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June 24, 2019

What’s the next first for a country leading many conversations?

New Zealand continues to be a country of trailblazers, leading the way on key social and political milestones.

With a history that includes being the first country to give women the right to vote, the 13th to legalise same sex marriage and in recent history, an extraordinarily fast change in gun laws, it’s easy to see why this reputation of being socially progressive resonates.

As a country that favours and advocates progress, change, improvement, reform and progression towards better conditions for its people and the land they call home, the world continues to watch as more ‘firsts’ are discussed in the media, by politicians, influencers and people. In particular the topic of Health seems to be attracting attention and gaining momentum on the airwaves. 

On the health waves

Assisted Dying Bill

In recent months, tensions have risen, and tempers have flared as a parliamentary committee considers the controversial Assisted Dying Bill. Could this be another debatable issue New Zealand is at the forefront? As the country edges closer towards legalising assisted dying and Parliament having voted on this Bill’s second reading on 1st May 2019, will New Zealand join the few countries in the world who have already made assisted dying legal?

The Bill was originally introduced June 2017 and was debated at its first reading in December 2017, passing with 76 votes in favour and 44 against. At the time of release, there were more than 30,000 public submissions – the highest number of submissions received in recent Parliamentary history, according to the Justice Committee. So why has this bill gained so much traction?

It seems much of the conversation is happening through broadcast channels, perhaps unsurprisingly given the prominence of radio in New Zealand. Looking back over the last 7 months, we can see this topical spike in broadcast mentions during April, likely due to the Assisted Dying Bill submission taking place and the several debates that followed. 

The Primary Health Care Strategy

Health continues to be a theme of conversation it seems. Alongside the topic of euthanasia, New Zealand’s primary healthcare has also been a hot talking point. As well as a number of developed countries, New Zealand has a publicly funded health system. The Primary Health Care Strategy was introduced in 2001 as New Zealand’s official response to evidence promulgating primary care-led health systems for developed countries. The strategy placed an increased emphasis on greater provision and funding of primary health care and anticipated expanded and more collaborative ways of working for health professionals within the sector.

The success of this new primary care-led system has been heavily dependent on the quality and commitment of the primary care workforce, with a clear expectation of closer interprofessional working and collaborative practices. Capitated population-based funding (where a health service is paid in bulk for care provision, regardless of which clinical practitioner undertakes the care) creates potential for different ways of working in this new primary care-led environment.  A strong primary health care system is central to improving the health of all New Zealanders and reducing health inequalities between different groups, but when the health care system fails, is it valid for the conversations around the assisted dying Bill to be had?

Digital Health 2020

Another topical discussion within the healthcare sector – the ministry of health’s Digital Health 2020 plan.  This plan is a crucial factor to the success of the overall New Zealand Health Strategy and will help New Zealand to keep pace with global trends in healthcare. Characterised by greater use of digitalisation, data analytics and innovative devices are used to increase efficiency and support new forms of treatment, service delivery and preventative healthcare. The question is, do New Zealanders want their health records to be accessible online?

Medicinal marijuana

On the pharmaceutical front the conversation continues following the introduction of medicinal marijuana now widely available for thousands of patients after years of campaigning and the recent announcement of the cannabis referendum in 2020. We analysed across various media types (print, online and broadcast) the discussions around legalising the personal use of cannabis for New Zealanders and the media mentions around this topic.

Our analysis showed the most media mentions were again on broadcast channels with 113 per cent more mentions than print and 98 per cent more than online and is on an upward trend. The month of May has already produced more media mentions in half a month (589) than total media mentions in October (587 and as the referendum draws closer in 2020 you’d almost certainly expect this to continue to rise.) Using cannabis for personal use has been legalised in Canada, Uruguay and in multiple US states, and has been decriminalised in many more. By legalising its use in New Zealand, it will reaffirm the progressive reputation that continues to receive media attention worldwide.

If you’d like to understand the media lens on any topic, brand or audience, get in touch with us today. 

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We sat down with Brendan McGreevy, recently appointed Country Manager for Australia (2017) and discussed his viewpoints on leading the Australian team and the latest release of Custom Reports on Mediaportal.

Tell us who you are and how you came along with your Isentia journey

My name is Brendan McGreevy and I am the Country Manager for Australia [here at] Isentia. I joined the company in January 2004 as a tele-sales consultant, selling media intelligence services and data distribution. I’ve managed the tele-sales team and the Slice products over a number of years before we brought that back into the [Isentia] family, I’ve been a BDM, a Service Consultant, a Sales Manager and now I’m Country Manager. I have done many, many jobs and have always been in client facing, which is what I like, and I hope to continue my career throughout the company in a client-facing role.

What job haven’t you had at Isentia?

I haven’t been Chief Executive yet, so maybe at some point in the future! I am keeping my options open though.

What are you 100% passionate about and what gets you going every day?

Probably two things – one being the media and how it rapidly changes, the different forms and the different platforms that are popping out pretty much every month or every year. The other is clients – dealing with communicators – people in PR and Corp Comms.

It’s fast paced, and every day is a new and different day. If one client is on the news on a Monday, it’s going to be someone different on a Wednesday. [It’s] that kind of variety that keeps you getting up in the morning and keeps you coming into work. 

What are you most proud of, a moment of time of your life at Isentia?

I can’t think of one defining moment. I suppose each year when you see the achievements of the team, achievements of the clients, and you are hitting those targets – seeing the client growing every year and seeing that we’re doing all those things right that keeps the clients coming back for more and more. I would say that is probably the proudest achievement. 

Can you talk about what makes the Australian customer base unique and what is different about them?

I think what makes it unique from the rest of the company is that there are clients that have used us for many, many years. We’ve been through the evolution of their businesses and their careers and they’ve been through the evolution of our business.

From the hard copy clipping agency in the 80’s and 90’s through to the digitally media intelligence company we are now. Personally, I’ve worked with a lot of them [the clients], since the early 2000’s and it does create a bit of uniqueness within our business. We do find that a lot of people in the Account Management team and the Sales team have been here for 20 to 30 years, and they tend to stick around because they know the people that they’re working with. Whether they move from government to private sector [or elsewhere], they always move back again, so you tend to meet the same people over and over again – it gives that sense of familiarity with all of the clients. 

Looking at the new Custom Reports feature, what do you think would excite them most about it?

Probably the levels of customisation that we can now offer – like adding in the client’s logo and customising the look and feel of it. 

Even though it is our content that we’re sending to the clients, it is their work. Allowing them to personalise their work and distribute that internally in a format that actually gives them the kudos and credit for what they’ve done and what they’ve achieved. I think that is going to get on pretty well. 

What do you think makes Isentia brilliant?

What makes us brilliant is the people that are here.

I think the people that works here takes a very specific breed of person – you’ve got to love the media, you’ve got to love communications, you’ve got to love PR, you’ve got to love marketing, and you’ve got to love what we do, you’ve got to love the industry.

I think that is everybody that is here – evident in the high tenure of service across the business. People love what they do, they love that it is fast-paced, and they love that it is continually changing. And at the same time there is a level of familiarity at what we do as well. So yeah, it is definitely the people. 

What is your favorite feature within the latest Custom Reports release and why?

To be honest, that is my favourite feature – the customisable view of it. In previous reports you could only use the PDF and that was very much a standard, static document. This is the client’s document, and it is important that when we build our products and services that they are all about the client and not about us. It’s not about the media, it is not about the content, it is actually about that client and their business and what they need to use the information for, and how they can customise it for different stakeholders, and different audiences internally. So, the more it looks like their document and the more they can customise it, the better it is. 

Given your recent promotion to Country Manager, what excites you about the year ahead?

What we just completed in Australia is a slight restructure of the sales and services team. Previously we had an account management structure. We’ve [since] taken client success out and created a new division for Client Success and a new division for Sales.

These changes excite me because now we’ve got a dedicated focus on service for our clients and trying to understand what our client wants from us and how we can make that service better, and that is the dedication of that team. They don’t have to sell, or have find a new revenue stream, their job is purely to service our clients. Going back to that value and Isentia being client obsessed, this structure allows us to actually be client obsessed – to focus on our clients and their needs on a day-to-day basis, but to also have consultants from a different team to help clients with different services when the need arises. 

Watch the video here.

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Blog
3 minutes with Brendan McGreevy, Country Manager, Australia

We sat down with Brendan McGreevy, recently appointed Country Manager for Australia (2017) and discussed his viewpoints on leading the Australian team and the latest release of Custom Reports on Mediaportal.

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The state of the electric vehicle industry in Malaysia

Malaysia's automotive industry is one of the more environmentally-friendly industries. Various parties, such as the government and local automotive industry players, have continuously sought to promote electric vehicles (EVs). 

The subject of electric vehicles (EV) is growing among the Malaysian public in the social media sphere due to continuous efforts to promote EVs by various parties such as the government, local automotive industry players as well as companies directly involved in several aspects of EV (charging facilities/networks etc.)


Using data from Pulsar, Isentia analysed the conversations surrounding the topic of EV amongst Malaysia's social media users.

 

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How did discussions involving electric vehicles in Malaysia go?

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In this word bank powered by Isentia’s vast datasets, some of the most common keywords used by Malaysians when discussing EVs, apart from the topic itself, are 'drive', 'chargers', and 'battery'. EV is also associated with ‘future’ and ‘expensive’.

Across the country, social media users agreed that Malaysia is lagging behind neighbouring nations (such as Indonesia and Thailand) in EV facilities and vehicle development. They also agree that EVs are only accessible to rich people in the country because of a lack of affordable options and that the Malaysian government and other players should do more to promote electric vehicles as a practical form of transportation.

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What are the audience segments that have been talking about electric cars online?

Malaysian social media users who are more interested in electric vehicles are most interested in watching movies and TV. The three main audience segments include the Conservatives, Technology Enthusiasts, and Innovation Seekers. They are predominantly male audiences aged between 18 and 24. 

They also have high media affinity with Malaysia's prominent media outlets, such as Astro Awani, Bernama, and technology-focused outlets, such as Amanz and Digital News Asia.

 

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Conservatives follow social media accounts of mainstream news outlets and the government (ministers, ministries, agencies etc.) They believe government policies would benefit their daily lives, such as EV-related ones.

Technology enthusiasts seek out exciting posts on new technologies and actively participate in discussions surrounding them. They are advocates of technologies that would make the environment that they live in better, as well as efficient technologies.

Innovation seekers are actively sharing news and involved in conversations about innovations that enhance the development of industries relying on the newest technology. They tend to evolve their lifestyles accordingly and embrace innovations available at their disposal.

 

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What are the catalysts of EV discussions among Malaysians?

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Several points between April and July 2022 peaked due to active discussions among Malaysians on EV:

Launch of Automotive High-Tech Valley on 14 April - The launch would assist in positioning Malaysia as a hub for EV manufacturers and component suppliers to the ASEAN market.

Foxconn announced plans to build a facility in Malaysia on 19 May - Taiwanese company Foxconn plans to build a chip production facility in Malaysia with Malaysia's Dagang NeXchange Berhad to fulfil the demand for EV semiconductors.

Criticism of parking at charging facilities on 10 June - There was criticism towards road users in Malaysia who parked their vehicles at EV charging facilities.

Samsung develops plant in Malaysia on 21 June - Samsung SDI Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd announced that they are developing a RM7 billion plant in Negeri Sembilan to pioneer the EV battery cell industry in the country.

First Range Extended EV developed in Malaysia on 21 July - Mimos Berhad has developed the first Range Extended Electric Vehicle (RE-EV) in Malaysia with the cooperation of Motosikal dan Enjin Nasional Sdn Bhd (Modenas) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).

Get in touch with Isentia today to learn more about what consumers are saying about your brand. 

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Isentia Malaysia Case Study | Electric Vehicle (EV) Conversations in Malaysia’s Social Media Sphere
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How the recent Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code is changing the rules around 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. 

Last year the Therapeutic Goods Administration announced the release of the new Therapeutic Advertising Code that came into A pivotal reform to the code involves restrictions on testimonials and endorsements of therapeutic goods in advertising, including social media. Influencers were flurrying about how they would continue to promote therapeutic products like sunscreens, skinny teas, collagen powders and the like within Australia. 

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.

@sethobrien using the recommended amount of sunscreen for the first time #skincare @cerave ♬ original sound - Sethobrien

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.

Discover the full report

Want to understand how therapeutic goods are driving beauty trends and changing the intersection between health and beauty? Download Pulsar’s report “Applying audience intelligence to Sunscreen”.

Contact Isentia to stay on top of media topics that impact your organisation!

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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 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 […]

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Sustainability in businesses, and where to draw the line

With consumers taking more of an interest in living a sustainable lifestyle, many companies are prompted to take steps to reduce their environmental impact and embrace sustainability.

 

However, what happens when companies make false claims that they are more sustainable than they actually are? This is where greenwashing comes in. Greenwashing is when a brand frames itself to be environmentally conscious for marketing purposes but is not making any notable sustainability efforts.

 

We analysed conversations on greenwashing among Malaysia's social media users powered by Pulsar's data.

 

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Who is involved and how did these discussions on greenwashing go?

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Our study shows that the term "greenwashing" is not as widely used when consumers call out practices that mislead the people with positive communications on environmental and sustainability practices when it is not. 

 

'Investment', 'banking', 'ESG', and 'sustainability’ are just some of the keywords most commonly used when Malaysians talk about greenwashing. 

 

Consumers tend to be sceptical and raise concerns with sustainability claims as they question the effectiveness and legitimacy of such initiatives. Some have linked such "green efforts" as a tactic for cost-cutting and even for financial gains.

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What are the audience segments that have been talking about greenwashing online?

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Malaysians talking about greenwashing online lean slightly more towards males. In terms of age group, the 18 to 24 years old have shown stronger interest in the topic. 

 

They are most interested in watching movies and TV and have high media affinity with some of the nation’s prominent media outlets such as Astro Awani, The Star, and Bernama. They tend to be sentimental, particular, and analytical.    

 

The top three audience segments we have identified talking about greenwashing are The Green Lovers, The Informers, and the Activists

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The Green Lovers who are passionate about sustainable lifestyle are highly interested in entertainment and social issues. Their choices are driven by a desire for well-being. 

 

The Informers, on the other hand, follow media outlets such as Astro Awani, The Star, and Bernama and tend to share content that concern the people with their networks. Their desire for organisation drives the choices that they make.


The Activists describe themselves as advocates for social issues. They follow political figures such as Khairy Jamaluddin, Syed Saddiq, and Hannah Yeoh. They are philosophical, authority-challenging, and empathetic.

Despite having different interests, their purchase decisions are likely to be influenced by online advertisements, brand names, and social media.

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What industries do consumers associate with greenwashing?

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Sustainable businesses are focused on continuous improvement and long-term goals. They seek to promote the health of a company and the community in which it operates while balancing these goals with the need to develop profit.

 

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However, despite efforts to campaign for sustainability and adhere to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards, some industries such as banking, oil and gas, and fast fashion have been called out for greenwashing.

Consumers have also pointed out initiatives such as the RM0.20 plastic bag pollution charges by the public sector for missing the ESG mark for seemingly profiting from the use of plastic bags. 

Generally, these sectors have been criticised for failing to fulfil their 'green commitments’ adequately.

Greenwashing can be harmful to a company’s reputation in the long run. As many consumers are focusing on ‘conscious consumerism’, companies are expected to live up to their sustainability goals. 

 

Get in touch with Isentia today to learn more about what consumers are saying about your company and brand in relation to greenwashing.

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Isentia Malaysia Case Study: Exploring Malaysians’ Perception of Greenwashing

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