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Blog post
June 24, 2019

More than a number

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

For International Women’s Day this year the call is to #pressforprogress. With the World Economic Forum releasing information that gender parity is still over 200 years away and an intense global spotlight on women through #metoo and #timesup there is pause for thought on how this information and data can drive change. However, the broad nature of global movements means that it can be easy to disconnect and not always understand the impact in your local environment.

One of the IWD calls to action is to forge positive visibility of women by identifying ways to make them more visible and select them as spokespeople and leaders. I work in communications measurement and media research, and we deal with data about organisations, media strategies and consumer behaviour on a daily basis. Our work is built on the idea that media representation and public opinion can be understood and changed.

I’ve been lucky enough to see a desire for change from the clients that I work with and to produce research that should be a driver for change. Some of the consistent findings across media in New Zealand are: Significantly lower volumes of women presented as a subject matter expert or commentator.

Significantly lower volumes of women presented as a subject matter expert or commentator

Women are described as having earned their position or success more often than men.

Female success is often contextualised by male failure. (This is particularly true in coverage of athletes).

Women are not shown in a diversity of roles, and are more likely to be positioned with their family, partners, coaches and other support people.

As a quick example, over the past 12 months 72% of all sources quoted in banking and financial coverage in New Zealand, were men. For the dairy industry, 82% were men. In the tertiary sector, which I thought would be a palate cleanser, only 33% of all sources were women.

As with anything involving communication, this is a two-way street with media. For some organisations we specifically examine how often they position women for comment, or are quoted in media releases and kits, and what the specific take up of that is compared to men.  So far, the data supports that a female spokesperson is more likely to be cut out of final copy. We have also found that there is a higher likelihood that journalists have a direct relationship with experts and commentators who are men. Women are more likely to have this relationship facilitated through a communications function or other support network.

Organisations are becoming more conscious of the impact that representation may have on their brand in the future. In the context of ethical and values-based consumerism, where the expectation on brands is to match with personal beliefs and authenticity, gender can play an important role. It may contribute to reputation in unexpected ways, including being an employer of choice. 

While some of these findings are challenging, the increased interest from organisations to understand how the representation of women affects their brand, is a positive step. We now have clients who are solely focused on improving their profile – not only by an increased presence of women – but openly celebrating gender diversity initiatives and how these initiatives are being reported on, and discussed online by potential employees or customers. 

If nothing else, I hope that this information allows for pause, and reflection on how we all contribute to the representation of women through our small choices, whether that be who is positioned to speak on a topic, or what language is used, and how much space is given. Representation is important. How often we see women, and how they are framed helps to shape our expectations. We can’t change what we don’t understand or can’t see clearly.

Ngaire Crawford is Head of Insights for Isentia in New Zealand. Her team of New Zealand-based analysts work across a broad range of clients measuring their communication strategies, and use media to help organisations understand their audiences and issues that are important to them.

This article originally appeared on StopPress NZ.

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The social trends and audience behind healthy drinking behaviour

While the pandemic and lockdowns made some people more likely to grab an alcoholic drink, audience interest in low alcohol or no alcohol drinks keeps growing online, both globally and in Australia. 

But what events are driving Australians towards the #sobercurious lifestyle? And which brands are piquing their interest?

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According to data from our sister company Pulsar, social conversation and search interest in low-no-alcohol peaked in April '21-Oct '21 as the press announced a $1 million government grant (as part of the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy) was awarded to Modus Operandi Brewery to manufacture a non-alcoholic ale, NORT. The mentions of low/no-alcohol experienced a peak in June, leading to Dry July and Sober October.

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Mention metrics show that health and socialising are major motivational drivers for Australians when choosing a drink of the low/no-alcohol variety. The two are closely related, as prominent tags associated with low/no-alcohol mentions are #mindfuldrinking, #soberissexy, and #soberdating.

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Meanwhile, popular millennial and gen z media outlets like Fashion Journal and Refinery29 are reporting on how-tos and the benefits of sober dating. Young Australians are reading that by avoiding the booze, their anxiety is reduced, and they are setting themselves up for relationship success.

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Mental health improvements associated with the trend aren’t the only benefits being publicised; the physical gains are too. Australian media personality Erin Holland told Women’s Health Magazine that her preparation for the popular reality series SAS Australia involved a strict no-alcohol rule. Rugby union Wallaby player Radiko Samo credited a no-alcohol stance to his improved performance on the field.

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The data also suggests Australians genuinely enjoy the taste of low/no-alcohol beverages followed by ethical reasons. For centuries, abstinence from alcoholic drinking has been tied to ethical beliefs, but open discussion and acknowledgment of Australia’s amoral history keep this motivator current. Aboriginal-owned and led non-alcoholic craft brewers SOBAH advocate for this and aim to break toxic Indigenous stereotypes by providing “healing opportunities outside the reliance on government funding and control."

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Globally, drinks like beer, vodka, and whiskey tend to be more popular, but Australian consumers are hitting the spirits and mixers. Non-alcoholic cocktail bars were springing up across Australian metropolitan areas like Brunswick Aces in Melbourne, giving non-drinkers a chance to socialise without feeling left out. From hotels to online delivery services, hospitality businesses connect with Aussies’ healthier lifestyle choices. In particular, small-batch distilleries and breweries utilising bush tucker flavours are getting covered in widely read hospitality and entertainment sites like Broadsheet. 

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Australian-made distilleries are also proud to represent the small-batch, independent ethos which aligns with the Aussie tendency to support one-of-kind artisanal producers over big-name brands.

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British and Australian brands Seedlip and Lyre’s appear as the most mentioned across media platforms between July-November 21. In the news, Aussie founded Lyres had taken out best non-alcoholic spirit for their Italian spritz at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Seedlip took out two non-alcoholic spirit awards in the Australian Drinks Awards held in November 2021.

While we might expect fitness enthusiasts to be discussing the benefits of lowering alcohol consumption online, a deep dive into the different audiences talking about low alcohol brands reveals this is a popular conversation amongst more niche subcultures.

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Across twitter, discussions of non-alcohol spirits are popular amongst Australian bookworms. Popular non-alcoholic brands like Lyres and Seadrift use old-fashioned or themed storytelling as part of their branding language—an aesthetic that lets  literary lovers know they ”can enjoy the mirth and merriment of a soiree or shindig” without alcohol. This group is also keen to share with their community the book they are currently reading and a matching mocktail.

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This trend continues to grow as Aussies aspire for optimal performance at work, in their social and romantic lives, and for their overall wellness. The data shows Aussies celebrating and sharing their alcohol-free experiences with their digital communities, and with the backing from the government and smaller brands taking out big awards, this trend continues to offer Australians an opportunity to get on the wagon.

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Thought Leadership
Australia gets on the wagon: what’s driving low and no alcohol trends
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The study seeks to comprehend the themes and sentiment of the media and digital public discussions on the identified candidates since the official campaign period from 8 February 2022 to 9 March 2022.

Fill up the form below to download the whitepaper and read more.

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Whitepaper
ISENTIA PHILIPPINES – The First 30 Days: The Philippine Presidential Race Campaign Period at a Glance

The Philippine presidential candidates have had various strategies for their campaigns since their announcements via mainstream and social media. The public has had varied reactions to their movements. The study seeks to comprehend the themes and sentiment of the media and digital public discussions on the identified candidates since the official campaign period from 8 February 2022 to 9 March 2022. Fill up the form to download the whitepaper and read more.

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IIt was just a week ago when I was asked to travel to Canberra to assist the Isentia Canberra team with the 2022-23 Budget. The team was preparing to provide our clients with a range of Parliamentary Services to support them throughout the Budget announcement and plethora of reactions, resulting in the most significant media day of the year. 

Isentia has an office right in the middle of the Parliamentary press gallery, above the House of Representatives, alongside the ABC, The Conversation, 9 News, 7 News and SBS had my head reeling. We are in the thick of the Budget conversation at Parliament House and have access to the Budget papers during lock-up. I am not going to lie, I would have loved to have gotten my hands and eyes on what lay inside the mass that is the Budget, but I was just as excited to be a part of Isentia’s first live stream of the conga line to deliver immediate stakeholder perspectives.

Lock-up team Whitney and Crystal ready to unpack the 2022 Budget for clients, pictured with Account Executives Melvic (right) and Nikhar (left)

This is my first time in Canberra and walking into Parliament House. It may sound ridiculous to some, but I felt the magnitude of decisions and words within this space as soon as I arrived. This could be due to the physical size of the building, the maze of corridors (I did get lost), or that Greg Hunt, Minister for Health and Aged Care, passes by you, or Laura Tingle, ABC political journo heavyweight, is standing inside the courtyard cafe – no longer just a revered top news journalist on my TV screen. I am tempted to approach her and ask her thoughts on any Budget revelations, but professionalism nips that one in the bud.

The live stream is my main priority and ensuring we capture stakeholder responses as soon as lock-up ends. With the cool, calm, and collected Melvic (Canberra Account Executive) by my side, I felt we were prepared to capture all the opinions and critical commentary on Frydenberg’s latest Budget. But as Melvic had said to me plenty of times over the past couple of days while in Canberra, “you can’t exactly prepare for Budget night.” Speeches can go on for longer, lock-up can be delayed, and elevators can stop working. It was 7.30pm, and we (Melvic and myself) could not get to the second floor, where the press gallery and the conga line were to be. After semi-frantically looking for a way to get there – the elevator wouldn’t go to floor two, and the staircase was blocked off – our prayers were answered in the presence of a former staffer who took pity and showed us to an elevator that could get us there. The doors opened, and we were awkwardly confronted by a crowd of diners enjoying a catered event, but after casually walking by, we were able to get to the gallery and stream the conga line.

I staked my claim on a small footprint of space to set up Isentia’s nimble streaming equipment among tall, solid guys supporting big TV broadcast cameras. As speakers were changing over, we had to pause for one of them to change their camera battery. The speakers were unfazed by the background buzzing of phones, regular triggering of Parliament House clocks and adrenaline-pumped chatter of people in the corridors. I was particularly moved by the words of Carolyn Smith, Aged Care Director at the United Workers Union and a team of aged care workers who felt a lack of respect for what the Budget provided them. I wondered how journalists could keep it together when they were listening to the stories and concerns of people who really feel impacted by the decisions made here. These are comments and opinions that matter to our clients, and providing this service allows them to better inform their operations and objectives. After the last speaker, Melissa Donnelly, National President of the Community & Public Sector Union, had finished, the live stream was done. But the active alerts team weren’t.

Live stream conga line of Carolyn Smith, Aged Care Director, United Workers Union & Aged Care Workers (Curtis, Marina, Shin,Teresa)
Live stream conga line of Carolyn Smith, Aged Care Director, United Workers Union & Aged Care Workers (Curtis, Marina, Shin,Teresa)

The team, rapid-firing live alerts to clients after lock-up release, are able to provide clients near-immediate knowledge of key topics concerning their organisation. This being my crash course introduction to the chaos of a Budget night, I was not expecting the personal understanding and touch that went into the live active alerting process for clients. I pictured images of machines whirring and topics automatically ticking through Budget content, machines that made a detached decision about what was relevant to clients and made blanket sends without consideration. How our Account Executives, Crystal and Whitney, understood the ins and outs of the needs held by our clients does make a real difference to accuracy and content relevancy.

With the speed and focus they applied to this product offering (active alerts), you would have thought they were machines anyway. But a machine is not going to have their ongoing long-term client relationship and understanding of client development.

 It’s a wrap! Budget 2022 Isentia team, (from left) Crystal (Account Executive) Loren (Marketing Executive ANZ), Whitney (Account Executive), Melvic (Account Executive), Nikhar (Account Executive), Russ (Chief Commercial Officer). 

After the last active alert was sent, you could still feel the adrenaline. The pace and unpredictable circumstances that this team worked under were staggering, but we made it in the end. After a justified amount of snacking, we packed up the Isentia Parliament office and found our way to the car park, where everyone there that night was in a state of buzzed debriefing as they crouched into their Ubers home. I doubt anyone there got more than 5 hours of sleep that night, but it was amazing to be a part of how Isentia offers a unique service to clients. We look forward to giving the same level of tailored content to clients during the election coverage.

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Isentia bringing the 2022-23 Budget to Clients

Our Marketing Executive gets a crash course in Budget night at Isentia. We provide tailored media intelligence offerings. Discover the Isentia difference!

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