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April 29, 2020

Isentia Conversations: with Helen McMurdo from MTV

In this week’s Isentia Conversations webinar, we chat to MTV’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Helen McMurdo. Helen shares insights learned from MTV’s global “Alone Together” campaign, and ways of communicating with youth audiences during these times. We also share some of the trends we are seeing across social and traditional media from younger audiences.

Isentia’s Ally Garrett talks media trends among youth audiences

4:19 – We know organisations are always keen to understand how to better communicate with younger audiences. In relation to youth audiences, the mainstream media is talking about:

  1. Quality of education and the impact of remote learning – what does this mean for their future? How will it affect school leavers?
  2. Isolation and anxiety – what is the impact of mental health? What are young people’s coping mechanisms during this time?
  3. When will life be normal again? What does the future look like for young people? For everyone

5:44 – Social media platforms are where the majority of youth-focused conversations are taking place, which is normal, there’s just more of it. 

We need to be conscious that younger audiences aren’t always focused on younger content. And we need to be aware of the challenges younger audiences are facing such as reduced employment, remote learning, social isolation and some living environments may not be an ideal place for younger people.

6:30 – On a global level, we are seeing an increase in creativity on social media platforms.  Various TikTok challenges filmed inside a house are a result of this creativity. 

7:04 – It’s important to be aware of content that’s happening outside your bubble – see what other audiences are consuming and what fascinates them.  There is a definitive life-cycle of social media platforms, where younger audiences are the first to adopt, older audiences slowly come on board resulting in the platform becoming mainstream, and then younger audiences tend to leave. TikTok is currently moving through this lifecycle. 

7:38 – Instagram is the only outlier with these trends as it is used for visual content and its ease of shareability. Instagram introduced direct messages (DM’s) at a critical time, allowing people to share memes and content with each other.

10:00 – For better understanding youth audiences, here are some tips:

Follow influencers and see what they are doing and how they are doing it. Now is a great time to explore different platforms to see what is trending.

Be self aware when engaging with younger people, they will see through you quickly. It’s a time where authenticity and genuine content rings true.

Always consider the appropriateness of your communication or presence on apps such as TikTok.

Look at how brands interact with content creators on YouTube and the significance of these platforms with different industries, for example TikTok and music artists or the relationships with video streaming platforms, Twitch and Mixr video games.

Instagram and YouTube can be easier platforms to access to stay across trending personalities and content ideas.

Use different platforms or conduct research to find influential voices and see if there’s a connection you could make.

Helen McMurdo talks being #AloneTogether

13.05 – MTV recently launched its global campaign #AloneTogether. It was created because of alarming observations in the United States of young people not taking social distancing seriously. The campaign focuses on MTV and its audiences being alone together during the COVID-19 crisis.

13:55 – Being a global campaign, MTV Australia was given the option to localise the content for the Australian market. Global messaging included; ‘Slow the spread of COVID-19. Staying home saves lives.’ and ‘If you have symptoms, stay home!’

The messaging was initially thought to be too direct, instructive and heavy handed for the Australian market. It wasn’t until an incident at Bondi Beach, where tens of thousands of people were found not adhering to social distancing rules that the messaging was thought to be well aligned for Australian audiences.

15:10 – Locally, MTV wanted to deliver positive messages, a sense of connection as well as entertainment to their audience. They wanted to understand and support their audience and as young people are uniquely affected by the COVID-19 crisis – with reductions in working hours, possible unemployment and not living in households they have designed themselves – content was created that covered the full spectrum of informing and entertaining.

16:10 – Since the local launch of the campaign in late March, it has reached 1.1million people through organic social activity. Helen and her team picked up some insights along the way:

1. Be responsible even if you’re a youth brand. The #AloneTogether campaign has brought a lot of positive feedback and celebrity talent involved in the campaign happily used their social platforms to deliver the same instructive and direct messaging used by MTV. Some interesting statistics to support this; according to YPulse research, 60% of Generation Z’s and 45% of millennials think messaging that encourages social distancing is appropriate from brands. Interestingly, younger audiences are more likely to respond to instructive or informative messaging than older audiences and 24% of 13-39 year olds say humorous marketing about coronavirus is appropriate during this time.

2. Stay grounded and keep messaging real and authentic. This is more evident now than ever before. MTV is a brand that is built on celebrities and has re-imagined their own programs during this time. In response, they reworked vintage shows such as Cribbs and made it audience centric instead of celebrity centric

3. There’s an appetite for nostalgia – content viewing is up for any streaming organisation, yet since February, MTV have seen a dramatic increase in streaming of vintage throwback content including Laguna Beach (x 2 increase), The Hills (x 4 increase), and Geordie Shore (x 3.5 increase).

21:48 – Extending on this nostalgic theme, MTV implemented a daily live digital show called MTV Recess over a 2 week period. Each day, a different celebrity was interviewed at 10:50am (the traditional recess time) and the host and celebrity would eat throwback snacks such as Roll Ups and Maggi Noodles in their own homes. When  the ‘school bell’ rang they had to return to ‘class’.

Engaging content involving top celebrity talent has been more achievable during these times  because celebrities are home and available and very little preparation was needed to engage and achieve the desired sense of nostalgia.

23:24 – Music is truly having a moment right now. Millennials rate music as their number one coping mechanism to relieve stress. This is above exercise, watching content and talking to friends and family. MTV has seen a huge jump in the consumption of their music television channels across Foxtel, Fetch and Sky. 

Some of these channels include general entertainment (reality TV), however music channels are up 75% year on year which is more than the average media consumption across TV but more than the general entertainment channels.

24:27 – This large increase in music has seen MTV launch an App, ‘MTVUnpluggedAtHome’ where sets from international artists are recorded from their homes and shared. Local artists across Australia and New Zealand will follow suit from May 1.

25:36 – In summary, to effectively communicate with younger audiences, it’s about being responsible even, staying grounded, keeping it real, and embracing music.

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

Isentia Conversations: with Katherine Newton at RU OK?

Isentia Conversations: with Bec Brown at The Comms Department

Isentia Conversations: with Rochelle Courtenay at Share the Dignity

Isentia Conversations: with Rachel Clements at Centre for Corporate Health

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As the spotlight on sustainability intensifies year by year, it has become a focal point for legislators, media entities, and audiences worldwide.

This dynamic environment demands that brands and institutions elevate their standards in messaging and actions, holding them accountable like never before. For professionals in the PR & Comms realm, it is imperative to grasp not only how sustainability is being discussed but also the potential pitfalls, such as greenwashing, and gain a profound understanding of the diverse audiences receiving these messages.

Explore over 20 beautifully crafted pages of data visualisation that illuminate audience insights sourced from social media, news outlets, and search engines. Gain valuable perspectives on how one of the defining issues of our time is being discussed and understood.

Our exploration of this crucial topic delves deep into uncovering insights that are indispensable for crafting effective strategies, both tactical and long-term:

-Unraveling trends in the sustainability conversation

-Assessing brand & industry reputations

-Navigating greenwashing & misinformation

-Understanding the diverse audiences of sustainability

To access these insights, simply fill in the form

Download now

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Blog
Sustainability: Mapping the Media & Public Conversations

As the spotlight on sustainability intensifies year by year, it has become a focal point for legislators, media entities, and audiences worldwide. This dynamic environment demands that brands and institutions elevate their standards in messaging and actions, holding them accountable like never before. For professionals in the PR & Comms realm, it is imperative to […]

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data-driven PR

Data-driven PR is a key driver of targeted communications strategies, but the strategy isn’t solely dependent on the large volumes of data being hosted online. The real challenge lies not in quantifying the abundance of information but in our ability to unearth actionable insights from this virtual goldmine. In this web of stakeholder engagement, the true art lies in analysing and applying the wealth of intelligence buried within.

Data lakes are essential for tech businesses but don't get bogged down by the amount of information. The goal is to sort through the maze of data, merging different sources and perspectives using media and stakeholder intelligence. These intelligence tools uses data mining and data science to analyse public, social, and editorial media content. It refers to marketing systems synthesising billions of online conversations into relevant information. When communicating with data, it’s beneficial to keep the following approaches in mind to effectively achieve your objectives.

Unlocking Data's Capabilities

Contrary to popular belief, the volume of data isn't the priority. It's the strategic application that truly matters. For organisations deeply entrenched in the tech sphere, data lakes have become foundational. Yet, let's not get caught in the vortex of sheer volume. Our purpose lies in deciphering the data labyrinth, piecing together the global and the hyperlocal, infusing social and political insights, and fusing disparate data sources. This means blending research surveys, online feedback, web searches, and in intriguing cases - insights from the elusive dark web.

Media and stakeholder intelligence allows clients to discern the intricate narratives woven by their audience.

Consider the following approaches:

  1. Segmentation Strategy: Divide data into stakeholder groups to tailor messaging and strategies effectively.
  1. Strategic Metrics: Define key metrics aligned with goals (e.g. sentiment and engagement) for actionable insights.
  1. Holistic Insights: Combine global media trends, local narratives, and social data using visualisation tools.

Deciphering Stakeholder Dynamics

To unlock the potential of stakeholder engagement in your PR and communications strategies, it’s essential to follow a multi-faceted approach. 

Start by categorising your stakeholders strategically, as this segmentation forms the foundation for creating tailored and impactful engagement strategies. Additionally, keep a close eye on social conversations and online communities, as these platforms provide valuable insights into emerging trends and sentiment. Adaptability is key when it comes to messaging; personalise your communication to address the specific needs and concerns of each stakeholder group. By aiming for authenticity, you can build stronger connections and foster trust.

To unlock stakeholder potential, apply the following:

  1. Stakeholder Map: Categorise stakeholders by power, influence, and relevance to create focused engagement strategies.
  1. Narrative Tracking: Monitor social conversations and online communities to uncover emerging trends and sentiment.
  1. Customised Engagement: Craft messages aligned with stakeholder concerns to enhance authenticity.

Embracing Stakeholder Advocacy

On the journey to authenticity, harnessing the potential of stakeholder advocacy emerges as a vital strategy. This is particularly potent in areas like environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and diversity and inclusion (DNI), where credibility isn't instantaneous but a journey. Collaborating with stakeholders who share similar objectives creates a powerful ripple effect. Their advocacy becomes a strong ally, propelling organisations toward credibility. It's a co-creation of value that resonates and reverberates. 

Harness the powers of stakeholder advocacy with the following:

  1. Advocate Identification: Find stakeholders who share values, especially in ESG or DNI areas.
  1. Partnerships: Collaborate with advocates on initiatives, content, or events for credibility.
  1. Co-Creation: Share narratives with advocates to build trust and resonate with stakeholders.

Turning Theory into Practice

Putting these principles into a tangible context, consider the hypothetical case of an Australian non-profit organisation during the pandemic. As traditional face-to-face engagement became impractical, the organisation could have identified an opportunity to leverage online platforms.

Recognising the increasing digital engagement among their target audience, the organisation explored social media groups dedicated to mental health support. These are opportunities to join conversations and foster authentic connections with individuals seeking guidance during isolation.

By embracing this new avenue, the organisation can not only maintain their engagement but also expand their reach through solutions like virtual support groups, the sharing of helpful resources, and even organised online events to address the community's pressing needs. This adaptability not only showcases their commitment but also demonstrates the power of stakeholder-centric content in an evolving landscape.

Sailing Toward Success

In PR and communications, data is crucial, and insight is valuable. Prioritise stakeholder needs with strategic data segmentation, aligned metrics, and a combination of global and local data. Understand stakeholder dynamics to engage with them effectively. Advocacy and collaboration can build credibility and trust. This discussion empowers PR professionals with tools to translate insights into action.

Ready to turn insights into impact? Enter Isentia's research solutions and media intelligence platform. Seamlessly tackle data segmentation, decode stakeholder dynamics, and embrace authenticity through advocacy. 

Unlock Your Communication Potential with Isentia Today.

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Blog
Navigating Data-Driven PR & Comms in a Stakeholder-Centric Landscape

Data-driven PR is a key driver of targeted communications strategies, but the strategy isn’t solely dependent on the large volumes of data being hosted online. The real challenge lies not in quantifying the abundance of information but in our ability to unearth actionable insights from this virtual goldmine. In this web of stakeholder engagement, the […]

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data visualisation of Bluey content

Drawing from the trajectory of Bluey, a children's TV show that has captivated audiences across the globe, we delve into the realm of reputation management, unravelling the complexities that PR and communications professionals encounter in today's dynamic landscape. 

In today's digital era, where people can freely share their opinions about a brand anytime and anywhere, maintaining a positive reputation means protecting your image and meeting the expectations of your audience, by staying aligned with the values of the communities you engage with.

Looking at four years of web search, online news coverage, and Twitter mentions, we uncover why this kids' TV show, grounded in family values, has drawn widespread curiosity. Observing how audiences engage with Bluey content across social platforms, we can see a significant pattern emerging.

Amidst the limelight, how has Bluey navigated scandals and pitfalls while holding to the public's high standards of family-friendly content? The power lies in understanding the needs, interests, and motivations of various community segments. Delving into these aspects, can help proactively sidestep the potential pitfalls encountered during brand reputation management and development, a lesson gleaned from Bluey's journey.

Strategic Balance: Bluey's PR Approach to Family Values Amidst Modern Critique

Data visualisation of reputation crises for Bluey

The program promotes education and emotional development through family-oriented activities, aligning with the brand image of family values in today’s world. However, some viewers have criticised the show for not representing a ‘“typical” modern family. As seen in the data above, some of the biggest blunders involve bullying, body shaming and whether it’s appropriate to mention sensitive issues around pregnancy, toilet talk, and men’s health concerns. 

One specific incident being Chilli's decision to pursue a career instead of being a full-time stay-at-home mum which was  deemed as mum-shaming by some. The lack of same-sex marriages represented in the show, and its soft approach to disability have also been topics of contention for the show.  

News article about Bluey representing family

Fans have raised concerns about body shaming and the topics of vasectomies, premature births, and miscarriages. Some episodes distributed to the US, UK and even Australia have required editing or complete cancellation altogether, like the episode where the family jokingly uses the term “ooga booga”. The Macquarie Dictionary defines its meaning as “A stereotypical rendering of what the speaker regards to be the language of those deemed by them to be African savages."

https://twitter.com/CashForBones/status/1647026309082628098

Gaining a profound comprehension of the audience and their values empowers brands to craft content that resonates, forming a robust bond with consumers. In an era where consumers readily scrutinise brands for authenticity, often challenging the sincerity of "purpose-driven communications”, this understanding becomes paramount. Such initiatives, without genuine action, risk being seen as mere gestures and unauthentic. 

In the face of online scrutiny and media attention, as seen with Bluey's occasional controversies, upholding the essence of an authentic family environment stands as a pivotal commitment. However, a question lingers – does Bluey accurately perceive the nuances of authenticity within the context of a contemporary 21st-century audience?

What goes into the making of brand reputation? – Acknowledging your community

Utilising our sister company Pulsar's audience intelligence platform, we can effectively identify the most active viewer groups within a conversation, like family-oriented music fans within the Bluey topic, and better understand how they integrate or fragment. This knowledge allows for timely and strategic responses to viewer discussions that may impact reputation.

It's important to recognise that Bluey's audience extends beyond just kids; parents and childfree adults are also avid viewers. However, these diverse communities hold varying values and connections that significantly shape the brand's reputation. While Bluey's focus is evidently on family and parenting, it also traverses through themes of relationships, self-image, representation, and emotional intelligence. 

The crux lies in how these distinct groups engage with Bluey's content and branding and then interpret and share their perspectives. This dynamic interaction places the reins of reputation management firmly in the hands (or paws) of the brand.

Among these communities, family-oriented fans resonate with Bluey's adventures, sparking discussions that delve into the complexities of parenting. Their connection with the authentic family portrayal is a pivotal element. 

On the other side, American LGBTQ+ furries advocate for inclusion and authenticity without gender labels. Young Australian news enthusiasts align themselves with events impacting the show, especially those related to censorship. Meanwhile, the Gen Z segment of student Netflix obsessives enthusiastically binge on the latest TV trends, underscoring the importance of staying current with zeitgeist fandoms. 

By comprehending the priorities and dialogues of these diverse groups - as is the case with Bluey - messaging and content can be crafted to uphold positive brand reputation management from the audience's vantage point.

Bluey's Intergenerational Appeal – knowing how your communities perceive you

In the realm of modern public relations, brands are under growing pressure to embrace societal issues and adopt a meaningful purpose. This expectation extends even to children's TV shows, adding a layer of viewer complexity to consider in messaging; the show's messaging has to take into account all viewer group perceptions. And this gets more complex as more groups are identified and their perceptions are categorised. 

Although family is the most significant theme for all the viewers listed on the chart above, different communities have distinct priorities. Fans of family-oriented music tend to focus on themes related to learning and education, while younger groups, LGBTQIA+ artists, student Netflix obsessives, prioritise mental health themes. By observing the ‘thickness’ or strength of the connection between audience and theme, we can see how the narrative flows into different audience types. 

This prompts a crucial consideration: Is it appropriate to introduce weighty mental health themes to young minds and influence their formative years? While this inquiry is pertinent, it's worth noting that some experts recommend that parents engage with such shows to gain valuable insights into these themes from a child's perspective. 

News article about Bluey
https://twitter.com/deadspacedog/status/1666183899813142529

On the other hand, some adults use the show to heal from their own past traumas. While younger generations feel a sense of pride and responsibility when watching it with their younger family members. 

Understanding varying perspectives presents a challenge and often carries significant weight in strategic PR decision-making, but by using research, we can observe differences and overlaps among different groups. How different communities engage and share bluey content, highlights the varying ways content can spread, and take on new meaning. 

Your reputation changes your brand but how do you respond? “I’m not taking advice from a cartoon dog” – Bandit, Bluey’s Dad (episode 24, season 2)

Although your community and stakeholders can influence your reputation, it's important to remain proactive. In today's digital age, brand values must be adaptable. For example, a scene from the "Exercise" episode was removed due to concerns from viewers, including single childless families, who felt that it could be viewed as fat-shaming and negatively impact viewers. 

Additionally, an apology was issued after brand content was released that was seen by viewers as  "mum-shaming" Chilli for not being able to spend as much time with her kids as a full-time stay-at-home mum. Viewers disagreed with the brand content's judgmental and outdated portrayal of family roles.

Bluey Tweet
Bluey Tweet response

The Heelers aren’t perfect, and they’re not pretending to be

Converting reputation into numerical data makes it clearer and easier to understand and interpret as it's based on input from the communities that shape it. The challenge for Bluey's brand reputation management now is to accurately portray family life in today's social climate and respond to feedback from everyday viewers. 

In our constantly evolving world, the standards for children's TV shows are shifting. A carefully planned reputation strategy is crucial for everyone impacted by fluctuating expectations. By analysing what your target stakeholders value and identifying how that’s projected onto your brand, we can measure what was previously unquantifiable.

Reach out to our team for advice on utilising research and monitoring solutions for their reputation management needs. 

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Blog
Keeping up with the Heelers – brand reputation management using insights 

Drawing from the trajectory of Bluey, a children’s TV show that has captivated audiences across the globe, we delve into the realm of reputation management, unravelling the complexities that PR and communications professionals encounter in today’s dynamic landscape.  In today’s digital era, where people can freely share their opinions about a brand anytime and anywhere, […]

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R u ok?

Challenge

R U OK? is a public health campaign founded in Australia, focusing on creating a world where we’re all connected and protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling with life.

R U OK? focuses on building the motivation, confidence, and skills of the help-giver—the person who can have a meaningful conversation with someone who is struggling with life. R U OK? encourage four steps to have a meaningful conversation:

  1. 1. Ask R U OK?
  2. 2. Listen
  3. 3. Encourage action
  4. 4. Check in

R U OK? have a host of free resources to help you ask, ‘are you OK?’ and lend support to the people in your world every day of the year. Because when we genuinely ask, ‘are you OK?’, and are prepared to talk to them about how they’re feeling and what’s going on in their life, we can help someone who might be struggling to feel connected and supported long before they’re in crisis.

The annual R U OK? Day campaign is their National Day of Action, where people are reminded that every day is the day to start a meaningful conversation that could change a life. 

To assess their impact and gauge progress towards their goal of behavioural change, R U OK? sought to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaign messaging, ambassadors, and public discourse in their communities. Additionally, they wanted to understand the main narrative in these communities to shape their future campaign themes and strategies.

Our approach

Through a number of different datasets, Isentia provided the organisation with comprehensive insight into its campaign messaging as well as the volume and quality of media reporting on R U OK? This valuable information was obtained through Isentia’s Media Analysis reports shedding light on common themes, trends, and messages associated with R U OK? through media coverage.

“We know Isentia are trusted friends. We know we can come to the team with any ideas or queries and be provided with a great solution. Our long term partnership has allowed us to go on this journey together, seeing such change in the Australian landscape for health and suicide prevention.

Isentia’s reports have helped us (and continue to) understand the impact of our coverage and the reach of our campaign messaging, and that every day is the day to ask, are you OK?”

Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO

Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO

The analysis revealed the following:

  • - Message penetration in the media
  • - Impact of ambassadors and spokespeople
  • - Campaign effectiveness in raising awareness and encouraging meaningful conversations
  • - Measurement of media coverage quality and tone for R U OK? 
  • - Insights into community, workplace and school engagement with R U OK? and the types of positively received content.
Having a meaningful conversation

Outcome

Isentia’s support to R U OK? has helped them measure their campaign impact consistently over time.

Our analysis quantified the success of R U OK? in reducing negative portrayals of suicide and stigma in the media and R U OK? events. With an impressive 87% national brand awareness and a 25% participation rate, it highlights the positive and supportive behaviour that emerges when individuals actively engage in these conversations.

Media coverage, including increased editorial attention, has effectively promoted R U OK?, raising awareness and fostering an important culture around meaningful conversations. 

The organisation’s brand mentions, advertising space rate (ASR), and cumulative audience figures have consistently increased each year, also indicating the successful penetration of their messages. The most prominent messages, in terms of volume, emphasise that R U OK? builds awareness of suicide and mental health issues, while the annual campaign day helps to build community capacity to have meaningful conversations with the people in their world.

What our analysis showed

Our analysis demonstrates the positive changes in the Australian landscape regarding health and suicide prevention. People are more engaged, have a better understanding of their role in suicide prevention, and desire deeper connections. This means genuinely asking, ‘are you OK?’, and knowing how to connect with and support others when they express they are not okay. 

Isentia’s data and analysis not only fulfilled their objectives but exceeded their expectations. The reports provided are invaluable, so much so that we are their sole earned media insights provider.

These Media Analysis reports helped the organisation understand the impact of their messaging on their audience. They learned what worked and what didn’t, providing insight for future messaging and their content development strategy. These reports have also served as a valuable tool for reporting to the R U OK? board of directors, funding partners, and government. Providing concrete evidence of the organisation’s campaign impact in the media and success in stimulating community action for suicide prevention.

R U OK?

“Isentia’s Media Analysis reports help us look at the narratives to see where people are at and where we can take them next.”

For more information on how Isentia's data and insights can help your organisation, simply fill out the form below.

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Case Study
How R U OK? harness Isentia Insights for their campaign strategy

Challenge R U OK? is a public health campaign founded in Australia, focusing on creating a world where we’re all connected and protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling with life. R U OK? focuses on […]

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