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Blog post
June 24, 2019

The 7 Deadly Sins Of Writing A Media Release

From multi-national corporations to local government bodies, a media release is the bread and butter of any organisation.

It’s the primary vehicle for delivering to the myriad journalists scanning both the digital and paper world for tidbits of information they can sculpt into newsworthy articles.

A media release that stands out from the crowd is much more likely to gain traction and, if you have accurate media tracking tools in place, can reveal a lot about your target demographic and its awareness of your brand. Of course nailing the perfect media release is no easy feat, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

While a good writer will gradually hone their skills over years of practising their craft, there are a few things you can do to instantly improve the quality – and open rates – of your releases. Boost your chances of exposure and consequent brand recognition by avoiding these seven deadly sins of media release writing:

1. Lust – your uncontrolled desire for wordy headlines

Conciseness is the hallmark of any good media release writer, and this extends to your headlines, too. While your headline should convey an idea of what the media release contains, making it too long turns audiences off and discourages them from reading on. Copyblogger reported that 80 per cent of people may read a headline, but only 20 per cent will read the rest.

Keep your headlines, short, snappy and creative. Incorporating meaty or surprising statistics into the headline will improve your press releases’ chances of getting opened, as it immediately indicates what the rest of the text will be about.

2. Gluttony – your appetite for lengthy intros knows no limits

Journalists are busy people and don’t have time to spend dissecting lengthy discussions on the latest and greatest developments at your organisation, regardless of how well it’s written. A reader should be able to get the gist of your media release within the first paragraph or two at most.

Media monitoring analytics may be able to reveal successful patterns in your media release structures, allowing you to cut the filler, condense your writing and get to the crux of the issue as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence and convoluted media releases are unlikely to ever see the light of the day. 

3. Greed – you overindulge in promotional phrasing

Media releases are a balancing act between news and promotion, though many PR managers are guilty of leaning too heavily towards the latter. A media release is not an opportunity to sell a product or service and the language you use should reflect this.

Steer well away from salesy sentencing and avoid hyping up your organisation too much. Instead, present the facts in an objective and impartial manner, discuss the role your organisation played in the topic at hand, and let readers form their own opinion.

4. Sloth – you recycle information and use it in your media releases

Media releases feature a distinct style of language and structure and each one you write should be treated as an opportunity to teach consumers about your organisation. Even with deadlines looming over you, avoid copying text from internal documents and including it in your media releases.

Similar to how you would tailor a resume to get a specific job, media releases should be crafted to target a specific magazine, newspaper or website. Write each one from scratch and create unique content that will really hit the mark with your chosen demographic.

5. Wrath – you use excessive exclamation marks

Exclamation marks, most commonly associated with anger (wrath) or loudness, are one of the most ill-used punctuation marks in media releases. You may be excited about developments within your organisation, but using exclamation marks (or worse, multiple exclamation marks) to highlight your point makes the media release look spammy, overly promotional and untrustworthy.

Limit your use of this punctuation mark. Unless someone in your media release feels particularly strongly about a certain subject, it’s unlikely that you’ll need one whatsoever.

6. Envy – you try to copy other press releases

It can be frustrating to see another media release gain serious traction in your market, especially when you feel as though yours are just as well crafted. However, do not begin mimicking the media releases of other organisations in hopes of achieving similar success.

Be confident in your skills to create a winning media release and feel free to experiment with structures that are a little bit different. As noted in the slothful sin, a media release should be unique in style and content, and copying another’s will not reap sustainable results in the long run. 

7. Pride – you write about events that are not newsworthy

You’re proud of your company and you want the world to know about every little development that takes place behind its doors – we understand. However, remember that media releases essentially help journalists report on the news. If it’s not timely, local, new, extreme, unusual or high-impact, you may need to reconsider how newsworthy your media release really is. 

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This month, we chat to Shirish Kulkarni, Director of Monnow Media about effective storytelling. He shares his research about why the way we tell stories needs to change to make news more engaging, inclusive and informative. 

Isentia’s Insights Director, Ngaire Crawford also shares some of the trends we’re seeing across social and traditional media, and how we’re seeing the notion of ‘effective’ storytelling change for our clients.

https://youtu.be/tz8LuhjuzBA

Ngaire Crawford talks about the storytelling trends across social and traditional media

3:41 - Mainstream media is talking about:

  1. Back to end-to-end COVID coverage with a regular cadence of updates
  2. Anti-maskers are in the spotlight and the phrase “Bunnings Karen” has returned over 6000 media items
  3. A slight increase in global coverage related to second waves of the virus.
  4. Considerable reduction in racial inequality discussions
  5. Across New Zealand where COVID isn’t quite the main focus, there is a lot of coverage about elections and electioneering.

 

5:12 - Across social media, there is a lot of division:

  • Between openly calling out misinformation, and perpetuating misinformation.
  • Between those ‘doing the right thing’ and those who are not. This is more about calling out individuals rather than organisations.

6:12  - On Google Trends, people across Australia and New Zealand are looking for search terms:

  1. Kerry Nash (Bunnings Karen)
  2. A lot of TV shows and celebrity content (Kanye West etc)
  3. Sports (NZ)

 

7:06 - In terms of storytelling, it’s important to understand the context in which you are communicating. The things to consider:

  • Impact of video - divisiveness can breed “recipients” or “evidence” based culture. Video is the easiest way for messages to spread quickly and for media to lift the story. Consider this from a risk perspective (media and customer service training) as well as your content - it might not the time for beautifully produced videos just yet.
  •  
  • Echo chambers - heightened emotional states can mean that audiences seek out information that confirms information they want to believe. Keep an eye on misformation that’s relevant to you and your organisation.
  •  
  • Media as a moral high-ground: Anti-maskers, “fake news” etc can cause a really visceral reaction from the public, and from news media. Unfortunately, this misunderstands the context of those arguments.

9:37 - The narratives to watch at the moment:

  • Rules fatigue: People are getting tired of being told what to do, it’s a natural reaction (psychological reactance) but it’s something to be really mindful of when communicating right now. There is a heightened emotional state, especially for those who are entering a second lockdown.

Shirish Kulkarni talks effective storytelling

10:26 - Over the past year I’ve conducted research on how we can better tell news stories, and my findings can be applied across the communications industry. We are all storytellers in one way or another.

11:00 - We’re hardwired for stories, at an anthropological and neuroscientific level, stories help orientate us within the world. They are a virtual reality simulator helping us practice for real life.

11:53 - Typically, news stories do the opposite of traditional storytelling (i.e have a beginning and an end to the story). Instead, we (journalists) use the inverted pyramid structure where the top line is the conclusion and then filters down to the least interesting or least important information. 

12:39 - The concept of the inverted pyramid structure dates back to the days of the telegraph, the original newswire. It was expensive, unreliable and it made sense to put the most important information at the beginning, just in case you lost the end of it. Although we don’t use the technology of the telegraph anymore, we still use the habits formed by that technology which continue to define journalism and communications.

13:03  - We conducted research with 1300 participants and the results showed users prefer stories that work in a straightforward and linear structure, much like traditional stories.  More information was picked up as it fits with how we are hard-wired to navigate the world.

13:28 - Journalists are failing because they are ignoring what users need from the news. In an attempt to reverse that, I came up with six key principles that should be at the forefront of our minds when telling our stories.

  1. Content - is it useful or relevant and does it help us understand the world better?
  2. Context - are we providing enough context? News largely focuses on breaking or moving news but that's often to the detriment of context, analysis and understanding. 
  3. Users have agency - they are not just passive victims of the news, they can be part of creating solutions and want the opportunity to choose how to engage with the news.
  4. Tone - we need to consider the tone we are using. We tend to fall back on journalist language which is old fashioned and formulae.
  5. Diversity and inclusion  - are crucial when storytelling. It’s about telling different stories, ones that reflect the richness of our societies. This is very important.
  6. Inverted pyramid - is this the best structure to tell a narrative? What are the alternatives? What we are doing isn't working so we’ve got nothing to lose by trying something different.

 

17:24 - Based on these principles, I created a number of prototypes and tested them with users. When compared with a BBC news article, users overwhelmingly preferred our prototype. They picked up more information in less time and found it easier to navigate. This proves there is a better way of telling stories, we just need to be prepared to think differently and put users at the centre of our thinking.

Q&A

18:40 - How do you think the media coverage of COVID-19 applies to your research?

Media has a crucial role. The only justification to have journalism is to provide reliable and useful information. There’s a big thing about news being about entertainment and there’s a focus on the drama of news rather than the information of news. What do we need to know? We are users as well as the audience and this should be taken into consideration when wanting to drive engagement.

23:46 - Do you have any tips for making the linear narrative structure more effective especially through face to face presentations rather than emails?

What really worked for us was using a "narrative accordion". We had 5 questions, and the answers could be expanded and read based on the user's interest. It didn't matter whether the question was at the beginning or end as it was up to the interest of the user. Simplify what you’re saying, and question whether it’s useful to your users.  

28:15 - What have you learned about younger generations and their behaviours?

People have an incorrect characterisation of young people and get their needs completely wrong. There is a perception you can’t make a video longer than two minutes for the younger generation because they have a short attention span and are unable to comprehend what is being said. This generation is the most emotionally and culturally intelligent generation we have ever had. Young people aren’t put off by complexity or depth, they are craving it. Don’t underestimate them.

If you would like to view other Webinar Isentia Conversations: Communicating through Change:

Isentia Conversations: with Katherine Newton at RU OK?

Isentia Conversations: with Bec Brown at The Comms Department

Isentia Conversations: with Rochelle Courtenay at Share the Dignity

Isentia Conversations: with Rachel Clements at Centre for Corporate Health

Isentia Conversations: with Helen McMurdo at MTV

Isentia Conversations: with Daniel Flynn at Thank You

Isentia Conversations: with Campbell Fuller at Insurance Council of Australia

Isentia Conversations: with Craig Dowling from Mercury 

Isentia Conversations: with Stella Fuller from Bright Sunday

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Blog
Isentia Conversations with Shirish Kulkarni from Monnow Media

We chat to Shirish Kulkarni, Director of Monnow Media about effective storytelling. He shares his research about why the way we tell stories needs to change to make news more engaging, inclusive and informative.

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking to experts about the best ways of working and communicating through a time of unprecedented change. 

In this episode, we talk to Rachel Clements, the Director of Psychological Services at the Centre for Corporate Health. Rachel shares some practical tips on how organisations can mitigate psychosocial risks in a time of heightened anxiety - and some advice on maintaining your own mental fitness. Isentia’s Insights Director, Ngaire Crawford also shares some of the trends across social and traditional media.

https://youtu.be/58dIl6BOdys

What mainstream media is saying, with Ngaire Crawford

3:30 - Over the past week, data from mainstream media suggests we’re starting to get a bit restless. Across Australia and New Zealand we’re talking about:

  1. Lockdown restrictions
  2. Business and Economic Impact
  3. When will life be normal again?

Google searches have largely been about restriction levels and what people are and aren’t allowed to do. People are starting to unpack misinformation and search about interesting theories such as 5G towers causing coronavirus.

5:08 - On social media, people continue to reach out and be creative with memes, but there is still an undercurrent of stress and uncertainty.

5.28 - People are starting to shift their mentality from ‘what i need to care about right now’ to ‘ what i need to start caring about in the future’.

People have specifically been worried about:

⇒ Bills/rent/mortgages - specific items that need to be paid.

⇒ Superannuation - the increasing worry is reflective of the long term view - when will this be over?

⇒ Mental Health - still a concern for people

⇒ Job losses - more so about individual bill payments and reduced personal income as opposed to job losses or business strategies.

6:28 - Having context is incredibly important. As communicators, everyone wants to provide genuine and authentic information. It’s important to:

⇒ Understand who you’re communicating to and what they’re feeling.

⇒ Listen. Add additional sources into your information bubble. Look at what’s trending on Google, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Look at specific hashtags to get an understanding of what people are talking about and are interested in.  

Seek feedback from audiences, but be aware that patience is starting to wane.

Keep curious, consider your own media consumption habits and who you are supporting and why.

Continue to watch what drives emotional responses online such as cancel culture and conspiracy theories, which are usually indicative of wider audience feelings and outrage.

Audiences and businesses are starting to get antsy about normality and what the future looks like - they want to know what will the new normal look like?

Rachel Clements addresses the psychosocial risks during COVID-19

9:08 - Rachel tells us there are many psychosocial risks impacting people around the world in relation to COVID-19. In particular, people are experiencing an emotional journey and a wellbeing journey. She says you need to understand what's happening emotionally with people, so you can tailor communication according to the stage that they’re in.

10:00 - To understand the psychosocial risks for COVID-19, a framework has been developed that outlines its 3 stages.

Stage 1 - we were (and some of us still are) operating in flight or fight, operating in panic, fear and anxiety and not taking in much information. We were just trying to survive.

We were adjusting to working from home, adjusting to new technology and having to do pivots within our business. There was a need to look at the media and be drawn into the fear contaigum. 

People in this stage don’t take in much information, so we have to be careful with how tailored messages were communicated. 

There are many people still in this stage, but there is a shift of people moving into stage 2.

11:15 - Stage 2 - is thought to be more psychologically challenging than stage 1. This is because there is a realisation social isolation and social distancing is our reality and its duration is unknown. Things are unpredictable and this can be mentally tough for people.

11:47 - At the moment, there’s an increase in disengagement, an increase in dissatisfaction, anger, irritability, frustration and languishing - which is akin to depression. If people are sitting in the stage of languishing, they are suddenly feeling unmotivated and not satisfied, a languishing mindset can start to take a toll on their mental wellbeing. 

People are starting to transition into ‘i’m tired’, ‘i’m sick of this’ and begin to break the rules or behave in a way that is opposite to what they are asked to do.

12:22 - Stage 3 -  People start to adjust to the new normal and have a bit of optimism for the future. People begin to become creative again and feel a sense of hope

It’s important to understand the different stages in order to communicate. The success of your communication is based on the stage of a person’s emotional journey and their readiness to take in information.

13:10 - There are some psychosocial risk factors currently seen in our workplace environments:

⇒ Pre-existing mental health conditions. Those who were already in an anxious or depressive state, who’ve been forced into social isolation and self distancing, puts them at risk of exacerbation. Drugs and alcohol are being used as a coping mechanism to deal with the increased fear and anxiety people are feeling. 

⇒ Pre-existing circumstances within our lives such as relationship break-ups, issues with children, financial stressors, don’t stop and people’s capacity and ability to deal with these external stressors have eroded.

⇒ Family dynamics - although our situations have changed, our expectations have not. There are increased feelings of failure, guilt and burn-out as we try to keep up with family life and work life. The inability to change our mindset and expectations to our current circumstance are leading to excessive stress.

⇒ Family and domestic violence - there are increased levels of hostility and an increase in domestic violence during social isolation

17:19 - Employment risks have also increased, some of these include:

⇒ Financial pressure caused by the economic downturn. People are concerned about their job security and their financial position.

⇒ Workload challenges. People are trying to balance their personal life, professional life and their associated workloads. 

⇒ Loss of direction from social isolation. It can also make people feel demotivated and we need to ensure our teams are kept motivated to prevent languishing and dissatisfaction.

18:45 - During these times, people are struggling with their wellbeing. Trends are already being noticed, these include:

Heightened levels of anxiety

Exacerbation of pre-existing mental health conditions

Presentation of new mental health conditions

Increase in social withdrawal

Increase in drug and alcohol use as a coping mechanism

Increase in incidences of intolerance, aggression and conflict. Humans don’t like to be contained and this is why there is an increase in these behaviours. 

Increase in incidences of domestic violence

Increase levels of suicidality

21:05 - Wellbeing needs to be on the radar and there has never been a better time for organisations to communicate and discuss strategies to prevent people’s wellbeing diminishing. These include: 

Equip HR and leaders to lead remotely and equip all employees to work remotely

Identify unique workplace psychosocial stressors - is someone in the team going through a stressful time personally? Is a family member unwell or is someone experiencing a mental health issue?

Maintain connectivity - seeing someone's eyes can be beneficial for feeling connected

Maintain a balance between work and other commitments whilst working remotely

Develop and maintain a ‘new business as usual’ - find new routines and effective ways to work. People respond well to routine.

Supportive and visible leadership

Recognise early warning signs of poor mental health

⇒ Manage anxiety and maintain resilience

Have R U OK? Conversations

Promote employment assistance programs and virtual onsite support

If you would like to view other Webinar Isentia Conversations: Communicating through Change:

Isentia Conversations: with Katherine Newton at RU OK?

Isentia Conversations: with Bec Brown at The Comms Department

Isentia Conversations: with Rochelle Courtenay at Share the Dignity

Isentia Conversations: with Helen McMurdo at MTV

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Blog
Isentia Conversations with Rachel Clements from the Centre for Corporate Health

In this episode, we talk to Rachel Clements, the Director of Psychological Services at the Centre for Corporate Health. Rachel shares some practical tips on how organisations can mitigate psychosocial risks in a time of heightened anxiety – and some advice on maintaining your own mental fitness. Isentia’s Insights Director, Ngaire Crawford also shares some of the trends across social and traditional media.

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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.

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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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