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June 24, 2019

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.

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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How did radio, Twitter and two heavy hitters in the world of technology and innovation create a unique and ‘perfect environment’ for a story, to become more than just a news story in 2017?

What I’m talking about here is how traditional media ignited a social media conversation between Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brookes, and as a result brought the world's largest lithium ion battery to South Australia.

What I find to be really interesting and what our media analysis shows, is that a conversation between two business people - that would normally be had in private and reported on ‘after the fact’ - played out for a public audience to witness in what could really be described as real time. This in turn created a compelling news event that was amplified by traditional media.

Once we saw political commentary, from Malcolm Turnbull, this traditional media exposure really began to peak. So what we see here is a significant interplay between traditional and social media until it really became a mushroom cloud of activity. The rest, as they say, is history.

What we were able to do in our media analysis is interpret and analyse the data from all of those mediums, radio, television, online/internet and social media, and determine some distinctive insight into the story. What we have here at Isentia is a single platform to access all of those data points/coverage.

Key outtakes/lessons learned

  • While a ‘media storm’ of this nature is hard to recreate, the combination of having an authentic and unique interaction between key people of influence (and an element of celebrity) on the right medium (in this case, social media and specifically Twitter) can drive interest across a broad audience that communications professionals might not have initially considered in their strategies.
  • Favourability was also outlined in the report with the results showing that the event was largely positive. Broadcast showed a more balanced favourability as the content tends to represent opinions from both sides of the story more evenly.
  • For communications professionals and PR professionals alike, what this research piece shows is that communications should be platform agnostic. It’s really about looking at the conversation, how it peaks over a period across all outlets and having a holistic approach to communications. 
  • Embrace the ability that social media has to start, grow and lengthen the relevancy of a conversation, which is a clear advantage of digital versus traditional mediums.
  • This may have started as an organic media story, but if you’re equipped with this level of analysis on a weekly basis, we would have been able to demonstrate how to lengthen a conversation in the media. In this instance, we saw traditional media really drive the social media interaction with the peak in traditional activity helped spark social as well, showing a significant interplay between the two.
  • You can’t manage what you can’t measure. So if you have the right insights into your communications objectives, you then have the data to tweak your strategy and implement with success.

On a side note, what excites me personally is how a problem solver was able to really take the challenge on and circumvent the traditional process of politics and negotiation, or at the very least shorten it. A true example of disruption!

What did you learn from Tesla’s ‘history in the making’ power play in 2017?

Asha Oberoi
Head of Insights, Australia

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Power play: The Elon Musk Tweet That Flicked The Switch

How did radio, Twitter and two heavy hitters in the world of technology and innovation create a unique and ‘perfect environment’ for a story, to become more than just a news story in 2017?

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This is not a list of what to do to be more successful. Or a list about the highly successful morning habits of CEOs and CIOs.

Instead, it’s a call-out to others who read the titles of articles like these on a Monday and sometimes feel exhausted by the amount of additional ‘work’ that is actually recommended to be more productive or successful.

But, it’s not about being lazy either, in fact Australia was listed in Collective Hub’s Top 15 of the world’s most productive countries, so as a nation we still like to get things done.

This is, however, a question as to whether our push for productively has blurred into so many areas of life that we’ve forgotten why we strive to be increasingly efficient in the first place. Are we now too focused on volume, rather than value?

For example, in the last week alone we’ve seen the launch of a five-minute workout video series, been served an ad for an app which gives you the world’s best nonfiction books in bite-sized formats and scrolled past a ‘mindfulness in microseconds’ Instagram post.

While squeezing more into everyday life is a common challenge (and arguably a goal) for many professionals, it does present an interesting behavioural shift where we start to use smart technology to speed up activities that perhaps we shouldn’t.

Working in the always-on media Industry, we work with some of the most pressed-for-time people on a daily basis.

These communications and marketing professionals are dealing with huge amounts of fragmented media across channels that sometimes need urgent attenuation or action, particularly in times of crisis. However, this is where our technology thrives – it puts in the hard yards for them. Crunching huge volumes of data, providing the tools to report, alert, shred and more, and helping to give back time that should be spent on the more important strategic tasks, away from a computer.

From a professional standpoint this could mean more time for pitching ideas, benchmarking results against business strategy or presenting to the board. This is where value is achieved – with time spent on activities that need extra thinking space and deserve focus. From a personal standpoint, this may mean taking time back to pick up the kids from school, getting to yoga or simply enjoying a cup of tea in silence.

It’s not a case about fitting more into the day, but about filling your day with more valuable activities. Smart technology holds so much power in helping us spend less time on task-based needs like emails, to-do lists and life admin to free up the time for (hopefully) more than a ‘mindfulness in microseconds’ quick fix.

Remember, effort is not the same as impact.

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Blog
The push to be ‘on’ by 6am

This is not a list of what to do to be more successful. Or a list about the highly successful morning habits of CEOs and CIOs.

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The Impact of Presence

Since 1 January 2018, more than 150,000 news stories have discussed leadership across print, online, radio and broadcast outlets in Australia and New Zealand.

Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the issues that have attracted the most media attention share a common theme – failed, ineffective or questionable leadership.

While some of the stories highlight the role models and heroes living and working among us, the vast majority of the news we consume and engage with focuses on the negative traits and failures of individual leaders and institutions.

Download your copy below or get in touch with one of our friendly staff.

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Thought Leadership
Leadership Index Edition 1

Since 1 January 2018, more than 150,000 news stories have discussed leadership across print, online, radio and broadcast outlets in Australia and New Zealand.

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20th November 2018

Australia’s top 25 CEOs have been unveiled in the inaugural Isentia Leadership Index. Developed by Isentia’s globally-recognised Insights team, the Index will benchmark and measure leadership profiles from across Australia and New Zealand against a range of variables including media profile, share of voice in media coverage, LinkedIn presence, financial performance and publicly available employee approval ratings.

The top 150 organisations were selected 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.

Isentia’s Chief Insights Officer, Khali Sakkas, who pioneered the new quarterly Leadership Index, says its launch comes at a critical time for Australia, with the term ‘leadership’ appearing in more than 150,000 news stories since the beginning of the year.

“From the federal leadership spill to the Australian cricket team’s involvement in ball tampering in South Africa and the Banking Royal Commission, Australians have grappled throughout 2018 with what it means to be a leader today,” Sakkas says. “But what really stood out was that most of our national conversations on leadership were focused on when it failed.

“The motivation to build this Leadership Index was based on finding a way to better measure leadership, forcing Australians to examine what they want to see from leaders. The obvious place to start was looking at the way leadership plays out in our society – on our screens and on news websites.”

Leading the list as ANZ’s most impactful CEO is BHP’s Andrew Mackenzie. Although he didn’t come out top in any specific leadership metric, his overall score ranked him ahead of other CEOs by a significant margin – driven by BHP’s strong year-on-year revenue growth of 20 per cent and his significant share of voice within its media coverage.

Ed Harrison, Isentia’s own Chief Executive Officer said: “It’s not new knowledge that people trust people over brands. However, this behaviour is having an interesting impact on earned media and leaders such as a CEO hold potentially more influence than they’ve ever had. Much like an established blogger, social influencer or recognised journalist, with the right leadership a CEO can generate the kind of impact we’ve seen traditionally with owned media.”

Australian leadership trends

The Isentia Leadership Index delivered some surprising trends about the nature of Australian leadership. For instance, it found that many CEOs in the top 100 companies have made a clear strategic choice not to be active on social media.

“That our most high-profile CEOs don’t engage on social media adds to the image of them being elite or ‘untouchable’ and goes to the heart of the perception issues leaders have in Australia,” Sakkas says. “Avoiding social media means CEOs are missing the chance to better understand their customers and community.”

The Leadership Index also highlighted Australia’s progress on gender equality in leadership positions. While Workplace Gender Equality Agency data says women hold 16.5 per cent of CEO roles in Australia, Isentia’s analysis found this was significantly lower, with women making up just 6 per cent of the top 100 companies analysed. Of the top 25 Australian CEOs identified in the Index, only one is female.

The Isentia Leadership Index panel event

The launch of Isentia’s Leadership Index coincides with several interactive panel sessions, which are planned for Canberra on 22 November and Melbourne on 29 November. There will also be an event in Auckland on 27 November to launch the Index in New Zealand. The panels, moderated by Sakkas and featuring several Australian business experts, will explore what leadership means and where leaders should focus their efforts to ensure they have the right impact for their organisation and brand.

The Isentia Leadership Index is designed to reflect the industry and market discussions that continue to shift, alongside the consistent top CEOs benchmark. Planned for February 2019, the second edition of the Index will focus on disrupters and innovators, comparing how they are portrayed in the media with representations of the top Australian and New Zealand CEOs. 

“We see this as a ‘choose your own adventure’ style of report as we’re also opening up to those interested in contributing to the discussion and exploring topics of interest – a complete first of its kind in the Australian industry,” Sakkas says. 

-ENDS-

Media
Sophie Willis
Howorth Communications
sophie@howorth.com.au 
0458 111 948

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Media Release
Isentia reveals top Australian CEOs in new benchmarking report

Australia’s top 25 CEOs have been unveiled in the inaugural Isentia Leadership Index.

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