fbpx
Blog post
June 25, 2019

Isentia’s CIO, Andrea Walsh on Game Changers

From programmer to industry leader, as one of Australia’s only Chief Information Officers in technology, Andrea Walsh has shattered the glass ceiling. And she’s championing other women, while she’s at it.

So, is she a game changer? Let’s find out. I’m Sarah Harris. Welcome to Game Changers.

Sarah: Andrea, welcome to Game Changers, now you are one of Australia’s only female CIOs of a technology company. You must see yourself as a bit of a role model?

Andrea: I never thought I was, but having been in the role now for number of years I look around and I do think where are all the other women, where are all the females.

Sarah: And, where are they?

Andrea: There is just a real shortage of women in I.T and technology, which is a real shame.

Sarah: So, tell us a little bit about Isentia and what it actually does.

Andrea: So, Isentia is a media monitoring company. And basically what that means is we take information and news from across varying countries, about 18 countries, multiple languages, and we filter that and disseminate it to what is important to our clients and what are the leading issues that they need to focus on. An average day, there’s about 7 million news items that we’re processing.

Sarah: That is a big job, lots of information to get through. So, what does your role as CIO involve?

Andrea: So, I lead the technology team. We are responsible for all the systems and the technology that processes those 7 million items a day. And we also provide all the services for our clients and tools for them to be able to do their job each day.

Sarah: Why do you think there’s a lack of women in IT roles?

Andrea: I think through education. I don’t think that girls are encouraged to take up sciences and engineering when they’re younger. It’s very much seen as, ‘it’s for the boys’. I think it starts really early on. And then I also think women don’t put themselves forward necessarily for opportunities, and roles to re-train. And maybe say, I might be interested but unless I’m absolutely sure I not going to give it a go.

Sarah: You are quoted as saying, “we’re on the cusp of a technological revolution”. What are you most excited about?

Andrea: There is so much. I think that’s what’s exciting. I think with cloud technology, it’s enabled a lot of organisations to be able to experiment with technologies. And things like artificial intelligence, so looking at machine learning. And I think that will really shape future roles and jobs.

Sarah: You really passionate, which I love, about women moving up in the industry. In particular, girls learning how to code. For someone who is not as technologically advanced as you, perhaps, explain to me what coding actually is.

Andrea: It’s basically creating something using computer and technology. Sometimes, yes, it has to be, or can be, detailed lines of programming. But some of the tools that are available, especially to young children who are interested in coding, enables kids to build stories, cartoons and make videos.

Sarah: The number of girls studying, as you said before, STEM, which is science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it is slowly increasing. Which is brilliant. But it’s not at a rate of ‘the boys’ just yet.

Andrea: No. Certainly not. And I think that it is great that it is slowly increasing. But it’s got a considerable way to go.

Sarah: Well, how do we change that?

Andrea: I think again, it goes back to the education. It’s encouraging girls and young children to get involved in these subjects. And I also think that they have maybe a brand, or an image, issue with engineering and IT often see as ‘it’s for the boys’. I think it’s also about the parents and the carers. So often we teach our children when they come home about doing their homework, reading, writing, maths. But what about the children who want to learn technology, and they want to learn to code? And if the parents aren’t IT, how do they support them. So I think it’s really about, as I say, the education, but then also then about the parents and finding these great programs that are out there to give the kids opportunity.

Sarah: Your daughter is eight and she’s already taken an interest.

Andrea: When I first showed her the iPad, she just took it instantly. It was quite amazing to experience. We certainly encourage here to use it. There’s s o many educational programs for children that you can use on the iPad. So I’m a big advocate of it.

Sarah: It does bring up that other thing as well, because I have a little boy who’s 18 months, and he’s very savvy when it comes to technology. You know, he’s coming up to the television and trying to swipe it like an Ipad. But I do kind of worry that (you know) we’re introducing technology to these kids too early, because there’s been research that show that it’s actually changing the chemistry of the brain. When should we be introducing this sort of stuff to our kids? Because as a parent you sort of think to yourself, I don’t want my kids to have their head in technology all the time. But at the same time, you don’t want to hold them back, because that’s the future.

Andrea: I think its each individual parent’s choice. For our daughter’s, Charlotte, we introduced it quite early on, so it was before kindergarten. But we’re very strict with her, both from what she can do on there and so content she can see. And also how long she spends on there, because the last thing we want is to build a relationship and the communication is with the back of an Ipad all of the time.

Sarah: IT is a well-paying field, but there id still a gender pay gap when it comes to technology, isn’t there?

Andrea: Where I work at Isentia, we pay the market rate and we pay on skills regardless of gender. But it is a known issue within many industries and with many organisations and that’s something we need to address.

Sarah: What advice you want to give to women that you mentor?

Andrea: I would say, seek every opportunity. Just go for it – what can you lose at the end of the day? I think work with other areas of the business as well; get to know the business and the industry in which you work. Do things that are potentially outside your remit so you can learn and grow from them.

Sarah: You are a trailblazer and a Game Changer. Thank you for joining us today.

Andrea: Thank you.

Disclaimer: Featured in Game Changers

Share

Similar articles

object(WP_Post)#7297 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(1975) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "36" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 02:40:30" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 02:40:30" ["post_content"]=> string(3431) "

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.

" ["post_title"]=> string(30) "The push to be ‘on’ by 6am" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(126) "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." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(24) "the-push-to-be-on-by-6am" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 08:16:04" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 08:16:04" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "https://isentia.wpengine.com/?p=1975" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
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.

object(WP_Post)#3766 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(1973) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "36" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 02:38:21" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 02:38:21" ["post_content"]=> string(8684) "

What can you learn from 750,000 social media posts in China each day? Sean Smith of Isentia explores how technology is disrupting market research.

No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube. With stifling regulations around social media use, how can New Zealand businesses’ use social media to enter Chinese markets?

The basic premise remains the same – the way in which Chinese consumers engage with social media platforms is not dissimilar to here, nor is their decision-making journey. Needless to say, understanding the landscape is paramount for any company aspiring to capitalise on the booming Chinese economy. It’s certainly an opportunity worth pursuing – this year China’s GDP is estimated to exceed US $12.1 trillion (NZ $16.44 trillion).

An obvious difference from the outset is the sheer volume of online conversations that happen within China’s firewalls.

This is not surprising given the 740 million-odd internet users, and is exacerbated by the fact that social media is a much larger phenomenon in Chinese culture than it is here in New Zealand.

In today’s digital world, this level of activity offers businesses unprecedented access to millions of organic conversations unfolding in the alluring Chinese market – in real time. The million-dollar question is, how can this information be used to help businesses make important decisions about when to launch a product in the market and drive sales?

Givenchy and Mr Bags

A great example of the power of social media in China is the partnership between Givenchy and blogger Tao Liang, better known as Mr Bags.

He uses his encyclopaedic fashion knowledge to retain over 2.7 million Weibo readers and a further 600,000 WeChat followers; keen to be ‘in the know’ on the latest handbag trends and the current “it” bag.

In an act of extreme commercial nous, in 2017 Mr Bags called for his followers to nominate a potential collaborator for the blogger. When Givenchy emerged as the overwhelming favourite, the brand took the opportunity to launch a limited-edition handbag on Valentine’s Day via Mr Bags’ social channels. What followed the announcement was a 12-minute frenzy seeing Givenchy part with 1.2 million RMB’s (NZ$247,000) worth of handbags – a complete sell-out. Needless to say, the campaign was deemed a success.

Listen to many, speak to a few

By now it’s no secret that social media isn’t just a broadcast platform. In fact, true to the proverb “we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say”, there’s far greater power in using social media to understand a potential customer’s motivations.

In today’s world, social media provides market research on an unprecedented scale.

Once upon a time, businesses invested heavily in market research groups to understand consumer insight.

Test groups were enticed with gift vouchers or free products to partake in a fishbowl-style exercise, where they were asked to provide honest and open feedback as eager marketers and communicators looked on.

Despite questions being developed using the latest, tested methodology and astute moderators, the quality and authenticity of the data was often in question.   

Let me be clear – this has less to do with the methodology and more a reflection that as consumers, we find it much easier to speak the whole truth when we think we’re not being watched.

With such a high level of human involvement, it is also incredibly difficult to collect data consistently and without bias.

Technology: the market research disruptor

Why might technology make consumers more honest and open with their feedback? The truth is people are more honest in a casual setting. Therefore, dialogue about a product or service that’s exchanged in the comfort of someone’s home (behind a screen) will often be more candid than their responses to a survey.

At Isentia, Mediaportal’s cloud-based technology trawls video, audio and digital content across more than 4,400 print items, 1750 broadcast items, 62,500 online news sites, 6 million blogs and 300,000 forums. Processing seven million news items each day a rate of 234 stories per second, it presents summaries to clients in real-time.

For China enthusiasts, the technology mines over 750,000 WeChat and Weibo posts daily and uses this information to unearth the Mr Bags’ opportunities – the people or issues relevant to specific industries – so that businesses can make informed decisions based on both data and sentiment in foreign markets.

What’s more, the nature of social media means the survey technically never ends. Social media listening provides continued real-time pulse checking and the perfect new product incubator. It’s more than watching @mentions and comments pour in via your social profiles, mobile apps or blogs.

“If you’re only paying attention to notifications, you’re missing a huge group of people that are talking about you, your brand and your product.”

The true value is in tracking conversations around specific topics, keywords, phrases, brands or industries, and leveraging these insights to discover opportunities or create content for those audience.

Data – a modern marketing and communications must-have

It is now hard to imagine a marketing and communications industry that doesn’t rely on data to inform strategy, new product development and campaigns.

Much of what took place in marketing and communications teams, even as recently as a decade or so back, was based on assumption. We *think* that this product would be of interest to this audience, so we *figured* the best way to tell them about it would be mostly via a TV ad campaign.

“But data is now essential for any smart and savvy marketer or communicator and presents the opportunity to tap into foreign markets with a level of insight that has never been more accurate or accessible.”

When you combine and embrace the use of technology, social media, and analyse the data that it provides – you can not only quickly test and learn new products, but also give the fans what they want.  

Givenchy were clever and reaped the rewards of listening, embracing and reacting to their consumers’ want, making it big in China. Now it is your time to get onboard and reap the results.

Originally featured in CIO Magazine.

" ["post_title"]=> string(30) "Listen to many, speak to a few" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(164) "No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube. With stifling regulations around social media use, how can New Zealand businesses’ use social media to enter Chinese markets?" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(29) "listen-to-many-speak-to-a-few" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 08:14:24" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-06-25 08:14:24" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "https://isentia.wpengine.com/?p=1973" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Blog
Listen to many, speak to a few

No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube. With stifling regulations around social media use, how can New Zealand businesses’ use social media to enter Chinese markets?

object(WP_Post)#3761 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(32225) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "36" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2024-06-26 00:17:43" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2024-06-26 00:17:43" ["post_content"]=> string(9968) "

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published anti-greenwashing guidelines for businesses making environmental and sustainability claims. Despite these efforts, media coverage of greenwashing, particularly focusing on senate inquiries and regulatory court cases against major offenders, continues to expose brands and industries stretching the truth in their sustainability messaging. This exposure is causing a growing disconnect between consumers and corporations, as audiences increasingly call out misleading practices and question the authenticity of corporate sustainability claims.Isentia’s sister brand, Pulsar conducted recent research exploring media and public discourse around sustainability. Part of this report examines how greenwashing is covered in the news and on social media, particularly in relation to the broader sustainability discourse. Let’s investigate those themes in more depth here.

Social media data is decreasing while online news activity re-engages, indicating incident-led conversations. Regulatory bodies like the ACCC, and state and federal governments are tackling greenwashing by identifying major corporate offenders and their misleading actions, such as 'recyclable' packaging, carbon credit misuse, lack of transparency in fossil fuel investments, and exploitation of government climate programs. Audience conversations often align with news coverage on these matters.
The term in Australia particularly gained traction among social audiences around November 2022 when the UN called out the Australian government for allowing the use of carbon offsets in corporate emissions reduction strategies. News of the apparent collusion between the government and large corporations has caused public faith and trust in both to dwindle. As these stories emerge, Australia's positive sustainability impact on the international stage is significantly undermined.

https://twitter.com/janegarcia/status/1591662729664004099

When we look at which sectors are most discussed within the greenwashing topic, energy, finance, and food take the lead.

Much of the discussion regarding the energy and finance sectors emphasises their interconnectedness, particularly the investment by financial institutions, including super funds, in environmentally harmful industries. Despite some super funds claiming to offer options that avoid unsustainable investments, reports have revealed that they collectively hold millions of shares in the fossil fuel industry. 

Many industries are being criticised for using carbon credits, such as REDD+ offsets, to appear more sustainable. Advertising, marketing, and public relations also play a significant role in promoting misleading sustainability initiatives, thereby contributing to greenwashing. However, stakeholders are aware that the advertising and communications industries have a huge impact on the profitability and success of an industry or product. The European Union’s Product Environmental Footprint classification system, for example, has been criticised by Australia’s wool industry for being unfair to wool products and for greenwashing. This, they argue, not only undermines the pursuit of a green transition within fashion but also damages a vital industry.

Mercer stands out as a most mentioned brand within the topic of greenwashing. This is due to ASIC pursuing a civic penalty case against them which alleged they misled members about its sustainability investments. This is groundbreaking for audiences to witness as it would be the first time the consumer watchdog has taken a company to court for alleged greenwashing.

https://twitter.com/BillHareClimate/status/1630404986130808833

Much of the conversation focuses on misinformation and lack of transparency in communication and marketing. Certifications like Fair Trade are being questioned, particularly for products like chocolate, and eco-certification for farmed salmon. It particularly muddies the waters for political figures when they get entangled with brands coming under scrutiny for such greenwashing.

https://twitter.com/JosieMcskimming/status/1750987402691362858

Furthermore, some companies feature in the media conversation due to their involvement in a senate enquiry initiated in March 2023, with a report expected by June 28th this year. 

Analysis of the ANZ reveals a shift in mindset, with consumers emphasising individual actions for solutions like composting or guerilla campaigns on mislabelled environmentally friendly salmon products. Grassroots and individual activism leading to actions like divestment from conflicting companies. Community groups like uni student clubs showcase how groups with shared values and experiences can make noise and incite change with how universities invest. However, there are ongoing debates as to whether it’s the role of sectors like higher education or Super Funds to prioritise the environmental implications of their decisions.

The rise in curiosity around greenwashing highlights the growing consumer demand for transparency and genuine sustainability from brands. As regulatory scrutiny and public awareness increase, brands must ensure their sustainability claims are genuine or face reputation damage.

" ["post_title"]=> string(76) "The Eco-Spin Cycle: how brand’s sustainability claims come out in the wash" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(139) "Regulators are cracking down on corporate greenwashing, but what does media discussion reveal about its impact on brand-consumer relations?" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(72) "the-eco-spin-cycle-how-brands-sustainability-claims-come-out-in-the-wash" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(88) " https://www.isentia.com/latest-reads/sustainability-mapping-media-and-pr-conversations/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2024-06-26 00:18:52" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2024-06-26 00:18:52" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(32) "https://www.isentia.com/?p=32225" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Blog
The Eco-Spin Cycle: how brand’s sustainability claims come out in the wash

Regulators are cracking down on corporate greenwashing, but what does media discussion reveal about its impact on brand-consumer relations?

object(WP_Post)#7295 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(30836) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "36" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2024-04-11 23:33:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2024-04-11 23:33:19" ["post_content"]=> string(2824) "

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

" ["post_title"]=> string(60) "Sustainability: Mapping the Media & Public Conversations" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(117) "From accusations of greenwashing to the role of misinformation, we explore the comms landscape around sustainability." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(49) "sustainability-mapping-media-and-pr-conversations" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2024-06-26 00:20:04" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2024-06-26 00:20:04" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(32) "https://www.isentia.com/?p=30836" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Blog
Sustainability: Mapping the Media & Public Conversations

From accusations of greenwashing to the role of misinformation, we explore the comms landscape around sustainability.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch or request a demo.