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Blog post
June 25, 2019

Innovation Setting The Compass For Client Success In NZ

I’m very passionate about improving our client experiences in any way possible and take a keen interest in the development of new Isentia products and services. So naturally, I am in my happiest place when I’m able to sit down with our clients and tell them about the innovative things that we’re doing to improve their day.

The recent release of Custom Reports is one of those product developments that I am particularly excited about. We know that building a report is one of the most commonly used parts of Mediaportal – it’s how many of our clients start their day, and it can also be one of the most important parts of their days depending on the issues they may have at hand.

The media intelligence industry of today is more dynamic than ever before and our clients are certainly faced with new challenges and a fresh set of hoops to jump through each day. Cutting through the noise to deliver timely and relevant media intelligence is not done easily, and making sense of it is even harder to do.

Our NZ clients understand the power of media data and really value the localised, trusted advisor relationship that Isentia is delivering. Providing a platform for my team to all reach greater heights and make our clients look even better in the process is what really drives me and gets me out of bed each morning.

The way that we have been able to listen to client needs and improve this essential process for them is a perfect example of Isentia development at its best. The new reports that I’ve been seeing are living and visually spectacular documents that you really want to share. I know that the whole Isentia NZ team and every client I’ve spoken to are very excited by the new features which is really rewarding to hear.

A favourite feature of mine is definitely the inclusion of a customised header – did you know you can even use GIFs to really bring your report to life? The ability to add in external content is also a game changer for our clients, as well as the new customisable sections that make navigating larger reports much easier to do.

I’ve always found that if you set your compass based on what is best for the clients, then you are rarely off-track.

Russ Horell
Country Manager for Isentia NZ

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How do you drive a culture of innovation?

Just over a decade ago, as gaming penetrated the world of children’s entertainment, Lego was near bankruptcy. No matter how nostalgic for parents, multi-colour building blocks simply couldn’t compete in a world of Nintendo, Pokemon and Tamagotchi. Lego was hemorrhaging money and seemed out of touch in this modern new world. Fast-forward to 2017 and playtime is over for many of the world’s biggest toy brands. Toys R Us in the US could file for bankruptcy in as soon as the next few weeks. Yet, profits at Lego are soaring. The secret? Then CEO (now Chairman) Jørgen Vig Knudstorp’s decision to innovate and transform the company into the ‘Apple of toys’. Today, kids can be found assembling Star Wars figurines, Sydney Opera House models and ‘playing dolls’ with the pretty pastel coloured Lego Friends range.

What can we learn from Lego about innovation?

Build a cross-functional team

Underpinning Lego’s turnaround is a cross-functional team known as the Executive Innovation Governance Group. This group take a birds-eye view on innovation: looking at everything from products, pricing plans, processes, channel partners and communities. It’s here where brilliant ideas formulate; ideas like the decision to create a Lego movie franchise starring Hollywood’s biggest names - Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell are born.

It works for us too at Isentia. We were recently named amongst the Australian Financial Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in Australia. Our cross-disciplinary advisory board includes representatives from across sales, client serves, marketing and of course IT. This group has been central to solving some of our biggest digital problems. For example, how we harvest and analyse 7 million unknown media items and millions of other data points every single day? Together we developed Huxley, a cloud based platform that takes multiple input services, applies media item topology and enrichment services, and produces fit for purpose data for client facing products and services

Great talent

There is no greater key to a company’s success than it’s talent. What would Apple be without Steve Jobs or Tencent without Ma Huateng? Needless to say, Knudstorp has been key to Lego’s transformation. As a technologist, I am a firm believer that building a strong internal tech team to drive innovation is just as important as an innovative leader. Don’t outsource the talent that brings transformation - insource it to continually find ways of being smarter, faster, and more innovative.

Encourage new ideas

Polaroid creator Edwin Land famously said, “It’s not that we need new ideas, we need to stop having old ideas.” Here at Isentia we have a designated lab area for the tech team to sandpit ideas. We also take 10% time, allocating a half day each week for the team to ideate, playing with new AI algorithms, product upgrades and concepts. Lego’s outside-in approach resonates with us, and as such regularly hold technology hacks with industry leaders. We value the feedback from our client advisory board as much as we value the thoughts of our employers. The end user is what drives all of our innovations – in pricing, promotion and process. It was with clients in mind that our team delivered a world’s first view of the connectivity, context and chronology in a story. With the release of Stories, the story, not the media type, has become the focus of Isentia’s media intelligence. For clients, this has reduced time and effort to understand the core, depth and velocity of a story allowing media intelligence to feed directly into strategic decision-making.

The way forward

As digital disruption penetrates every sector of business, there has never been a more important time for business to innovate. Innovation speeds up processes, cut costs, and importantly, drives profits. It provides ways to penetrate new markets faster and deeper, taking companies into previously unthinkable directions. Quite simply, everyone should be constantly evolving, curiously questioning and innovating.

If you don’t know where to start, try by talking to your tech team.As seen in 'How Lego rebuilt itself as 'the Apple of toys' by Andrea Walsh, CIO

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Blog
Culture of Innovation

Just over a decade ago, as gaming penetrated the world of children’s entertainment, Lego was near bankruptcy. No matter how nostalgic for parents, multi-colour building blocks simply couldn’t compete in a world of Nintendo, Pokemon and Tamagotchi.

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Media has been at the front-line of digital disruption and continues to undergo dramatic change at the hands of technology.

It’s a change so absolute it’s difficult to fully analyse. But the impact of technology on the way we communicate with each other, and the world at large, certainly bears interrogation.

While the role of Communications & Marketing Professionals may have remained unchanged today, the impact on how they work by digital revolution is certainly one of note.

With a 24/7 news cycle forcing an ‘always-on’ approach, a fragmented media landscape with traditional players and independent news all adding to the noise and proliferation of conversation due to social media  - it’s no wonder there’s a whole lot more to manage.

Fast-tracking one’s own learning to better understand this cross-channel and cross-domain environment that’s constantly shifting is not the only challenge. The demand for reactive and real-time response - largely driven by social media – and no agreed industry metric to measure success, MarComms Professionals are looking to technology to help address these challenges.

Challenge is just opportunity inside out.

Enter a future that’s already happening today, with innovations in machine learning, AI and data analytics. If technology is the challenge, it’s also the solution. With new advances coming down the line, many businesses are already investing in technology based solutions to revolutionise the way Marketing & Communications Professionals work and deliver on their ambitious expectations around speed, reach, responsiveness, quality, impact and customer centricity.

The real opportunity is distilling beyond the data. Aligning communications to insights and further solidifying the importance of the Communication and Marketing profession, allowing organisations to be truly data driven with the customer at the heart of every decision.

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Blog
From the frontline, distilling beyond the data

This blog discusses the impact of digital-disruption on Marketing & Communication Professionals and its impact on the way we communicate with each other, and the world at large, certainly bears interrogation.

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New Zealand’s top 10 ceos have been revealed in the launch of Isentia’s new Leadership Index: The Impact of Presence.

Jayne Hrdlicka, of a2 Milk, earned the highest-ranking position for a combination of her share of voice in media coverage and social media, combined with the strong financial performance of the company since her arrival in July.

Innovation and technology dominated the first two rankings, with Xero’s Steve Vamos in second place. Also on the list were Z Energy’s Mike Bennetts (5th) and Air New Zealand’s Christopher Luxon (9th).

Ngaire Crawford, Isentia’s Head of Insights for New Zealand, said: “We wanted to learn more about the way our leaders are portrayed and their comparative performance. We hope this will encourage conversations around the trends and impact of leadership.”

While a woman is at the top of the NZ Index, all of the other nine places were taken by men. Hrdlicka’s appointment in July, incredible revenue growth, and the company’s partnership with Fonterra contributed to her high ranking this quarter.

“Interestingly, New Zealand’s leading CEO is actually an Australian,” Crawford said. “The a2 Milk business has been a strong player during the past quarter and had a high profile. Although Jayne Hrdlicka copped some flak for selling shares early into the role, her contribution to the sustained success of a2 Milk became the dominating theme.”

The first of its kind in an ongoing series, this Index analysed the ceo profiles and media trends of New Zealand and Australia’s top 150 companies since 1 July, then created rankings for each country. Andrew Mackenzie, of BHP Billiton, topped the Australian Index.

Developed by Isentia’s globally-recognised Insights team, the list of 150 organisations was formed from the ASX50 and NZX50, as well as the leading private businesses based on revenue, drawn from the 2018 IBISWorld Top 500 Companies list published by the Australian Financial Review on 5 September 2018, and the Deloitte Top 200 data in New Zealand.

The Index found that women hold only 10% of the ceo roles in New Zealand, faring slightly better than Australia’s 6%.

Crawford says: “While women make up a larger proportion of ceos in NZ, all were appointed within the past 18 months, which is particularly compelling when you consider the increased social media activity around equality, rights and the push for women to speak up.”

“While a woman is at the top of the NZ Index, all of the other nine places were taken by men.”

Social presence

The Index also found that the majority of CEOs are invisible on social media, with 44% having no public social presence at all and 56% having no activity on LinkedIn.

Crawford acknowledges there are risks around using social media and being too accessible online, but says there are also risks to being invisible.

“I was surprised by the lack of personal presence on social media. Generally, when I’m talking to clients, they are focused on making their senior leaders thought leaders, and it’s important to do that through a personal connection. People, rather than brands, are thought leaders, so it seems like a potentially missed opportunity.”

​New Zealand leadership trends

Three of the 10 New Zealand ceos in the Leadership Index are from information technology or telecommunications companies, including Xero’s Steve Vamos (2nd), former Vodafone ceo Russell Stanners (4th) and Datacom’s Greg Davidson (7th).

Crawford says this appears to reflect the growing dominance of the technology sector and innovation culture in New Zealand, which is now the country’s third largest export.

“Companies like Xero are seen as New Zealand success stories within our business psyche. While Australian based, Steve Vamos succeeds the iconic former NZ ceo of Xero, Rod Drury. Vamos has also overseen strong global growth, with a great interest in investment and acquisition plans of the company.”

Learn more and download a copy of ED1 The Impact of Presence here: www.isentia.com/leadership-ed1

Ngaire Crawford, Head of Insights NZ

As originally published on M+AD Magazine.

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Blog
Isentia unveils NZ’s top CEOs in new Leadership Index

New Zealand’s top 10 ceos have been revealed in the launch of Isentia’s new Leadership Index: The Impact of Presence.

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Trendspotting is no longer just an intuition but a science of solid facts

The world is facing a plethora of trends. Although some innovations drive trends, most trends precede innovation. With the emergence of data science, data scientists use scientific methods, algorithms, and machine learning principles to extract insights from raw data.

In this whitepaper, Isentia will dive into data-driven ways to spot trends through the art of social listening by using actual case studies.

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Whitepaper
Trendspotting: The art of social listening

Although some innovations drive trends, most trends precede innovation. What are some data-driven ways to spot trends through the art of social listening?

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