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Thought leadership
June 14, 2019

Leadership Index Edition 2

The Face of Disruption

As disruption becomes the new norm, we were curious about what the faces of that disruption looks like right now. Is it a fully realised concept in media coverage, or has it become a way for brands and leaders to position themselves, rather than being or driving disruption?

DISRUPT: (verb dis·rupt \dis-ˈrəpt\) to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way; to interrupt the normal progress or activity of (something)

‘The face of disruption’ takes a look at who the disruptors are across ANZ and Asia, the common themes, those who hold a ‘celebrity like’ status and what observations can be made as these leaders are seen to evangelise change and drive results.

Since edition one, we’ve also updated our benchmark analysis of CEO profiles and media trends of Australia and New Zealand’s top 150 companies and examine the shifts as well as newcomers to the group.

Download a copy of the report here or if you would like to discuss the report further, get in touch with us today!

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26th March 2019

Isentia’s second edition of its Leadership Index has revealed two distinct styles of leadership in Australian business – conservatives and disruptors. The report revealed the top 25 CEOs and top five disruptive leaders in Australia, identifying their differing characteristics and the roles they play in modern business.

As well as updating its analysis of CEOs in Australia and New Zealand’s top 150 companies, Isentia explored the characteristics of Australian leadership through the lens of disruption. The top 150 companies were derived from a combined list of the ASX50, the NZX50, the 2018 IBIS World Top 500 companies published by The Australian Financial Review and Deloitte’s Top 200 data in New Zealand.

Isentia’s Chief Insights Officer, Khali Sakkas, says observations around the behaviour and portrayal of disruptive leaders are key in understanding modern businesses.

“Often in business we focus on measuring performance solely with financial metrics. However, this approach fails to recognise the impact of leadership trends and values,” Sakkas says. “We included a study of disruptive figures because in the current business climate, every single industry is seeing disruption, whether from technology developments or heightened customer expectations.

“Assessing disruptive personalities adds another layer of insight into the leadership of Australian business. No single individual featured in both the top 25 CEOs and the top five disruptive leaders. What we’re noticing is two distinct styles of leadership.

“Traditional CEOs are typically required to be risk averse, answering to shareholders and board members. On the other hand, the new generation of disruptors are usually undertaking a potential risk, yet their creativity can have a huge payoff.”

Disruptive leaders

To identify disruptive leaders, Isentia used its extensive media database to search for varying forms of the word “disrupt” in combination with leaders’ names. The most mentioned disruptors were global business leaders with celebrity status including Tesla’s Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Positive characteristics of this group included “ambitious” and “charismatic” while “erratic” and “impulsive” were listed as negative attributes. A significant 46 per cent of coverage regarding these individuals focused on their personal life, wealth and behaviour.

Coverage of Australian disruptors was often focused on business being disrupted, rather than the individual responsible for the change. Personalities were positioned as decisive and innovative leaders, with minimal negative attributes. The number one disruptive leader was Telstra CEO Andy Penn, who has led the telecommunications giant through a pivotal transformative period from mid-2018. With the rollout of the NBN, Telstra has required strong leadership to navigate the substantial changes to its business.

Penn exhibits the three most common traits of a disruptive leader: the ability to provide guidance in the face of circumstances outside of the business’ control, a focus on keeping technology front-of-mind in decision-making, and an aptitude for agile, flexible and forward-thinking ideas.

The top 25 CEOS

Isentia analysed more than 50,000 media items aired or published between 1 October and 31 December 2018 to provide an understanding of Australia and New Zealand’s top 150 companies. As in the first Leadership Index released in November, the CEO profiles and media trends of these businesses were assessed to reveal the top 25 CEOs. The three main factors that were evaluated were public perception, employee approval and financial performance.

Of the 150 companies assessed, the top 50 alone were mentioned in more than 700,000 media items. However, on average, the top CEOs were only present in nine per cent of their company’s coverage. BHP CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, retained his position as the number one leader in the final quarter of 2018.

Looking forward

The Isentia Leadership Index is designed to provide a benchmark to compare leadership profiles over time, highlighting key trends and figures as they shift each year.

“Broadening our report to include a study of disruption has really enriched our understanding of Australian leadership. It will be interesting to see which style of leadership becomes more prevalent in the coming years, as we continue to undertake our Leadership Index. Suggestions for other research topics are always welcome,” Sakkas says.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

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

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Media Release
Isentia Leadership Index reveals two distinct CEO styles

Isentia’s second edition of its Leadership Index has revealed two distinct styles of leadership

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The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, as they can significantly influence public perceptions and shape the narrative surrounding key industry players.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicRelations/comments/1aukych/australia_woolies_ceo_interview_mishap/?share_id=S-JDSwqI-UlHg_mIeTlkg&utm_content=2&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_source=share&utm_term=1

It was only the latest in a series of media items to seize Australia’s attention, and cast the nation’s supermarkets into something of a PR and Comms crisis.

And yet, viewing events through this framing also only gives a partial picture. As the discussion surrounding the impact of supermarkets on the rising cost of living intensifies, we've observed a notable surge in the usage of terms such as 'shrinkflation' and 'skimpflation'. Reaching back even further, we can see how the topics attained a gradually greater place on Australian news and social channels. Shrinkflation and skimpflation are tactics employed by supermarkets during economic challenges. Shrinkflation involves reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, subtly passing on costs to consumers. Skimpflation maintains product sizes but compromises on quality to preserve profit margins. These strategies often frustrate supermarket shoppers, especially during economic strains like inflation.

Clearly, the topic has become ubiquitous. But if we want to understand how information and perceptions have been communicated to mainstream Australian audiences, then it becomes vitally important to pay particular attention to broadcast media. 

Broadcast media (which includes television, radio and podcasts)  plays a pivotal role in shaping public discourse and influencing perceptions, particularly on pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis. 

Using Isentia to monitor these data sources, we gain valuable insights into their contribution to consumer attitudes. From identifying which organisations are most associated with the issue to pinpointing key public figures and preferred channels within radio and TV, broadcast media monitoring allows us to understand the complex dynamics that shape public opinion.

It’s the oldest of these media types which accounts for the most mentions of the supermarket crisis. Beyond reporting updates on the senate inquiry and government actions, radio excels in facilitating in-depth conversations between hosts and listeners, which surfaces more individual consumer stories than television or podcasts can match.

ABC's predominant coverage of the topic corresponds with the network's content strategy. Major programs such as the Supermarket Four Corners special and podcasts like The Briefing attract substantial listenership and garner attention from other channels. Channel 7, in addition to delivering key news updates, focuses on the shopper experience within supermarkets, shedding light on everyday challenges faced by audiences, such as navigating shrinkflation and skimpflation tactics.

Understanding the majority share of broadcast channels within this topic is important as it reflects who has the loudest voice, and is most persistently advancing a certain narrative or way of framing the situation. 

Coles and Woolworths dominate the conversation, reflecting their prominent presence in the retail landscape. Their widespread accessibility and familiarity to consumers make them prime subjects for discussion in the context of rising costs and economic pressures. 

Conversely, Aldi and IGA, while still significant players in the grocery market, may receive comparatively less focus in these discussions. Aldi's reputation for offering lower-priced alternatives and IGA's decentralised business model, with independently owned stores, may also contribute to their reduced presence in conversations about supermarket practices during times of economic strain. 

Each channel and network approaches discussions about supermarket groups differently. While Coles and Woolworths understandably dominate each station's broadcasts, the precise balance (and the time afforded to Adi and IGA) is revealing.

For instance, 4BC has encouraged audiences to diversify their shopping habits, with one 4BC broadcaster highlighting that "Aldi and IGA are actually doing more than the other two to really help enormously with the cost of living."

In the discourse on supermarket practices during the cost of living crisis, a number key figures emerge across broadcast channels. Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, is predictably prominent on just about every channel, particularly broadcaster 2SM. 

All of them, that is, apart from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which spotlights Allan Fels, an economist and former ACCC chair who has analysed price gouging by major corporations. Other notable politicians mentioned include Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Craig Emerson, Steven Miles, and David Littleproud. 

Media's focus on these figures is crucial for shaping public discourse and policy responses amid economic pressures. While supermarkets are often discussed as a key antagonist in the cost of living crisis, they are increasingly being viewed in the context of potential solutions, particularly regarding government policy to regulate supermarket giants.

At the same time, focus does not only fall on the prominent individuals driving business decisions and policymaking. Country Hour (NSW), for instance, focused a story on cherry grower Michael Cuneo, who ceased selling to supermarkets after he made a financial loss on a shipment of fruit. And it was this story that achieved the greatest media reach of any radio content on the topic.  

Clearly then, the topic has not played out in any one way across any one channel. The prominence of key figures and top broadcast channels in this conversation underscores the importance of understanding how media coverage impacts public discourse and regulatory decisions. Isentia's broadcast capabilities offer unparalleled insight into the role of broadcast media in shaping the narrative surrounding supermarket practices. By harnessing Isentia's monitoring and analysis tools, organisations can gain deep insights into how influential discourse and coverage can impact an industry. 

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Blog
How Australian broadcast media has shaped the cost of living crisis narrative

The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, […]

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The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals, with people facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences. 

What’s driving the cost of living concerns?

A range of factors are driving the cost of living in Australia, with some having more of an impact than others. Using data from our sister company, Pulsar, inflation (as the overarching issue) is gaining the most media coverage as the price of goods and services continues to increase over time.

The top drivers of the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 2023

The chart also shows the rise in energy costs, interest rates, and housing prices (rent and mortgage prices) as other main drivers for cost of living concerns. As energy prices continue to increase, households are feeling the pinch as their expenses soar. And when it comes to housing, whether it's the skyrocketing rent or the burden of increasing mortgage payments, many individuals and families are finding it increasingly challenging to secure affordable accommodation.

Let’s take a closer look at these topics.

Energy fuels the discussion

Energy sources and prices are hot topics in the media, impacting households, affordability, and vulnerable populations. But a troubling discrepancy emerged in the May 2023 Budget: businesses got more attention than households in energy relief measures. Surprisingly, only 13% of media coverage focused on the struggles faced by individuals, while a whopping 29% centered around the politics and policies of Australian businesses. This raises valid concerns about whether the media is truly addressing the needs of Australian communities.

The energy narrative and the cost of living

Sectors feeling the heat of media scrutiny

Media outlets play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing the cost of living. When it comes to specific energy sectors, they have become the subject of intense media scrutiny. Data from our Energy Transition report shows that coal and gas are in the hot seat, with a significant portion of media coverage - 43% for coal and 26% for gas - dedicated to discussing these fossil fuels. This media focus highlights the ongoing conversations surrounding the environmental impact of coal and gas, their contribution to climate change, economic considerations, and the urgent need for policy changes to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Feeling the pinch

The cost of living crisis goes beyond numbers; it’s intertwined with the housing market and interest rates. Escalating housing costs, fueled by rising prices and interest rates, can put immense strain on household budgets, leading to financial stress and widening economic inequality.

But the conversation doesn't stop there. The story behind the data is clear: the cost of living is an issue that affects us all, and the media plays a crucial role in shaping and amplifying the conversation. Google searches and social media activity reflect people’s ongoing concern about the weight of living expenses, especially around RBA announcements. Anxiety emerges as a dominant theme, with a staggering 93% of media coverage highlighting the keyword.

cost of living comparisons
Source: Isentia (print, online, broadcast), Pulsar TRENDS (Twitter), Google Trends, May 1 - July 30 2023

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows living costs have reached an all-time high. Over the past 12 months, all living cost indices have risen between 7.1 percent and 9.6 percent for all households, compared to a 7 percent annual increase in inflation.

The difference largely stems from living cost indices taking into account mortgage interest charges. Housing and interest rates have been the largest contributors to the rise in the cost of living, with home owners feeling the pinch from rising mortgage payments and renters feeling the brunt of it. According to the RBA, the average mortgage size in Australia has increased by 38% in the past decade. According to Pulsar data, unsurprisingly, 84% of Australians are left feeling sad about the cost of living. 

Influential figures shaping the conversation

Data from the Pulsar Platform gives a visual snapshot of how several Australian and foreign individuals and groups are influencing the conversation, including politicians, economists, consumer advocacy groups, and business owners.

who is talking about the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 31 May 2023. Influential people and organisations

Unsurprisingly, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds significant influence when it comes to shaping the cost of living conversation in Australia’s political landscape. As the governing body in Australian Parliament, their policies and initiatives subjectively bear the everyday Australian in mind, aiming to tackle the affordability challenges that many face. The ALP resonates with citizens worried about rising living costs due to its focus on income inequality, social justice, and fair economic policies. But are they doing enough?

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, along with other influential ALP members including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, and Mick de Brenni, are leading the conversation in an effort to alleviate living expenses and promote income growth. Despite their desire to achieve these outcomes, the public outcry on Twitter shows the frustration Australians are feeling. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are in the firing line, with the public urging more action on the cost of living crisis.

Jim chalmers and the cost of living
online sentiment about the cost of living

How media intelligence can help you navigate the cost of living

Advocacy efforts can be significantly enhanced through the use of social listening and media monitoring. These tools allow you to effectively navigate the dynamic narratives surrounding the cost of living. By tailoring your advocacy approach, you can foster a more equitable and sustainable solution that brings positive change to communities and influences public opinion.

Additionally, by staying well-informed about the ongoing public discourse and trending discussions related to the cost of living, you can develop compelling communication strategies that effectively inform and engage your stakeholders.

Curious about how media intelligence can enhance your communication strategies to connect with your audience? Request a demo here, and our expert team will reach out to help you develop your communication strategies.

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Blog
The Story Behind the Data: Navigating the Cost of Living

The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals. Within our shores, people are facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences.

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Media's Lens: Framing the FIFA Women's World Cup Narrative

Media coverage communication strategies

The FIFA Women's World Cup has taken centre stage as well as global communication strategies, drawing global attention as the media employs key themes to shape perceptions and illuminate the tournament's core values. From Viewing & Enjoying to Women in Sports, Rankings, Cultural Inclusivity and Representation, Marketing and Advertising, Community and Economy, these themes underscore the event's significance, lofty ambitions, and the collective aspiration for soccer's unifying power. 

The media focuses on the excitement surrounding the game, not only because it echoes fans' optimistic expectations for the future of women's sports but also because this is entertainment with genuine fandoms. This strategic coverage not only provides professional athletes with a global platform to broadcast their values to the world but also weaves the Women's World Cup narrative into a vibrant tapestry of empowerment, inspiration, and unity, establishing an influential precedent for the evolution of women's sports.

Studying how news media engage viewers provides insights for organisations aligning their messaging with audience expectations. While WWC promotes women in sports, news media prioritise entertainment and women athletes. A tournament, usually hosted in inconvenient time zones, excites Australian and New Zealand non-sports and sports fans alike, emphasising the value of a localised global platform backed by the media. 

Media trends drive organisations to adjust communication strategies. It signals organisations/brands to re-strategise their communications strategy when they observe media and viewer trends and their flow-on effects. For example, media coverage of the cup, focusing on its  entertainment value rather than gender, and reporting on ratings, excitement, and atmosphere, demonstrates to organisations that it is a worthwhile channel to invest in and align their communications with.

Brand Strategies: Engaging Audiences Amidst the Soccer Spectacle

top sponsors and their communication strategies strategies

As the FIFA Women's World Cup captivates global attention, it becomes an arena for strategic brand engagement. Our friends at Pulsar provided key audience intelligence insights, helping us bridge the gap between news coverage and audience engagement. The tournament serves as a stage for brands to showcase their commitment to women's sports and connect with passionate fans on a deeper level with their messaging. Among these, a select few stand out, employing unique strategies, like broadcast presence, social engagement and news pickups, to drive forward their values while resonating with WWC’s diverse audience segments. These organisations took advantage of a phenomenon with broad appeal and positioned themselves to represent the themes driven by news media.

McDonald's and Social Engagement – Empowering Fan Participation and Interaction

McDonald's turns its spaces into soccer havens, fostering community engagement through earned content using social media ops and iconic backdrops. Macca's All Stars and personalised collectible cards connect fans, while initiatives like Macca’s Swings infuse playfulness. The Panini Football Stickers Happy Meal celebrates women's football by building fan dream teams. 

Lays and Broadcast Presence – Amplifying the Thrill of the Game

With the biggest investment in TV ads for women's sports, Lay's "Taste of Greatness" commercial marks a historic partnership, fueling the excitement of the game. The #LaysGOALdenGiveaway transforms goals into winning opportunities, while the Ultimate Watch Parties and Fan Quest showcase the lively fan culture, bringing supporters together. Lay's top investment in women's sports aligns with how news media and audiences perceive women's sporting events.

Google Pixel and News Pickup – Highlighting Visibility and Advocating Equality

Google Pixel amplifies visibility with the "unblur" function and the campaign message of seeing individual players' diverse stories, thus advocating for gender equality. Partnerships with football associations and players empower Pixel FC members, while the advanced camera and AI technology enhance fan experiences, uniting fans on and off the field.

By exploring these communication strategies, we discover how the FIFA Women’s World Cup goes beyond being just a sporting event. It becomes a symbol of unity, inspiration, and a demonstration of the messages that resonate with audiences.

Lay sponsorship strategy of broadcast presence media exmaple
https://www.tiktok.com/@nickandhelmi/video/7257840723880414465
https://twitter.com/GoogleUK/status/1673254779642949634

Sam Kerr: Icon of the Game and Her Diverse Fan Base

Sam Kerr's audience segments and communications strategies

Sam Kerr's journey from aspiring athlete to global sensation exemplifies her exceptional talent and unwavering work ethic. Her iconic status isn't solely due to athleticism; Sam Kerr's genuine authenticity and relatable qualities forge connections with diverse supporters, as seen in the primary fan segments listed above. Her public image highlights how news coverage prioritises entertainment, appealing to a wider audience rather than just sports fans or those with a pro-women agenda. 

Organisational messaging can use this to bring their purpose to a wider community. This illustrates a profound connection between the themes the news media emphasise and the messaging organisations should strive for, as demonstrated by Sam Kerr's influence.

Sam Kerr's influence spans diverse groups, including young women who are inspired by social influencers like Tanya Burr, dedicated sports fans who admire her tenacity, and the LGBTQIA+ community who identify with her. Understanding the most popular platforms and channels of her audience further indicates where messaging and brand positioning would be most effective, especially for organisations that aim to reflect the diverse fanbase Sam Kerr attracts. Her impact reflects the universal appeal of the Women's World Cup, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and uniting them around values such as  determination and breaking stereotypes. Sam Kerr's far-reaching impact is a beacon of hope for women's sports. 

Getting off on the right foot with the right communication strategies

The FIFA Women's World Cup goes beyond showcasing soccer prowess, intertwining narratives of athlete popularity, partnership strategies, and media coverage. This exploration delves into Sam Kerr's journey, scrutinises the engagement strategies of major brands, and dissects how the media portrays the Women's World Cup. From Kerr's diverse impact on fans to organisations strategically amplifying their brands amid the tournament's excitement and media highlighting essential themes, a comprehensive picture emerges. This holistic perspective crafts a vibrant narrative of empowerment, unity, and inspiration. 

As PR and communications professionals, these insights emphasise the potential to align brand narratives with a popular ethos, fostering impactful connections and advocacy that resonate within a changing industry and beyond.


If you would like to learn more about discovering how media intelligence can lead to insights across advertising strategy or the active communities leading specific online conversations using audience intelligence, get in touch with our partners at Pulsar today.

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Blog
Communication Strategies at FIFA Women’s World Cup

Media’s Lens: Framing the FIFA Women’s World Cup Narrative The FIFA Women’s World Cup has taken centre stage as well as global communication strategies, drawing global attention as the media employs key themes to shape perceptions and illuminate the tournament’s core values. From Viewing & Enjoying to Women in Sports, Rankings, Cultural Inclusivity and Representation, […]

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