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Blog post
June 24, 2019

How food could influence the way we access news

It’s a familiar scene: friends and family are meeting up for brunch. The coffee is hot, the avocado is smashed and at least one brunch-goer is reaching for the Panadol while avoiding questions about where they ended up last night. And when the food arrives? Everyone waits; not eating until the moment has been captured and posted to Instagram.

Founded in 2010, Instagram has 800 million monthly users worldwide. In the past eight years more than 270 million pictures of food have been posted to Instagram. The influence that Instagram has had on the restaurant industry has been immense. We’re now in an age where food and beverages can go viral, not just tweets and videos. Instagram is a visual medium, and this focus on aesthetics has changed the way we eat when we’re dining out. Photogenic foods have spiked in popularity, and the food that we eat has become brighter and more decorative. At breakfast time, muesli is out and smoothie bowls are in, and the toast has to be topped with avocado.

Its commonplace for menus to now include at least one Instagrammable dish but the food itself is just one part of making a #foodstagram pop. The lighting, the crockery and the tabletop also need to be on point. Social media isn’t just changing the way we eat – it’s also influencing interior design trends. Take it from Teddy Robinson, a creative director for London café-bar chain Grind. “Last year we replaced every table in the company with white marble, just because it looks good on Instagram,” he said. This might seem extreme if you think of this phenomenon as just pictures of food, but Instagram is more than that – it’s become the way that people (particularly millennials) choose where they eat. How Instagrammable a restaurant is can flow directly to the restaurant’s bottom line.

Not every successful restaurant or café needs to be doing Instagram well – but the ones that are have something in common. Emily Arden Wells, the Co-Owner of New York architecture firm Move Matter, often works on the fit out of new restaurants in Manhattan noting that Instagrammability is now being considered from a new restaurant’s blueprint stage. Venues that are succeeding on Instagram have moved mobile and social into the very heart of their supply chain – and they’re taking their millennial customers seriously. Their customers and their devices are considered before the tables are bought, before the menus are designed and before we tell the veggie shop how many avocados we need for Saturday morning.  If successful restaurants have social and millennials at the heart of their supply chain, what does that mean for news outlets?

Devices are already changing the way that we access news. Data from the Pew Research Center in 2017 shows that 85% of adults in the United States access news on their mobile device, at least some of the time. Not surprisingly, this is a trend that is growing – this is an increase on 72% from 2016 and 54% in 2013. Social media usage is also changing the way that news is distributed, with sites like Facebook and Twitter acting as the new gateways to news channels. Analysis of online news traffic backs this up, with Australian outlet ABC News Online sharing figures that compare visits to the homepage, and visits to news articles. Traffic to the homepage is on the decline but eyeballs on articles are increasing, as people discover news content on their Facebook timeline.

Some news outlets are already using devices and social to their advantage. When you log on to the Snapchat Discover page you’ll see outlets like the Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed talking direct to millennials. (At the time of writing, I almost got distracted by a Buzzfeed quiz titled “Pick a donut and we’ll tell u what your friends love + hate about u”). As you scroll down the Discover page you’ll notice more highbrow content – the power of the Snapchat Discover page is not to be underestimated. The Economist received more traffic in its first month on Snapchat Discover than it received in the preceding 12 months to economist.com.

The future isn’t just mobile – there are other, more modern utilities and methods of news delivery already available. If mobile technology can revolutionise the food industry, there’s immense potential for wearable and hearable technology to disrupt the media landscape. Hearable technology and Conversational UI is already delivering news information via Alexa and Google Home – as our virtual personal assistants get to know us better, does this mean they can deliver us even more relevant, timely information? Spotify and Netflix have already acclimatised us to the micropayment economy and people are increasingly happy to pay small amounts more frequently for quality and convenience. Rather than paywalls and digital subscriptions, would I pay for an alert on a traffic incident that meant I wouldn’t be late to birthday party?

There’s a lot of buzz around ideas like Spotify for News, News-flix and ideas that tie to the end of ownership and to micro-payments. The most buzz has been around a Dutch service called Blendle which claims half a million registered users in Europe and is now looking at the US. Most items on Blendle, which come from lots of different outlets, cost between 10 cents and 90 cents and come with a money-back guarantee: you only pay for stories you actually read – and if you then don’t like them, you can ask for your money back.

I don’t have all the answers but it’s important that we’re thinking about this. How can we prepare for continuous change in the news and content industries? The future is already here, we just need to harness it.

Ally Garrett, CX Director at Isentia
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Leading integrated media intelligence business, Isentia, has been recognised for its cutting edge digital platform, Mediaportal, after being listed on the Australian Financial Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2017.

Earlier this year, Isentia launched a suite of product innovations for Mediaportal, powering it with machine-learning functionality. This technology – codenamed ‘Huxley’ – provides clients with valuable insights quickly and accurately, helping busy communications professionals make more informed business decisions.

Huxley enables Isentia to harvest and analyse 7 million unknown media items and millions of other data points every single day. A cloud based platform that takes multiple input services, Huxley applies media item topology and enrichment services, and produces fit-for-purpose data for client facing products and services.

Isentia’s innovative approach to real data intelligence includes a continuous R&D strategy for Mediaportal and further work in integrating its data capabilities.

Isentia CEO John Croll says, “At Isentia we know the future isn’t written yet – it takes relentless innovation to get us there. But being listed among Australia’s leading and most innovative companies is recognition of the work of our team over the past 12 months and vindication that we’re on the right path when it comes to redefining media intelligence.”

Now in its sixth year, the ranking recongises the top companies in the country, driving innovation across a range of industries. It is judged and compiled by Inventium, Australia’s leading innovation consultancy.

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Media Release
Isentia listed on AFR’s 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2017

Mediaportal listed on the Australian Financial Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2017.

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Photo of stakeholders engaging with insights as part of an organisation strategy

Insights promote action and change with stakeholders

Research, measurement and evaluation needs to promote action with relevant stakeholders including the general public. It’s easy to fall into a trap of measuring something because you think you should or because someone has asked for a few charts on a communication team's activity. But your stakeholder engagement strategy is missing an opportunity to create long term impact with key audiences.   

Stakeholders (internal and external) are an effective resource for driving change and shifting narratives. Stakeholders are a crucial avenue for advocacy of communications activity but are usually not provided with the necessary information. They need motivation to change their behaviour and support your objectives. 

A project that champions this is the Media and Gender research the Isentia insights team produced with Sport New Zealand. This research examines how women are portrayed across sports news in New Zealand and shines a light on where there is work to do. The research itself is engaging and builds rich insight into an area often not looked at on this scale. The most success lies in how research helped motivate and support behaviour change within the primary stakeholder - the media.

Move stakeholders with data-led evidence

Editor of The LockerRoom, Suzanne McFadden, said this study encourages national representation of women in sport,

“A surge in women's sport in NZ media, but a fall in female bylines, highlight the latest Sport NZ study - which also shows where LockerRoom leads the pack.”

Article referencing the research and how it's impacting women in sports coverage by online news publication, RNZ. An example of stakeholder engagement strategy
Article referencing the research and how it's impacting women in sports coverage by online news publication, LockerRoom. An example of stakeholder engagement strategy in action.

Jennie Wylie, Netball New Zealand’s Chief Executive said to Radio New Zealand, that media coverage plays a vital role in female participation in sports,

"What we do know is the cost of our young people not participating in sport, and the gap for young women and girls in that participation, it plays out in terms of media coverage, so if you can't see it, you can't be it."

Sport New Zealand was able to build a stakeholder engagement strategy using data and research that goes beyond numbers. It encourages those at the source of reporting to strive to improve. 

Here are some tips on how to rethink your approach to research and evaluation, so your organisation can do the same: 

4 considerations for your stakeholder engagement strategy

1. Don’t only focus on your own activity

It’s easy to fall into the measurement trap of focusing on your own activity and neglect your audience and sector. It’s important to understand if your communication is successful, but you're missing key opportunities (and threats) that you can only see if your research lens is wider.

2. The value of pre-research

Research performs at its best when used to determine where you should be going instead of only where you’ve been. Bring research into your planning early and give insight into what your audiences already experience as well as their responses and their preferences, so you can tailor your organisation’s activity based on evidence. 

3. Use your evidence to generate conversations

Engage all your stakeholders in the research process and as early as possible to increase their investment in the results, regardless if it means changing their own behaviour. The more measurement and research is collaborative and unites stakeholders within a common purpose, the more effectively it will spur change.

4. Measure more than once

Changing audiences and information requires your organisation’s research lens to focus on what's relevant to your objectives and audiences. 

measurement lens graphic for stakeholder engagement strategy.
A blue and white gradient graphic

Talk to the experts about how Isentia insights can refocus your stakeholder engagement strategy

Ultimately, research should help drive conversations, and in those conversations is where you can create change. It doesn’t always work the first time, so be persistent - it’s worth it! 

Contact us to discuss how we can create a tailored measurement programme that supports your goals.

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Thought Leadership
A targeted stakeholder engagement strategy in 4 steps

To have an impactful stakeholder engagement strategy you must use the right data-led insights to drive interest in your objectives.

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The state of the electric vehicle industry in Malaysia

Malaysia's automotive industry is one of the more environmentally-friendly industries. Various parties, such as the government and local automotive industry players, have continuously sought to promote electric vehicles (EVs). 

The subject of electric vehicles (EV) is growing among the Malaysian public in the social media sphere due to continuous efforts to promote EVs by various parties such as the government, local automotive industry players as well as companies directly involved in several aspects of EV (charging facilities/networks etc.)


Using data from Pulsar, Isentia analysed the conversations surrounding the topic of EV amongst Malaysia's social media users.

 

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How did discussions involving electric vehicles in Malaysia go?

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In this word bank powered by Isentia’s vast datasets, some of the most common keywords used by Malaysians when discussing EVs, apart from the topic itself, are 'drive', 'chargers', and 'battery'. EV is also associated with ‘future’ and ‘expensive’.

Across the country, social media users agreed that Malaysia is lagging behind neighbouring nations (such as Indonesia and Thailand) in EV facilities and vehicle development. They also agree that EVs are only accessible to rich people in the country because of a lack of affordable options and that the Malaysian government and other players should do more to promote electric vehicles as a practical form of transportation.

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What are the audience segments that have been talking about electric cars online?

Malaysian social media users who are more interested in electric vehicles are most interested in watching movies and TV. The three main audience segments include the Conservatives, Technology Enthusiasts, and Innovation Seekers. They are predominantly male audiences aged between 18 and 24. 

They also have high media affinity with Malaysia's prominent media outlets, such as Astro Awani, Bernama, and technology-focused outlets, such as Amanz and Digital News Asia.

 

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Conservatives follow social media accounts of mainstream news outlets and the government (ministers, ministries, agencies etc.) They believe government policies would benefit their daily lives, such as EV-related ones.

Technology enthusiasts seek out exciting posts on new technologies and actively participate in discussions surrounding them. They are advocates of technologies that would make the environment that they live in better, as well as efficient technologies.

Innovation seekers are actively sharing news and involved in conversations about innovations that enhance the development of industries relying on the newest technology. They tend to evolve their lifestyles accordingly and embrace innovations available at their disposal.

 

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What are the catalysts of EV discussions among Malaysians?

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Several points between April and July 2022 peaked due to active discussions among Malaysians on EV:

Launch of Automotive High-Tech Valley on 14 April - The launch would assist in positioning Malaysia as a hub for EV manufacturers and component suppliers to the ASEAN market.

Foxconn announced plans to build a facility in Malaysia on 19 May - Taiwanese company Foxconn plans to build a chip production facility in Malaysia with Malaysia's Dagang NeXchange Berhad to fulfil the demand for EV semiconductors.

Criticism of parking at charging facilities on 10 June - There was criticism towards road users in Malaysia who parked their vehicles at EV charging facilities.

Samsung develops plant in Malaysia on 21 June - Samsung SDI Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd announced that they are developing a RM7 billion plant in Negeri Sembilan to pioneer the EV battery cell industry in the country.

First Range Extended EV developed in Malaysia on 21 July - Mimos Berhad has developed the first Range Extended Electric Vehicle (RE-EV) in Malaysia with the cooperation of Motosikal dan Enjin Nasional Sdn Bhd (Modenas) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).

Get in touch with Isentia today to learn more about what consumers are saying about your brand. 

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Isentia Malaysia Case Study | Electric Vehicle (EV) Conversations in Malaysia’s Social Media Sphere
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How the recent Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code is changing the rules around skincare advertising in Australia.

What has an influencer endorsement or testimonial influenced you to buy lately? Would you have purchased it otherwise? Well, you may see less of this type of advertising in the coming years in Australia. Using Pulsar's recent report on the online conversation on sunscreen and SPF, we can understand how audience intelligence and media monitoring can help organisations direct and target their messaging and operations in response to (for example) significant regulatory changes. 

Last year the Therapeutic Goods Administration announced the release of the new Therapeutic Advertising Code that came into A pivotal reform to the code involves restrictions on testimonials and endorsements of therapeutic goods in advertising, including social media. Influencers were flurrying about how they would continue to promote therapeutic products like sunscreens, skinny teas, collagen powders and the like within Australia. 

The code allows for genuine, unpaid testimonials in advertising. Still, it prohibits influencers from making testimonials or endorsements based on their own experiences due to using a product. They can only stick to communicating the product's aims and purpose as claimed by the product's labelling and instructions. The recommendation must also align with the product's purpose, as the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods records.

So why is this happening, and how can influencers still operate under these new regulations? The TGA ensures that consumers can trust that recommendations are unbiased without the influence of incentives, including gifts. There is a further requirement for social media influencers to include mandatory statements in their advertisements depending on the type of product and its availability to the public. The TGA also highlighted that they aren't making any unusual changes but are just aligning advertising on new platforms with code that previously targeted more traditional forms of advertising.

The code requires all testimonials that are in breach to have been taken down by July 1st.

But some influencers have not taken to the new regulations well, believing the new rules will hinder a critical source of information for consumers and audiences. Australian sunscreen (Naked Sundays) owner Samantha Brett, told the Sydney Morning Herald Emerald City she believes sunscreen should be exempt from the laws asking, "How else will those who are influenced by social media, particularly Millennials who are most at risk of melanoma, be encouraged to use sunscreen every day."

On August 22nd, Got-to Skincare's founder Zoe Foster Blake posted a statement on Instagram to announce the release of a new SPF 50 sunscreen product and how the code impinges people's sun protection practices and knowledge.

“I believe elements of the code have the potential to reverse the momentum public health, cancer awareness groups, and skin specialists have been building for years to ensure Australians wear sunscreen daily”.

Foster-Blake goes on to highlight how some still find sunscreen polarising and unappealing. 

“Many consumers still believe sunscreen is gross, thick, greasy. It’s not.”

But are younger demographics, influenced by social media, confused about sunscreen use? Social discussion would say the answer is yes. Where to apply, how many times to reapply and in what settings is wearing sunscreen necessary are some questions people are asking.

Social media conversation around sunscreen is evolving and recorded by Pulsar as a therapeutic good that goes beyond a necessary use case. Sunscreen is feeling the influences of climate change activists and holistic beauty trend-setters tied to long-term health values.

@sethobrien using the recommended amount of sunscreen for the first time #skincare @cerave ♬ original sound - Sethobrien

Promoting sunscreen and daily SPF use on social media has a positive impact on long-term health and beauty maintenance and protection against skin cancers; 51.1% of Australians' reasons for applying sunscreen, as discussed in online conversation, is to protect against skin cancers.

There is still confusion around SPF levels and growing concerns around online conversation promoting misinformation that sunscreen use increases the likelihood of ailments like melanoma, reportedly one of the most common cancers in young adults.

Social media conversation and prolific posting of beauty & wellness-related content frame spaces where skincare brands can find their niche. Brands like Cerave and Supergoop are finding ways to differentiate their branding to appeal to specific communities (meet their communities in the full report). Is this new code holding social media influencers to account for their sway over masses of followers? Or is it taking away a vital information-sharing source? Time will tell if the regulations will significantly impact beauty and wellness influencer marketing in Australia. However, the effects may be taking hold now. If you look up sunscreen and SPF on tiktok, you will notice a decrease in related content since the end of 2021.

Avoid the risk of getting burnt and check the code to ensure you’re not in breach.

Discover the full report

Want to understand how therapeutic goods are driving beauty trends and changing the intersection between health and beauty? Download Pulsar’s report “Applying audience intelligence to Sunscreen”.

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Will wellness brands need to rethink how they use and apply influencer marketing?

How the recent Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code is changing the rules around skincare advertising in Australia. What has an influencer endorsement or testimonial influenced you to buy lately? Would you have purchased it otherwise? Well, you may see less of this type of advertising in the coming years in Australia. Using Pulsar’s recent report on the online […]

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