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June 24, 2019

The 2019 Wellbeing Budget is set to broaden New Zealand’s focus beyond economic and fiscal policy

“We need to address the societal wellbeing of our nation, not just the economic wellbeing”  Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

The 2019 Wellbeing Budget is hailed by many as a landmark of its time for its undeterred focus on the social sector. [1] The intent for this budget, which is set to be handed down May 30 2019, is to go beyond GDP per capita and debt to GDP ratios to analyse the wider effects on people’s wellbeing and the state of the environment in an intergenerational way.[2] Although New Zealand have GDP growth rates that many countries would envy, for many New Zealanders it has been thought this GDP growth (and previous years budgets) have not translated into higher living standards or better opportunities.[3]

New Zealand is the first western country to design and implement its entire budget around wellbeing initiatives and also instruct its ministries to propose policies to enhance wellbeing for the country. This year’s Budget winner’s are set to be education, health and environmental industries. The top five priorities of the budget are outlined as follows:

1. Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy

2. Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities

3. Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities

4. Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence

5. Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds

The wellbeing approach

The nation enjoys being the third freest economy in the world, and as such, ranks first globally for ease of doing business. The Wellbeing Budget will broaden the focus beyond economic and fiscal policy by using the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework to inform the governments’ investment priorities and funding decisions [4] on complicated issues including climate change, inequality and child poverty. Through effective planning and decision making to combat these issues, it will enable the best choices for current and future generations beyond economic growth and successfully embed wellbeing into the public policy.

While it has been rumoured government agencies have been siloed when seeking budget funding, the Ardern government have introduced a new framework to combat this rumour and encourage a collaborative funding process. This process involves ministers submitting joint proposals with their colleagues for funding requests and enables social issues such as Domestic Violence to receive dedicated and well-rounded funding.

Interestingly, since the Wellbeing Budget was first announced 13 December 2018, there have been 600+ mentions across broadcast and print. Unsurprisingly, Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson has been leading the conversations with 43 per cent alongside Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern with her share of voice being 29 per cent. The wellbeing budget is surely getting a lot of airtime with 34 per cent of all mentions being across broadcast channels.

At the heart of the Wellbeing Budget is the Living Standards Framework (LSF) – a new dashboard of indicators to be used to advise successive governments’ how their policy choices affect New Zealanders over time and by using this framework, it will effectively embed wellbeing in New Zealand’s public policy. In addition, the Ardern government is being guided by other indicators, including the new Child Poverty Reduction Act which obliges the Minister of Finance to report at each budget how the country is tracking on a set of child wellbeing and poverty measures. The current Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will be the first finance minister to do so.

Beyond GDP

Historically, GDP was never intended as a measure of societal progress and it’s only quite recently that alternative measures of societal progress have been developed and a global “beyond GDP” has emerged.

Internationally, this has led to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the OECD Better Life Index and the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. Having these goals allow countries to track their progress towards aspirational goals including good health, superior education and wellbeing.

For a country that is socially progressive, it has taken a long time for the NZ political system to discuss wellbeing and the roles of values. Other taxpayers’ interests such as tourism, housing, immigration and education are also high on the list and the government has a great opportunity to reframe its budgets around the anticipated effect of the policies they’ve announced.

So, is the wellbeing budget a new way to measure the success as a country or is it just the introduction of another ‘first’ to keep the momentum going as a forward-thinking country?

If you would like to learn more about how you can stay across the wellbeing budget or any other topic, get in touch with us today

References

[1] https://www.bizlatinhub.com/nz-budget-2019-how-will-stack-up-business/

[2] https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/02/01/80182/what-2019s-wellbeing-budget-might-look-like

[3] https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/05/15/585288/robertson-shuns-rockstar-economy

[4] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1904/S00496/social-enterprises-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place.htm

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Next week’s Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

The government has strongly advocated for building a more resilient economy than their predecessors, yet in recent months, the economy is suffering due to a rapid rise in inflation. This has pushed up interest rates and is squeezing the cost of living with both consumers and businesses feeling the pressure. 

Following groceries, the leading financial stressors for Australians are petrol, rent, mortgage payments and energy bills. And just to make ends meet, Aussies are making more considered purchases, seeking higher paying employment or working multiple jobs. Australians are already anxious about inflation with growing concern there’s no end in sight. 

Will the government restore their trust in Australians and keep their pre Federal Budget promises?

Cost of living crisis

Latest data from CHOICE’s Consumer Pulse survey, revealed that cost of living pressures are a major concern, with 90% of Australians seeing an increase in their household bills and expenses over the past year. 

Inflation pressures are intensifying and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) continues to drive up interest rates - their highest level in 7 years. The government has promised a long-term and sustainable approach to cost of living support in the form of a relief package. 

Concerned about their mortgage payments, up to a third of mortgage holders could struggle to keep up with future repayments, with younger generations particularly concerned about surging interest rates. 

Using Isentia data, during an eight week period from early August to early October 2022, 18% of Australia’s front pages featured cost of living stories. Even in a time of large local and international news such as the war on Ukraine and the Optus security breach, the cost of living crisis was still making front page news.

According to Pulsar data, anxieties around the cost of living, peaked following the RBA's interest rate announcements on 4 September and 4 October. For the sixth consecutive month, Australians have had to tighten an already lean household budget.

Apprehensions around security increased on 24 September as a result of the Optus security breach and again on 10 October when the government announced changes to the country's defence projects.  Also on 10 October, cost of living concerns spiked after growing speculation surrounding the Stage 3 tax cuts being recalibrated. Australians also felt a heightened sense of unease after the announcement of a future surge in energy costs, following a recent  35% rise.

Topics causing anxiety this Federal Budget
Anxieties surrounding topics mentioned by the government. Source: Pulsar

Childcare fees are at their highest in 8 years, with child care subsidies failing to keep out of pocket costs to a minimum. On 16 September, conversation around child care spiked, as Treasurer Jim Chalmers promised to reduce the cost of childcare, yet pledged to keep spending restrained in light of budgetary constraints. 

As part of the cost of living relief package, this reduction won't come into play until mid 2023. Can Australian families wait this long?

Problematic climate conditions such as excessive rain and floods are leading to localised food price increases and diminished food quality. Even in the same area, poorer households are faring far worse than affluent counterparts. Across the board, there has been  a surge in the cost of fruit and vegetable prices (7.3%) and meat, seafood and bread rising by 6.3%

On top of these climate issues, labour shortages in both warehousing and transportation have resulted in added disruption to the supply chain. Freight costs are on the rise, putting intense pressure on importers and exporters. 

Are Aussie consumers looking at a continued supply chain that is more disruptive than the 2020 toilet paper shortage? The rise in the cost of living weighs on households' spending, and Australians are seeking alternate ways to make extra cash.

The thrifty shopper

As the cost of living rises, many Australians are seeking alternate ways to make or save cash; trimming budgets where they can; cancelling home entertainment subscriptions, and reducing insurance coverage for lower fees to name a few. Purchases at all levels are becoming more involved and highly considered, with discounts heavily sought after.

As Millennials and Gen Z shoppers are gaining more buying power, their passion for sustainable commerce is stronger than ever. Selling personal items to make extra cash has been on the rise with retail e-commerce platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and ‘Recommerce’ platforms like AirRobe, are booming. Not only are Australians becoming more financially savvy, they are conscious of the need to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ - a criteria these platforms adopt.

Following the money

There’s no doubt that inflation is changing salary expectations. And for those in industries where movement and remote working is possible, many Australians are following the money.

Data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, shows organisations have reported higher rates of employees leaving to achieve higher pay packets as a way to provide temporary relief for  the rise in cost of living. Interestingly, this higher voluntary turnover was especially concentrated in professional services. 

In response to labour shortages, organisations are implementing a range of non-base wage strategies - e.g bonuses, flexible work practices, more internal training and hiring staff with less experience, as opposed to increasing base wages.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures also show Australians are taking on multiple jobs, as full-time work forces employees to juggle several roles to make ends meet. Although multiple job holding is more common in low-paid industries, a record high of 900,000 people held multiple jobs in the June quarter of 2022. 

This is an increase of 4.3 per cent from the previous quarter and is a reflection of wages growth stagnating and nominal wages barely keeping up with consumer prices. The result; people needing to work more hours to make ends meet. 

Using data insights from Pulsar, wages is one of the ‘most anticipated’ topics in this year’s Budget. The Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.7 per cent in the June quarter and 2.6 per cent over the year, which represented a substantial fall in real wages given inflation rose 6.1 per cent last quarter. 

Social media conversation around wages is evolving with other indicators suggesting wages are still climbing alongside extreme uncertainty surrounding global growth and rampant inflation. 

Will Australians see more dollars in their pocket after the Budget is handed down?

The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget.
The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget. This is a visual representation of the conversation frequency of topics over time. Source: Pulsar

Australians taking action

With Australians taking a greater interest in living a sustainable lifestyle, the government and organisations are prompted to influence the lever of positive change and create actionable outcomes.

Despite a great deal of politicians pledging change, governments are often swayed by the media and public opinion which can derail policies wanting to address complex, longer-term challenges. Millennials and Gen Zs have long pushed to see societal and economic change. 

Results from the 10th Annual Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey shows they are increasingly becoming more politically involved. These influential cohorts are progressively showing interest in political issues, and turning to social media to discuss their opinions. Moreover, they are consciously making calculated career decisions and spending their money with organisations who share the same values.

The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online and social media.
The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online. Source: Pulsar

Social engagement shows left wing millennials are showing concern over the budget and economic issues, with Treasurer, Jim Chalmers gaining the most chatter. Similarly, baby boomers are equally vocal, using the same keywords as millennials but they also seek strong leadership and a strong economy.

For younger demographics, their interactions or relationships with organisations is dependent on the organisation's treatment of the environment, their policies on data privacy and their position on social and political issues. 

For governments, tackling environmental, economic and social issues and their impact requires a huge transformation across all sectors. Market forces alone will not solve the problem, and the onus is on governments to take a lead to meet the sustainability challenge. 

The October Federal Budget is an opportunity for the government to show they are the lever of change by creating actionable outcomes and a positive impact. Australians are concerned for the welfare of the country and previous governments have fallen short. 

The government promises to back clean energy and build new renewable infrastructure across the country, will they succeed or disappoint?

The Federal Budget can be an overwhelming time, with an abundance of promises and policies, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest news. We have a comprehensive range of political news services available to help you navigate the political media coverage at this October Federal Budget. Want to learn what’s being said at this Federal Budget?

Click here to start navigating the announcements that may impact your organisation.

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How concerned are Australians about the Federal Budget?

The upcoming October Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

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The end of the financial year is drawing closer, budgets have been forecast and approved – how will you target your spending in FY20?

A new financial year provides a great opportunity to review your results and reflect on your approach with some concrete performance data that can both prove value delivered and help you make the case for more.

While performance is a critical measure, it’s also a great time to address any internal processes and procedures that may be working against you or impacting other departments and staff. From operating systems and day-to-day workflow to crisis plans and business ready-ness protocols, the opportunity to communicate better throughout your business as well as outside of it can be extremely valuable.

So, when it comes time to evaluate what worked well and what didn’t in FY19 and plan for a successful FY20, here’s some first steps to help you get started:

Set your intentions

Set an intention to celebrate the wins and identify the opportunities to pivot where necessary. Even if you had a great FY19, you want it to grow and have even more success in FY20. If you have a business strategy already for the new financial years, are there areas that you could focus on to have greater impact on the bottom line?

Make a list of questions

Being intentional about your process sparks creativity and prevents the business from overlooking important pieces of information.

  • What are your overall achievements?
  • How did they impact business growth?
  • What were the key learnings from FY19?
  • What were the biggest disappointments?
  • Did you implement a strategy to pivot or constructively address the disappointments?
  • What products/services will be launched in FY20?
  • Did your messaging cut through, and if so, was the audience right?
  • How did your audience feel about your products, services and people – and what insights can you tell other departments like R&D, sales or the C-Suite that could help course correct some of the sentiment?
  • Did you have unexpected expenditures due to a PR crisis, and can you better prepare if this something else happens in FY20?
  • How sustainable are you as a business and are there long-term strategies you could start now that would put you in better shape?
  • Do you need to revisit some of your relationships with key conte Identify your metricsnt publishers, journalists and influences?
  • Are there areas that could benefit from expenditure over others?
  • What do you need to pull together to demonstrate what was achieved, and what could be achieved if your new FY20 plan is supported by leadership?

Identify your metrics

What will you use to measure your professional performance? Alongside your business statements and PnL, other measures like online traffic, media reach, customer sentiment and , sales figures, new subscribers and event attendees.

Carefully review your metrics and ascertain what contributed to your growth, as well as best practices for further growth. Assess the reasons for churn and identify areas for improvement. Are there any other tools and resources you can add to your metrics dashboard?

Review your FY19 goals

Identify which goals are worth keeping, which are to be eliminated and where energy will be most effective. This list of goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) and include short- and long-term timeframes. Goals or priorities for the coming year may be different from the previous year, whether it be hitting a certain new audience, building a certain leader’s profile, a successful new product launch or just staying ‘out’ of certain conversations and stories, these goals are key for your business’ success.

Time for innovation

It can be said that growth invariably comes from innovation. With so much pressure to perform well and report on performance, a different approach to communications tactics and tools can promote greater levels of innovation and encourage a more collaborative environment that welcomes new ideas while ensuring the business keeps up with modern changes. It doesn’t have to be world changing, it could be looking at new audiences, automation, the use of video or updating onboarding programs with all staff media training. The goal here is to think differently, challenge ideas and stay competitive. 

Use technology to your advantage

Understand what is being said about your business, how your audiences respond to or feel, and how you fare against your competitors. Our Mediaportal platform provides a full range of reporting and analytics allowing you to identify the most relevant audiences, the hot topics that need attention and what issues may be impacting your business, as well as additional insights born from your media coverage. This information is useful in planning your future tactics, leverage existing pools of success and continue to stand apart from the competition. Along with these always-on metrics in Mediaportal, our insights reports can provide the quantitative analysis needed to reflect on the year past with a comprehensive overview of share of voice, audiences and reach as well as month-on-month trends, media influence and positioning against competitors. Such reports provide a greater snapshot of your efforts and will assist with setting your benchmarks, goals and budgets for the year ahead.

By gaining a better understanding of what has been achieved and the potential areas for improvement, you will be able to establish an appropriate budget based on your objectives and provide a successful FY20 for your business.

Want to learn more about how to measure the effectiveness of your business and how to plan for your FY20? Let our team show you how, get in touch today.

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Blog
How to plan for your FY20 budget and show off your hard-earned media

The end of the financial year is drawing closer, budgets have been forecast and approved – how will you target your spending in FY20?

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The HKSAR Government announced the Hong Kong Budget 2019 on late February 2019. Looking ahead on 2019, Hong Kong should endeavour to diversity its economy and sustain growth in economic performance. In this whitepaper, we will look into the key takeaways of this year’s budget and what society concerns about this budget.

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Whitepaper
What are the societal concerns with the 2019 Hong Kong budget?

Looking ahead on 2019, Hong Kong should endeavour to diversity its economy and sustain growth in economic performance. In this whitepaper, we will look into the key takeaways of this year’s budget and what society concerns about this budget.

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Image of falling stock prices in a crisis on a blue background

In today's fast-paced world, audience intelligence is critical to crisis management. By understanding who your audience is and what they want, you can more effectively manage a crisis. 

The constantly changing landscape of the internet and social media can make it difficult to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, the vast amount of data available can be overwhelming and make it difficult to identify the most important information.

Getting a hold of the narrative in the media is crucial. It's inevitable that at some point, your brand will receive negative press. Whether it's a simple misunderstanding or a full-blown crisis, bad press can have a serious impact on your brand's progress. 

Surviving a crisis: Optus & BeReal

Crisis management bar graph of Optus data breach mentions in the media
More than 100,00 mentions of Optus in the media since the data breach announcement.

On 21 September, there was a data breach of telecommunications company Optus where many of its customers’ information were compromised. In response, the company adopted a cautious and controlled approach in delivering its external communications. 

However, the approach allowed the media as well as social media to swirl negative narratives about the company’s “inaction”. In the three weeks after the announcement that its databases had been hacked, there were more than 123,000 mentions of the company in the media. 

In this instance, addressing a crisis quickly to minimize the impact on your business is critical. Seeing a spike in media coverage becomes a good barometer of how negative sentiment can escalate against your brand. 

In another example, rising social media app BeReal suffered a shutdown in September. The app focuses on users being authentic in their posts by prompting them to post pictures of themselves at random times of the day. With almost 15 million downloads of its app in September alone, the shutdown caused a stutter in its communications approach.

Image of BeReal tweet on shutdown
Source: Twitter

With a single tweet acknowledging the shutdown of its service, users were left puzzled as to what had happened. Media queries were left unanswered. This silence by the social media platform led to high-profile news sites such as Yahoo and TechCrunch covering the shutdown. 

This is a highly risky communication approach in an extremely competitive market of social media platforms. Social media giant TikTok rolled out its version of BeReal while Instagram has begun testing the function. 

Image of tweet on BeReal shutdown and crisis management
Source: Twitter

The lack of transparency during a crisis such as a shutdown can lead to negative publicity and a loss of trust in the company. If users are not given clear information about why an app is shutting down, they may feel ‘lost’ and ultimately lose them as users

7 things to consider for your crisis management strategy

While it's impossible to completely avoid negative press, there are steps you can take to manage it and protect your brand's reputation.

1. Acknowledge the crisis & remain transparent

In the hyper-speed age of information-sharing and social media, it's more crucial than ever to be open and honest with your audience. 

When something goes wrong, don't try to hide it - own up to it and let people know what you're doing to fix the problem. 

Being open and transparent will help build trust with your audience and show that you are committed to making things right.

2. If it happens in your industry, it's your crisis

When a crisis strikes your competitor, there is no time to revel in their troubles. On another day, the crisis could happen to your brand and the scrutiny would be as intense as it was for your competitors. 

Take notes of what is happening in the media and quickly facilitate actions to counter any possible scrutiny that might come your way. These actions must be part of your crisis management plan.

3. Anticipate and monitor the crisis

In the high-speed world of audience intelligence, crisis management is essential to protecting your brand. Rapid response and proactive communication are key to mitigating the damage of a negative event. 

By monitoring the conversations online and identifying potential risks, you can take steps to prevent a crisis before it happens. If a crisis does occur, having a plan in place will help you quickly contain the situation and protect your organisation's reputation.

Make sure you have a media monitoring function so that you can monitor the escalating spread of news. Additionally, a social media intelligence platform can identify topical discussions your audience are engaged in.

4. Don't argue, trivialise or act defensively

Crisis management is the process by which an organisation deals with a major disruptive event. It's critical to remember that in a crisis, your audience is seeking reassurance and guidance on the issues.

Therefore, it's essential that you don't argue, trivialise or act defensively. Instead, you need to be calm, informative and decisive in your actions. This will help to instill confidence in your audience and allay the media pressure to give you space to address the crisis.

5. Keep it short and sweet

The message you send out must be brief and informative in order to effectively manage the crisis. Getting involved in a large-scale debate is not advisable because it distracts your focus from finding solutions. 

A brand crisis can be a very difficult situation to navigate. Your audience is interested in what you are going to do next and what will happen to them. It's important to keep your audience updated on what is happening and what you are doing to resolve the issue.

6. Address your most important audience

In the event of a crisis, it's essential to quickly identify your key audiences and address their concerns. For a fast-moving consumer goods or a services organisation, the customer comes first because they are the primary audience of interest. 

It also depends on what type of crisis it's. If there is a workplace safety and security matter, it's better to address your employees first and reassure them on resolving the crisis. 

Ultimately, it's best to identify key audiences and have various sources of information to implement this preemptive approach. From discovering communities in social media narratives to stakeholders of your business, keeping the flows of communication open is a priority.

7. Keep authorities and the media on your side

In the event of a crisis, it's essential to effectively communicate with the authorities and the media. Provide updates to the media and work with authorities to ensure that they are kept informed of the situation. By having a good relationship with them, the crisis is managed effectively and the negative impact on your business is minimised.

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Crisis management with audience intelligence

Crisis management is crucial for any brand. In today’s social media-driven world, a brand crisis can quickly spiral out of control.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch or request a demo.