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June 25, 2019

Tips For Success: Make A Robot Your Partner In Crime In 2018

If your New Year’s resolution is to get ahead of the tech curve, you’re in luck.

As artificial intelligence (AI) transitions from novel to normalised in 2018, there are many ways you can integrate advanced technology into your day-to-day life, making you more productive at work and at home. Andrea Walsh, one of Australia’s most successful CIO’s, shares tips on how everyone can use machine learning to squeeze more out of the day.

Decision making

You may not trust a computer to make important decisions for you, but it can help guide your choices. Committed to read more in 2018? Amazon will analyse your previous purchasing behaviour to recommend books you might like. If you’d simply like to reconnect with old friends or spend more time with new ones, Facebook will flag friend suggestions for you. If you’re in the market for a new job this year, let LinkedIn’s algorithms suggest jobs you may be interested in or people you should be networking with. Embrace these tools to help cut through the noise and then use your own insight to make decisions on a narrowed, personalised field.

Be more punctual

If you are perennially late and have vowed to be more punctual in 2018, Google Maps is your new best friend, helping you avoid time-sucking activities like getting lost in parking lots or being caught in heavy traffic. Using data from your smartphone, Google is able to provide you with directions to where you parked your car. On the road, Google will analyse your position together with anonymised data from other smartphones to suggest the fastest route to your destination. If driving full-stop is your peeve, then you will be pleased to hear that California authorities will allow self-driving cars to be tested alongside cars driven by humans on roads this year. Experts predict this could result in a 90% reduction in accidents (which will arouse all sorts of ethical debates as to whether humans will still be able to drive cars), 75% less cars on the road and reduce the work commute by almost half.

Boost creativity

With the rise of machine learning comes the fear of job losses. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Stephen Hawking told the BBC.

An Oxford University survey suggested that 47 per cent of the world’s jobs could be replaced within decades. Autonomous cars present one example of how jobs in transport and logistics may be replaced by robots. With this uncertainty comes the understanding that routine work is far more likely to be automated than jobs requiring skills like creativity or emotional intelligence. Machines may be adept at processing large volumes of data, but they can’t make insightful or creative decisions. The good news is that as machines become smarter, humans are freed from mundane tasks and can become more creative. If you’re in a small business, using accounting products like Xero to manage your financial reporting. This allows you to turn your attention to business boosters like problem solving, improving customer service or creating new products. If you’re in big business, tools like Amazon Transcribe or Amazon Translate can perform laborious tasks like producing and translating documents with lightning speed and accuracy, allowing you to focus on big picture thinking like strategy and profitability.

Stay on top of current affairs

In my work at Isentia, we use machine learning to process seven million news items each day. Not long ago this was a task relegated to humans with the mind-numbing task of flipping through newspapers in search of stories that might relate to a client. Machines trawl video, audio and digital content across more than 5,500 new sites at a rate of 234 stories per second and present meaningful summaries to clients in real-time. Whether a story breaks on Twitter and then spills across news platforms and onto television and radio, machine learning can track and analyse how a story evolves with 99% accuracy. Use these tools to stay on top of the issues or people relevant to your industry – in real time.

Make your mark in 2018

The robots aren’t ‘coming’, they are well and truly here. Without realising, we interact with ‘smart’ technology at almost every touch point of our daily lives. As a technologist, I am excited by machine learning not only because I see its profit boosting value, but also for how much it can improve our working lives each and every day.

If you learn one thing this year, take the time to discover how AI can help you be a more creative and productive version of you in 2018.

Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Isentia is a media intelligence company operating since 1982. The company is backed by over 1,200 employees with 18 offices across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the US. Isentia provides more than 5,000 clients, including many of the world’s leading brands, companies and governments, with media intelligence software and services that help drive more informed and timely business and communication decisions.

Originally featured on Women Love Tech.

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A World Of Information Without Noise 

Big data is more than just a buzzword. It’s one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing almost every industry, business and brand today. With the potential value that it holds, investment in big data, machine learning and AI will be crucial for any business that wants to remain relevant through the ages.

Big Data

noun : extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.


Each day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated – a number that continues to grow exponentially. While we have seen improvements in the collection of data over recent years, the ability to synthesize meaning from this data is demanding more from engineers and their technology than ever before.


The problem that we face is sorting through these huge chunks of data to separate the noise from what is important to individuals and their organisation. While automation has offered speed, simplicity and efficiency, the ‘why’ is where the untapped value and excitement lies.

“Contextualisation is key. It's not about just collecting data, it’s about how that data can provide clear information that enables and inspires action”

Richard Spencer, Chief Marketing Officer at Isentia.

Rather than reflecting on past performance, answering the ‘why’ has the potential to lead action that focuses on influencing the tomorrow.
Beyond big data, the 'why' behind AI and machine learning may raise new questions. For instance the wider interplay behind machine learnings ability to  translate to a language without any knowledge or assumptions about that language.

As teams start to ask these questions, the data starts to be reimagined. The perception of a data point transforms into breadcrumbs of a narrative that can tell a bigger story, and ultimately influence our thinking.

The question is, when big data becomes manageable and meaningful – how fast will it move into being predictive? And even beyond this, be able to simulate what is ‘likely’ to happen.

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Blog
From Complex To Context

Big data is more than just a buzzword. It’s one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing almost every industry, business and brand today. With the potential value that it holds, investment in big data, machine learning and AI will be crucial for any business that wants to remain relevant through the ages.

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It’s official: artificial intelligence has arrived. But how will this disruptive technology transform businesses in the near future?

After more than a few false starts, artificial intelligence (AI) is finally here, and it’s powerfully disrupting the way business is done. We don’t need to ask if or when businesses will adopt AI – the question is where and how widely it will be employed.

AI is already a big player in the technology industry. In particular, there is a growing use of AI in IT’s backroom functions like cybersecurity and tech support. A Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) survey of 835 company executives found that nearly half of respondents were using AI to detect and fend off intrusions – the most frequent use of the technology. But a number of other industries are also opting for AI.

Early adopters

In entertainment, companies like Netflix and Amazon are using machine learning to help their movie recommendation engines. Health care has seen myriad applications, including virtual assistants for doctorsapps that can interpret test results and even AI-based spine surgery technology. In the financial sector, AI has been put to work in regulatory compliance and fraud prevention – PayPal uses a combination of its own AI program and human analysts to combat fraud, for example, and HSBC has teamed up with Silicon Valley startup Ayasdi to automate anti-money-laundering investigations.

Worldwide spending on cognitive and AI systems is expected to reach $12.5 billion this year, according to IDC, a whopping increase of 59.3 percent over 2016. Much of this growth is powered by use cases like the examples above. But there’s another area where AI is rapidly being adopted: automated customer service agents, or chatbots as they’re more commonly known.

Customers now expect AI to be used by companies and they are comfortable interacting with the technology (up to a point). Research from HubSpot found that nearly half of people are happy with the idea of buying products from a chatbot. Perhaps more importantly, 40 percent of respondents said they were indifferent about receiving customer support from either a chatbot or human – provided they got the help they needed fast and easily.

Dealing with data

Whether patrolling a computer network for intrusions or trawling through financials for signs of fraud, AI is most often employed to intelligently handle vast amounts of data quickly. “AI is best deployed in companies with significant amounts of data and robust data systems,” says Andrea Walsh, Isentia’s CIO.

Gartner predicts that, in 2018, half a billion users will save two hours a day as a result of AI-powered tools. Every time a business gains efficiencies, it saves money – and that is AI’s chief benefit.

AI’s smarter processing power is also helping companies generate more quality leads on new customers, using IBM’s Watson AI, for example. Finding, contacting and closing new sales is a time and resource-heavy activity. But AI-based sales assistants can tirelessly work on reaching out to people, while intelligently analyzing data on leads. This can then be effectively communicated with point-of-sale staff.

When employees hear the word “efficiency,” they often assume it will lead to lay-offs. While there is no question that some jobs will be replaced by AI programs, the naysayers are largely exaggerating their mass-redundancy predictions.

AI is a data-cruncher, and it is often employed to take care of something that didn’t even exist 30 years ago: big data. When it accomplishes its analysis, a human is still needed to interpret the results, such as in cybersecurity and anti-fraud scenarios. Even in the case of customer service chatbots, these will mostly be applied to routine queries and simple support functions, augmented by human representatives for complex problems. “AI should not stand alone as a technology,” say Walsh.

Enhancing existing infrastructure

As with all industrial revolutions, AI will create jobs even as it replaces them. There are already glaring shortfalls in STEM-trained employees across the world, and that’s likely to continue as the rapid pace of technological transformation outruns educational reforms. But eventually, new generations will be trained and educated to do jobs created by innovative technologies like AI.

Any business can benefit from AI programs, but when it comes to how broadly they adopt AI, companies need to look at how the technology can augment their existing capabilities. Instead of replacing staff, current AI should be used to support them and put their invaluable human minds to the best use, saving tedious, data-crunching work for the machines. For customers, AI needs to be a helpful, timesaving addition to their experience, and companies should never try to create the false impression that a human is doing the work. People are ready for AI; companies need to be too.

Andrea Walsh, Isentia's Chief Information Officer

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Transformative tech: What to expect from AI in 2018

It’s official: artificial intelligence has arrived. But how will this disruptive technology transform businesses in the near future?

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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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Blog
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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