phases and pay close attention to each component by measuring the outcomes, collecting feedback and applying this feedback where possible. This will maximise customer success.

2.       Drive value from experience data

Looking at both quantitative and qualitative approaches across various facets of your business must be considered to give a complete picture of your customer data. Looking at one source will only give an incomplete representation.

Customer experience is more than sending surveys and collecting feedback – having this information is important but it’s also about enriching and humanising the experience and using these unique experiences to create a positive customer centric culture. Sharing insights and developing processes to improve the customer experience and create business value allows the best experience possible. It also generates the maximum return on your efforts. Obtaining this information can be done through swapping knowledge between cross functional groups by identifying where there are gaps as well as what's working well. A team dashboard can also be created that specifically looks at different touchpoints and their success. Whatever data you do gather, turn it into actionable insights that directly improve your customers 'experience.

3.       Learn from churn when it happens

Reducing customer churn is always sought after, however is quite difficult to achieve. Churn happens from poor experiences (both operational and strategic) and can have a drastic effect on your bottom line but it can also be helpful and insightful for your brand to learn and improve. For the customers you’re not able to prevent from churning, be sure to find out why they decided to move on. Conduct a short exit interview with the customer to understand their experiences and their pain points and take this knowledge to make improvements.

Fundamentally, it’s important to ensure a positive customer experience to encourage your customers to build brand loyalty. Customers hold the power in today’s business landscape which is why seeking feedback on their experiences is valuable to your brand or organisations' performance and reputation.

Happy customer, happy life.

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Experiences are the new differentiators

Optimise your customers’ journey across all touchpoints to achieve a holistic and customer-centric experience

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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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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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