Will wellness brands need to rethink how they use and apply influencer marketing?
How the recent Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code is changing the rules around influencer marketing and skincare advertising in Australia.
What has an influencer endorsement or testimonial influenced you to buy lately? Would you have purchased it otherwise? Well, you may see less of this type of advertising in the coming years in Australia. Using Pulsar’s recent report on the online conversation on sunscreen and SPF, we can understand how audience intelligence and media monitoring can help organisations direct and target their messaging and operations in response to (for example) significant regulatory changes.
The code allows for genuine, unpaid testimonials in advertising. Still, it prohibits influencers from making testimonials or endorsements based on their own experiences due to using a product. They can only stick to communicating the product’s aims and purpose as claimed by the product’s labelling and instructions. The recommendation must also align with the product’s purpose, as the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods records.
So why is this happening, and how can influencers still operate under these new regulations? The TGA ensures that consumers can trust that recommendations are unbiased without the influence of incentives, including gifts. There is a further requirement for social media influencers to include mandatory statements in their advertisements depending on the type of product and its availability to the public. The TGA also highlighted that they aren’t making any unusual changes but are just aligning advertising on new platforms with code that previously targeted more traditional forms of advertising.
The code requires all testimonials that are in breach to have been taken down by July 1st.
But some influencers have not taken to the new regulations well, believing the new rules will hinder a critical source of information for consumers and audiences. Australian sunscreen (Naked Sundays) owner Samantha Brett, told the Sydney Morning Herald Emerald City she believes sunscreen should be exempt from the laws asking, “How else will those who are influenced by social media, particularly Millennials who are most at risk of melanoma, be encouraged to use sunscreen every day.”
On August 22nd, Got-to Skincare’s founder Zoe Foster Blake posted a statement on Instagram to announce the release of a new SPF 50 sunscreen product and how the code impinges people’s sun protection practices and knowledge.
“I believe elements of the code have the potential to reverse the momentum public health, cancer awareness groups, and skin specialists have been building for years to ensure Australians wear sunscreen daily”.
Foster-Blake goes on to highlight how some still find sunscreen polarising and unappealing.
“Many consumers still believe sunscreen is gross, thick, greasy. It’s not.”
But are younger demographics, influenced by social media, confused about sunscreen use? Social discussion would say the answer is yes. Where to apply, how many times to reapply and in what settings is wearing sunscreen necessary are some questions people are asking.
Social media conversation around sunscreen is evolving and recorded by Pulsar as a therapeutic good that goes beyond a necessary use case. Sunscreen is feeling the influences of climate change activists and holistic beauty trend-setters tied to long-term health values.
Promoting sunscreen and daily SPF use on social media has a positive impact on long-term health and beauty maintenance and protection against skin cancers; 51.1% of Australians’ reasons for applying sunscreen, as discussed in online conversation, is to protect against skin cancers.
There is still confusion around SPF levels and growing concerns around online conversation promoting misinformation that sunscreen use increases the likelihood of ailments like melanoma, reportedly one of the most common cancers in young adults.
Social media conversation and prolific posting of beauty & wellness-related content frame spaces where skincare brands can find their niche. Brands like Cerave and Supergoop are finding ways to differentiate their branding to appeal to specific communities (meet their communities in the full report). Is this new code holding social media influencers to account for their sway over masses of followers? Or is it taking away a vital information-sharing source? Time will tell if the regulations will significantly impact beauty and wellness influencer marketing in Australia. However, the effects may be taking hold now. If you look up sunscreen and SPF on tiktok, you will notice a decrease in related content since the end of 2021.
Avoid the risk of getting burnt and check the code to ensure you’re not in breach.
Loren is an experienced marketing professional who translates data and insights using Isentia solutions into trends and research, bringing clients closer to the benefits of audience intelligence. Loren thrives on introducing the groundbreaking ways in which data and insights can help a brand or organisation, enabling them to exceed their strategic objectives and goals.
Media's Lens: Framing the FIFA Women's World Cup Narrative
The FIFA Women's World Cup has taken centre stage as well as global communication strategies, drawing global attention as the media employs key themes to shape perceptions and illuminate the tournament's core values. From Viewing & Enjoying to Women in Sports, Rankings, Cultural Inclusivity and Representation, Marketing and Advertising, Community and Economy, these themes underscore the event's significance, lofty ambitions, and the collective aspiration for soccer's unifying power.
The media focuses on the excitement surrounding the game, not only because it echoes fans' optimistic expectations for the future of women's sports but also because this is entertainment with genuine fandoms. This strategic coverage not only provides professional athletes with a global platform to broadcast their values to the world but also weaves the Women's World Cup narrative into a vibrant tapestry of empowerment, inspiration, and unity, establishing an influential precedent for the evolution of women's sports.
Studying how news media engage viewers provides insights for organisations aligning their messaging with audience expectations. While WWC promotes women in sports, news media prioritise entertainment and women athletes. A tournament, usually hosted in inconvenient time zones, excites Australian and New Zealand non-sports and sports fans alike, emphasising the value of a localised global platform backed by the media.
Media trends drive organisations to adjust communication strategies. It signals organisations/brands to re-strategise their communications strategy when they observe media and viewer trends and their flow-on effects. For example, media coverage of the cup, focusing on its entertainment value rather than gender, and reporting on ratings, excitement, and atmosphere, demonstrates to organisations that it is a worthwhile channel to invest in and align their communications with.
Brand Strategies: Engaging Audiences Amidst the Soccer Spectacle
As the FIFA Women's World Cup captivates global attention, it becomes an arena for strategic brand engagement. Our friends at Pulsar provided key audience intelligence insights, helping us bridge the gap between news coverage and audience engagement. The tournament serves as a stage for brands to showcase their commitment to women's sports and connect with passionate fans on a deeper level with their messaging. Among these, a select few stand out, employing unique strategies, like broadcast presence, social engagement and news pickups, to drive forward their values while resonating with WWC’s diverse audience segments. These organisations took advantage of a phenomenon with broad appeal and positioned themselves to represent the themes driven by news media.
McDonald's and Social Engagement – Empowering Fan Participation and Interaction
McDonald's turns its spaces into soccer havens, fostering community engagement through earned content using social media ops and iconic backdrops. Macca's All Stars and personalised collectible cards connect fans, while initiatives like Macca’s Swings infuse playfulness. The Panini Football Stickers Happy Meal celebrates women's football by building fan dream teams.
Lays and Broadcast Presence – Amplifying the Thrill of the Game
With the biggest investment in TV ads for women's sports, Lay's "Taste of Greatness" commercial marks a historic partnership, fueling the excitement of the game. The #LaysGOALdenGiveaway transforms goals into winning opportunities, while the Ultimate Watch Parties and Fan Quest showcase the lively fan culture, bringing supporters together. Lay's top investment in women's sports aligns with how news media and audiences perceive women's sporting events.
Google Pixel and News Pickup – Highlighting Visibility and Advocating Equality
Google Pixel amplifies visibility with the "unblur" function and the campaign message of seeing individual players' diverse stories, thus advocating for gender equality. Partnerships with football associations and players empower Pixel FC members, while the advanced camera and AI technology enhance fan experiences, uniting fans on and off the field.
By exploring these communication strategies, we discover how the FIFA Women’s World Cup goes beyond being just a sporting event. It becomes a symbol of unity, inspiration, and a demonstration of the messages that resonate with audiences.
Sam Kerr: Icon of the Game and Her Diverse Fan Base
Sam Kerr's journey from aspiring athlete to global sensation exemplifies her exceptional talent and unwavering work ethic. Her iconic status isn't solely due to athleticism; Sam Kerr's genuine authenticity and relatable qualities forge connections with diverse supporters, as seen in the primary fan segments listed above. Her public image highlights how news coverage prioritises entertainment, appealing to a wider audience rather than just sports fans or those with a pro-women agenda.
Organisational messaging can use this to bring their purpose to a wider community. This illustrates a profound connection between the themes the news media emphasise and the messaging organisations should strive for, as demonstrated by Sam Kerr's influence.
Sam Kerr's influence spans diverse groups, including young women who are inspired by social influencers like Tanya Burr, dedicated sports fans who admire her tenacity, and the LGBTQIA+ community who identify with her. Understanding the most popular platforms and channels of her audience further indicates where messaging and brand positioning would be most effective, especially for organisations that aim to reflect the diverse fanbase Sam Kerr attracts. Her impact reflects the universal appeal of the Women's World Cup, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and uniting them around values such as determination and breaking stereotypes. Sam Kerr's far-reaching impact is a beacon of hope for women's sports.
Getting off on the right foot with the right communication strategies
The FIFA Women's World Cup goes beyond showcasing soccer prowess, intertwining narratives of athlete popularity, partnership strategies, and media coverage. This exploration delves into Sam Kerr's journey, scrutinises the engagement strategies of major brands, and dissects how the media portrays the Women's World Cup. From Kerr's diverse impact on fans to organisations strategically amplifying their brands amid the tournament's excitement and media highlighting essential themes, a comprehensive picture emerges. This holistic perspective crafts a vibrant narrative of empowerment, unity, and inspiration.
As PR and communications professionals, these insights emphasise the potential to align brand narratives with a popular ethos, fostering impactful connections and advocacy that resonate within a changing industry and beyond.
Communication Strategies at FIFA Women’s World Cup
Media’s Lens: Framing the FIFA Women’s World Cup Narrative The FIFA Women’s World Cup has taken centre stage as well as global communication strategies, drawing global attention as the media employs key themes to shape perceptions and illuminate the tournament’s core values. From Viewing & Enjoying to Women in Sports, Rankings, Cultural Inclusivity and Representation, […]
It's no secret that Australians and New Zealanders take their coffee seriously. Coffee has a rich history spans from ancient Ethiopia to modern European coffee houses, and its impact is felt worldwide. Coffee has become an essential part of daily life, and recent events such as the cost of living crisis and climate change have forced consumers to investigate and adapt to bringing the barista experience into their homes. But some people claim the improvement this would have on finances is inflammatory. But how are these new buyer trends playing in media discourse?
As a result, coffee brands are becoming more creative with their brand stories and product knowledge, while innovators in the industry are identifying gaps in the market that align with public values. Using audience intelligence data provided by Pulsar and Isentia media research, we can measure how audiences impact the coffee industry
– coffee up!
But what makes a good coffee? The taste and flavour of coffee beans are influenced not only by their country of origin and geographical attributes but also by larger factors such as climate change and human rights issues. While Australians and New Zealanders value sustainable coffee, the rising cost of a cup of coffee at cafes, which can now exceed $5, is leaving a bad taste in consumers' mouths. It's unclear whether this price increase benefits farmers or labourers. However, coffee shops that invest in sustainable and ethical coffee products are attracting consumers. For instance, Market Lane, a coffee institution based in Melbourne, is setting an example of fair pay for coffee growers by increasing their prices.
Coffee taste is a subjective matter. However, the sustainability of coffee production can be measured objectively through comprehensive facts and statistics. The incorporation of people's distinct preferences and interests into their perception of coffee can help us develop effective marketing and communication strategies through digital conversations.
Audiences groups hooked on jitter juice usually require its benefits of keeping them awake. That's the case for Twitch Streamers gaming and streaming into the early morning hours. The writing community also reaps the rewards of the extra kicks it provides, but writing has long been associated with coffee houses and the initiation of philosophical or revolutionary ideas. Sports fans (the biggest audience group) and NZ News Youngsters might seem a more surprising group to be on coffee's radar. But the sporting culture is strong in ANZ regions and matches demand that these fans stay up to watch games live domestically and internationally.
A caffeine boost isn't the only reason these communities drink coffee. Each community engaging in the coffee conversation is finding a need to stay alert; while this isn't heralded as a health benefit, the social advantages of having a cup of coffee are often overlooked. #Auspol Followers, while invested in politics and political campaigning, like #votesyes, unironically use popular slang in their content. NZ Youngsters, with their shared affinity for using self-improvement and educational apps like Duolingo and Headspace and their following of young left-leaning politicians like Chloe Swarbrick, are learning how to enrich their lives to foster a better future for their generation; by exchanging ideas with like-minded people over a coffee.
But going to a cafe isn't the healthiest of rituals for the hip pocket. The Sports Fan community doesn't embrace the pretentious side of coffee. Being an analytical bunch, they share an appreciation for business and tech news. This group's tastes, like their favourite team's gameplay, are driven by efficiency.
The way people consume and perceive coffee is evolving. Price and sustainability are the primary considerations for buyer trends in these regions, but how does the media's portrayal of the coffee industry in these countries fit into the picture? News media has made stronger ties to the cost of living and coffee consumption over sustainability. With inflation rapidly rising, it's no wonder this connection is made. Many feel that investing in a professional-grade coffee machine and brewing their own coffee at home is a cost-effective solution that's promoted in the media. However, interest rates are rising and the media suggests that the future quality of life for both families and individuals, including from the Gen-Z generation, will depend on adapting everyday rituals.
But Millennials and Gen-Zers get chastised for their "reckless" spending habits on daily overpriced lattes and smashed avo toast, so inflation cannot be ignored. Retailers are noticing the uptake of coffee bean purchases in buyer trends. Online barista novices and gurus are all sharing tips and tricks on how to get the perfect cup of coffee with the tools on hand, quality beans and compatible milk variety at a low cost. As people attempt to save by mimicking a barista-style coffee at home, they're also trying to discover alternatives in familiar brands and products that better fit their wallet, like the Cole's Express's $2.50 iced latte.
The beans favoured by Aussies and Kiwis' taste buds and wallets are Woolworths and Coles brands, but not far behind is Lazzio, an Aldi-owned brand, where shoppers are making even more savings, and Nespresso. Nespresso's compact and convenient products are an ideal alternative to cafe-style machines, and the brand utilises sustainability marketing initiatives. But big supermarkets like Coles are making an even more significant impact on buyer trends by providing a reason for them to spend more and stay longer like Coles Express' cafes enabling consumers to drink coffee under the guise of doing their regular grocery shop.
Well-known brands not only catch the attention of consumers but also their competitors. The way a brand packages its products is an important aspect of its personality. Recently, Moccona's legal action against Vittoria has caused controversy in the industry and with the public. Some people have even suggested boycotting Moccona, an international brand.
So what does this mean for future coffee consumption and buyer trends? The coffee community is influenced by the broader macro trends impacting society, whether sustainability or cost of living. But the future is ethically and socially conscious, and daily routines are getting a similar makeover. In 3 years, don't be surprised if a cell-grown coffee is served to you in a cup made from recycled dehydrated coffee grounds or made available for purchase in supermarkets. How much would you pay for that though?
Understanding the big-picture narrative requires a comprehensive view of the news and social media landscape. The integration of using Isentia and Pulsar platforms allows us to democratise audience intelligence enabling organisations of all sizes to access and leverage data-driven insights for informed decision-making and achieving their goals.
The Impact of Cost of Living on Coffee Buyer Trends
It’s no secret that Australians and New Zealanders take their coffee seriously. Coffee has a rich history spans from ancient Ethiopia to modern European coffee houses, and its impact is felt worldwide. Coffee has become an essential part of daily life, and recent events such as the cost of living crisis and climate change have […]
Undeniably, a common practice people do these days while on social media is to read news shared on their feeds. With more than 2.96 billion active users on Facebook, and millions more on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, social media is now considered an essential platform for news consumption.
News consumption is on the rise on social media platforms, but mistrust is high. So, what is the future of social media as a news source?
Is social media news the new way?
As users openly share their opinions and participate in online conversations, social media is considered a complex space for mainstream media to navigate. And as such, it’s important for journalists and news organisations to continually find ways to adapt to these more informal spaces, given the time people spend on social networks.
Not only can connecting with a variety of consumers on social media uncover significant opportunities for PR, marketing and comms professionals, it can also enable mainstream media organisations to engage with a wider scope of audiences.
With resources such as social media intelligence, organisations can gain insights and identify key influencers. They can monitor engagement across multiple social media channels and learn about market trends and themes.
Although social media continues to play an important role in how people access the news, the proportion of users varies from country to country. Social media feeds are full of information and opinions shared by everyday people, activists, politicians and news media outlets. But the level of attention these groups receive can be different across each social network.
The divide on social media news
Due to the naturalisation of social media among users, younger audiences tend to source their news updates from social media. This has caused a generational divide in trust on social platforms between younger and older audiences.
The 2022 Digital News Report found that newer platforms such as TikTok, reach a quarter (24%) of under-35s, with 7% using the platform for news – even more in parts of Asia.
The 2022 Digital News Report also suggests publishers will be paying less attention to Facebook and Twitter and will instead put more effort into Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. As these platforms are fast becoming the norm for younger generations - spending on average 3 hours per day on social media - they will likely continue to rise, regardless of trusting the chosen network. And as a result, the use of social media as a news source from older generations could further accelerate over time.
Do we trust it?
Despite 44 per cent of Australian adults reporting they used social networks to keep up to date with news and current affairs, there are still reservations about the legitimacy and authenticity of the news published on social media. Organisations such as Newsguard are exposing the misinformation economy and leading the fight against misinformation across all new sources.
Social media platforms still have a long way to go to clean up ‘fake news’ and sharing misinformation, however they also have the power to democratise opinion, allowing users to have their say and be heard.
Meanwhile, polarised debates in social media are making publishers rethink the ways in which journalists should engage on social networks. After concerns about reputational damage, many publishers and news organisations have tightened their social media rules.
Although social networks spread information faster than any other media, traditional media monitoring will continue to be an important part of a PR and comms strategy. And despite social media’s prevalence increasing in these strategies, it will continue to be a noisy space.
Whether it's a news article, tweet, blog or interview, it’s important to listen for a story that might be brewing. Using a social media intelligence platform will help put PR and comms professionals in control as it provides the launchpad to explore the news, see it in more detail and analyse what is uncovered.
string(35) "Is Social Media A Good News Source?"
string(138) "Social media spreads information faster than any other media, but mistrust is high. What is the future of social media as a news source? "
string(19) "2023-06-16 03:52:21"
string(19) "2023-06-16 03:52:21"
Is Social Media A Good News Source?
Social media spreads information faster than any other media, but mistrust is high. What is the future of social media as a news source?
When it comes to reputation management, understanding your audience perception puts you a step ahead. Learning your audiences frustrations and what drives them, provides insight into how to positively engage with them. As a PR or comms professional, knowing which audience segment impacts or influences your brand reputation is key, especially when sharing messaging.
Reputation is important at the best of times, yet throughout the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies gained the media spotlight whilst their reputation was under scrutiny. As a result, they had to act swiftly and develop new vaccines for immediate and long term use on a global scale.
How do audiences perceive the pharmaceutical industry?
Since the pandemic, we've learned companies are expected to lead. Large companies that failed to take significant actions lost reputation. Those that acted on the opportunities presented to them, flourished. To build or maintain a positive reputation, companies needed to become agile and evolve their operations.
By using media monitoring and audience intelligence tools, brand reputation and audience perception can be tracked and managed by monitoring traditional and social data, news and industry-specific artificial intelligence (AI).
Audience perception comes from customer experience, functionality and reputation across mainstream and social media conversations. With social media being an unfiltered platform, it can be hard for brands to control their narrative. However, when you know what your audience is saying about your brand, you can better understand the influential voices and outlets leading the conversations. Monitoring traditional and social media allows you to:
The change in audience sentiment
As an industry that’s responsible for the research, development, production and distribution of medications around the world, having a positive reputation is invaluable.
Pharmaceutical companies frequently use social media to communicate health concerns, new advancements and potential outbreaks. Furthermore, they have been in the spotlight for the past 24 months, helping a society navigate through COVID-19 and out of lockdowns.
The pandemic led to a rapid change in public sentiments over a short span of time. People expressed sentiments of joy and gratitude toward good health, yet sadness and anger at the loss of life and stay at home orders.
It’s important to understand audience perception toward health-related content, and how your audience perceives the news you share or is shared about you. As the world turned to pharmaceutical companies for vaccines, heightened media coverage meant the public were listening, watching and paying more attention than ever before. This gave those companies the opportunity to redefine what they stand for.
Social media intelligence plays an important role in how audiences discover, research and share information about a brand or product. Pharmaceutical companies need to continue their connection with their audiences, through storytelling. With this, they can influence a positive narrative and maintain the positive shift in reputation.
During the pandemic, Pfizer dominated social media. On Twitter, Pfizer was the most mentioned company compared to other competitors during the same period. Conversations about the actual brand were not as popular as vaccines, yet social media buzz was inline with Pfizer's consequential milestones and notable events during the pandemic.
With company mentions of this calibre, there’s no denying the number of conversations involving pharmaceutical companies. Audiences are talking in an unfiltered manner. Whether it's about their credibility, reputation, or the effectiveness of treatments, there’s no escaping the global conversations about the pharmaceutical industry.
Companies cannot afford to ignore conversations that could influence their reputation. Rather than treating it as something beyond their control, using reputation management tools within a media intelligence platform can assist in rolling out a more effective and efficient comms strategies on both traditional and social media.
The power of audience perception
A recent study on Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis by our sister company, Pulsar, shows a topic that is considered an intensely private conversation, has since moved online. An analysis was performed on the relationship between influential figures and wider audiences.
The below chart shows what the engagement metrics look like for the 19 most-engaged with accounts describable as either dermatologist, esthetician, medical doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
From this chart it tells us dermatologists hold authority in this conversation with three of the highest engagement tallies originating from dermatology accounts. This suggests their audience trust their expertise and are favourably perceived.
The above chart shows a comparison analysis on audiences engaging in conversations around both eczema/atopic dermatitis and medicalised skincare on Twitter. This is set against the more general eczema/atopic dermatitis conversation over the same period (Sept 2020 - Oct 2022).
Healthcare professionals remain a significant presence. Viewing the two audiences alongside each other:
Young black communities cohere into the single largest community.
LGBTQ+ communities emerge as a far greater presence in the wider conversation.
From this study, we can see there is a seamless loop between conversation analysis and audience segmentation. This allows for a dynamic view of how each community talks about a topic differently.
3 pillars to consider when repairing brand reputation
1. Be active and engaged on your social networks to help control the conversations. Turning the mythology around can be difficult, but with a compelling or positive evergreen story, it can change the perception audiences have about your company.
2. Monitor what is being said. Negative news gets more attention. This creates unwanted negative conversations and commentary. Tracking analytics, such as media mentions, share of voice and media outlets with a media intelligence solution allows you to keep a vigilant eye on the type of media coverage you’re receiving. When repairing a negative reputation, at least 35% of the company’s share of voice should involve company representatives.
3. Create a recovery roadmap to deliver on business improvements. Be transparent and authentic when it comes to communicating to customers and stakeholders. This will help with rebuilding trust and repairing your reputation.
When a company needs to repair their reputation there is a need to use sources of traditional and social media. These will form the pillars of their repair strategy. These pillars can support a comms strategy with real-time data, identifying what's working and what isn’t.