“In the future there will be no female leaders, there will just be leaders”
— Sheryl Sandberg
Our recent partnered research with Women in Media showed there is still significant gender discrimination within the media and a long way to go before parity is reached. Female voices are being excluded in shaping public perception in industries where women lead in employment, such as retail, sport and health. This creates hurdles for female experts and sources, and demonstrates the largest gap between women employment share and media representation.
All organisations have a role to play, with a responsibility to provide equal opportunities and outcomes for men and women.
Through the power of collaboration and raising each other up, it presents an opportunity for women to change the status quo.
Women in the workplace
Women’s voices and women’s participation within the workplace are lacking true representation and the amplification they deserve. Whether it’s in leadership, as a spokesperson or across the news value chain – there’s more that can be done to avoid misrepresentation of an organisation as this sends a conflicting message to their audience.
As the Women in Media research suggests, to avoid underrepresentation, organisations should:
Review and assess their level of representation
Invest in training and development for spokeswomen and
Commit to monitor change.
Workplaces have a responsibility to ensure there is a focus on gender balance through inclusion and diversity as well as provide support and visibility of pathways to leadership roles.
Mapping out the right spokesperson
When choosing a spokesperson, it’s the role of an organisation to select someone who is a well suited representative, and be able to provide the best answers for their key audiences. The characteristics of a spokesperson are similar to that of a leader, with competency (37%), confidence (31%), and good communication (26%) being the most important. They also need to speak with authority, with their opinions being trusted, but also an ability to connect with stakeholders and not shy away from empathy, if it’s needed.
Women need to be given the support and authority to be a trusted brand ambassador or spokesperson for the organisation.
At a time when a story hits the media, there is a framework organisations can put into place to ensure success:
Subject: who is the subject of the story and whose perspective does it amplify.
Narrative: what are the stories being told or what stories are being missed. I.e. Consider which stories are written by women/men or feature more women/men, who is telling the story – experts, sources, spokespeople etc.
Opportunity:1. how much opportunity does the spokesperson have to express their opinion, how frequently are they visually represented, what role do they play and how are they portrayed? 2. provide training and development of spokeswomen to contribute to achieving gender equity in the media. And as spokeswomen are called on their leadership and expertise, it will present a fair representation of Australian society.
Women in Media Gender Scorecard
The Women in Media Scorecard explores the visibility of women as authors, participants and subjects of news in Australian media. It identifies core areas in media analytics (bylines, sources, experts) to monitor change over time and positive or negative shifts towards achieving parity for women in Australian media. Isentia analysis included 18,346 reports from Australian press, radio and TV news coverage over a 14-day period, from 18-31 July 2022.
Trajectory to gender parity
Some say a woman alone has power; collectively they have impact.
Across all industries and organisations, when it comes to women supporting other women, there is power in the pack.
Women often underestimate the value they can offer, the wisdom and knowledge they can share can benefit and support many women (and men too).
From increasing productivity and enhancing collaboration, to inspiring organisational dedication and boosting confidence, women can be unstoppable when working towards a desired goal, together.
“Women need to get behind other women. Encourage their expertise. Acknowledge their strengths. Champion their success. Amplify their voice.”
Interestingly, our research shows female reporters are 30% more likely to quote female sources than male reporters. This suggests that women do support women, yet women dominated industries are not being represented as such in the media. The highest underrepresentation of female sources tended to be associated with topics/sectors with a high female employment share, for example in retail, sport and health.
This presents an opportunity for organisations to increase women’s representation in leadership positions and boost women’s workforce participation. By doing this, it will encourage women to amplify other women and contribute to achieving gender parity within the workplace.
Men Dominate As Sources, Even In Industries Where Women Lead Employment
Source gender split vs industry employment
The affinity bias
The media hype plus cultural perceptions might showcase that women don’t want to revel in another woman’s success. Yet it’s quite the opposite.
Dedicated days like International Women’s Day are a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of other women beyond the divisions of national, ethnic, cultural, economic or political barriers. But it shouldn’t stop there.
Status quo bias and gender blindness are two key areas of bias within organisations. For whatever reason, when we think about a leader or a person with authority, our brains default to think of a male. The ‘think manager, think male’ norms continue to hold women back and contribute to a notable gender gap in self promotion within the workplace.
Women are 33% less likely to promote their performance and only 60% of women actively make people aware of their accomplishments. And this wasn’t due to a lack of desire, however it was more likely to attribute their failures to lack of ability. Because women feel the workplace is harder on them, they’re harder on themselves, causing their confidence to take a hit. Yet for women to advance in leadership roles or further their career, self-promotion is a must.
In instances where women are confident and assertive at work, they can be penalised by others and be referred to as bossy. In fact, women are twice as likely to be branded as bossy in the workplace for doing the same behaviours as men.This can often impact their desire to celebrate their achievements and also have a negative impact on how well they are liked by their peers.
Within the media landscape in particular, women reporters are more likely to:
Challenge gender stereotypes
Raise gender inequality issues
Reference legislation or policies that promote gender equality or human rights.
Yet they don’t get seen as experts in their field and get the bylines to showcase this.
The Women in Media research shows only two of the 35 identified topic groups (6%) recorded a greater share of women sources than men. Females are notably under-represented when comparing the share of experts in media reporting with the share of sector employment. The pattern of media underrepresentation in women-dominated industries extends from sources to the share of experts quoted.
With the spotlight on gender equity, now is the time for women to support and amplify other women across all industries.
A call to arms
At Isentia equity, inclusion and diversity is something we are all passionate about and we choose partnerships that help us shine a light on these issues. We value the voice that our women leaders and employees can have within our company and industry and are always looking for opportunities to elevate their voices.
Company CEO Joanna Arnold believes ‘the true value of insights is when it’s used to shine a light on societal issues and inspire behaviour that drives change. Our innovation in audience intelligence underpins our purpose to help surface the diverse voices shaping wider societal narratives’ so that they can be better represented in the media and other channels shaping public perception”.
The Women in Media Research highlights that much work remains to provide gender equity and share of voice for women in organisations and through representation in Australian media.
Organisations can play an important role in gender equity by:
Investing in training and development for their spokespeople and instill confidence into their female employees
Constantly review and assess their level of female representation
Ensure the chosen person is an accurate representation of the workplace
Commit to monitoring change and
Build a supportive workplace culture
Moving forward, as more women encourage and support other women, the more will be received in return.
We can continue to support the positive impact organisations have towards female representation and gender parity. We want to improve the barriers and drivers for women representation in organisations across societal, organisational and individual levels.
If you’d like to learn more about The Women in Media Scorecard or discover how Isentia can help your organisation with impactful insights-driven research, get in touch with us today.
Women in Media Report, 2022
Isentia’s Leadership Index 3: Leading Through Change
Louise is an experienced content marketing professional who translates Isentia’s marketing strategy into impactful and effective marketing campaigns across multiple channels. As the Content Marketing Specialist for Isentia, Louise enjoys creating informative and engaging content for media and communications professionals.
The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals, with people facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences.
What’s driving the cost of living concerns?
A range of factors are driving the cost of living in Australia, with some having more of an impact than others. Using data from our sister company, Pulsar, inflation (as the overarching issue) is gaining the most media coverage as the price of goods and services continues to increase over time.
The chart also shows the rise in energy costs, interest rates, and housing prices (rent and mortgage prices) as other main drivers for cost of living concerns. As energy prices continue to increase, households are feeling the pinch as their expenses soar. And when it comes to housing, whether it's the skyrocketing rent or the burden of increasing mortgage payments, many individuals and families are finding it increasingly challenging to secure affordable accommodation.
Let’s take a closer look at these topics.
Energy fuels the discussion
Energy sources and prices are hot topics in the media, impacting households, affordability, and vulnerable populations. But a troubling discrepancy emerged in the May 2023 Budget: businesses got more attention than households in energy relief measures. Surprisingly, only 13% of media coverage focused on the struggles faced by individuals, while a whopping 29% centered around the politics and policies of Australian businesses. This raises valid concerns about whether the media is truly addressing the needs of Australian communities.
Sectors feeling the heat of media scrutiny
Media outlets play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing the cost of living. When it comes to specific energy sectors, they have become the subject of intense media scrutiny. Data from our Energy Transition report shows that coal and gas are in the hot seat, with a significant portion of media coverage - 43% for coal and 26% for gas - dedicated to discussing these fossil fuels. This media focus highlights the ongoing conversations surrounding the environmental impact of coal and gas, their contribution to climate change, economic considerations, and the urgent need for policy changes to transition to cleaner energy sources.
Feeling the pinch
The cost of living crisis goes beyond numbers; it’s intertwined with the housing market and interest rates. Escalating housing costs, fueled by rising prices and interest rates, can put immense strain on household budgets, leading to financial stress and widening economic inequality.
But the conversation doesn't stop there. The story behind the data is clear: the cost of living is an issue that affects us all, and the media plays a crucial role in shaping and amplifying the conversation. Google searches and social media activity reflect people’s ongoing concern about the weight of living expenses, especially around RBA announcements. Anxiety emerges as a dominant theme, with a staggering 93% of media coverage highlighting the keyword.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows living costs have reached an all-time high. Over the past 12 months, all living cost indices have risen between 7.1 percent and 9.6 percent for all households, compared to a 7 percent annual increase in inflation.
The difference largely stems from living cost indices taking into account mortgage interest charges. Housing and interest rates have been the largest contributors to the rise in the cost of living, with home owners feeling the pinch from rising mortgage payments and renters feeling the brunt of it. According to the RBA, the average mortgage size in Australia has increased by 38% in the past decade. According to Pulsar data, unsurprisingly, 84% of Australians are left feeling sad about the cost of living.
Influential figures shaping the conversation
Data from the Pulsar Platform gives a visual snapshot of how several Australian and foreign individuals and groups are influencing the conversation, including politicians, economists, consumer advocacy groups, and business owners.
Unsurprisingly, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds significant influence when it comes to shaping the cost of living conversation in Australia’s political landscape. As the governing body in Australian Parliament, their policies and initiatives subjectively bear the everyday Australian in mind, aiming to tackle the affordability challenges that many face. The ALP resonates with citizens worried about rising living costs due to its focus on income inequality, social justice, and fair economic policies. But are they doing enough?
Treasurer Jim Chalmers, along with other influential ALP members including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, and Mick de Brenni, are leading the conversation in an effort to alleviate living expenses and promote income growth. Despite their desire to achieve these outcomes, the public outcry on Twitter shows the frustration Australians are feeling. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are in the firing line, with the public urging more action on the cost of living crisis.
How media intelligence can help you navigate the cost of living
Advocacy efforts can be significantly enhanced through the use of social listening and media monitoring. These tools allow you to effectively navigate the dynamic narratives surrounding the cost of living. By tailoring your advocacy approach, you can foster a more equitable and sustainable solution that brings positive change to communities and influences public opinion.
Additionally, by staying well-informed about the ongoing public discourse and trending discussions related to the cost of living, you can develop compelling communication strategies that effectively inform and engage your stakeholders.
Curious about how media intelligence can enhance your communication strategies to connect with your audience? Request a demo here, and our expert team will reach out to help you develop your communication strategies.
string(56) "The Story Behind the Data: Navigating the Cost of Living"
string(418) "The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals. Within our shores, people are facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences."
string(19) "2023-09-20 02:16:59"
string(19) "2023-09-20 02:16:59"
The Story Behind the Data: Navigating the Cost of Living
The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals. Within our shores, people are facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences.
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, […]
For every conversation that we have, a compelling story becomes the link between you and your audience. When your stories resonate and relate, the audience will take notice.
To do that, you need to understand the relationship between your brand and its audience and the conversations that grow from that link. Finding those talking points gives you an insight into the types of audiences that follow your brand.
These conversations and communities allow you to identify and understand your audience on a deeper level. Building on this strong relationship, your brand's stories remain consistent with your voice and values.
So how do you understand your audience’s conversations?
1. Identify the channels your audience are most active
The channels or mediums are critical in identifying your audiences. This is essential so that you can produce the kind of story they want to hear. The more relevant and updated your content is, the more engaged your audience will be with you.
By analysing your audience, you can create better content that resonates with them. This will help you build a stronger connection with your audience and keep them engaged.
Analyse your audience by:
Website visitors — Analysing data from your website can help you identify the types of audiences who have already started their discovery journey about your brand.
Customer data — This audience is already engaging with your brand so it is critical that you identify the personas found within this subset.
Social media — Driven by conversations around your brand and industry, you can find new personas and demographics to cover trending topics.
For example, by studying the various communities interested in public relations and communications in various sub-Reddit threads, it shows that there is a slightly higher percentage of male Redditors (6.3%) to female users (5.8%).
There were around 1,500 unique authors in these communities within Reddit. By leveraging these demographic insights on Reddit, you can craft a much compelling narrative based on the channel and the topics and conversations held by your Reddit audience.
2. Identify trending keywords in your industry
In today’s digital realms of search engines and social media, the practice of keyword research is essential for brand storytelling. Finding and researching relevant keywords ensures the right people see your content. Identifying keywords is crucial to your business because they are related to queries that users in search engines ask.
There were around 1,500 unique authors in these communities within Reddit. By leveraging these demographic insights on Reddit, you can craft a much compelling narrative based on the channel and the topics and conversations held by your Reddit audience.
By understanding the relationship between keywords and queries, brands can better target their marketing efforts and ensure prospective customers see their message. Insights from social media intelligence can also boost this keyword research process and add current topical trends while delivering relevant queries about your audiences.
Keyword research tools such as Pulsar can help your storytelling by listing all the keywords you need to create content for your brand. Better content and engagement with audiences will boost your brand’s ranking in search results.
3. Monitor mainstream media coverage
As media and technology continue to evolve, it is more important than ever for brands to stay on top of media trends. By monitoring media coverage, brands can ensure that their message is being communicated effectively and reach their target audience.
Using a media monitoring platform can help you quickly identify negative media coverage as well as spot positive opportunities to engage with your audiences. This engagement in return strengthens your relationship with your audience and builds a healthy reputation.
4. Listen to social media conversations
With 4.6 billion users on social media in 2022 (estimated to rise to 5.8 billion by 2027) conversations can revolve around many topics at any given time. People are jumping from one topic to another so quickly and several trending topics can dominate the overarching social media landscape.
Staying on top of these topics is critical for brand storytelling and engaging audiences. Many brands are harnessing the power of technology and artificial intelligence to identify these conversations.
5. Discover topics through Pulsar
Almost everyone searches for information online. With Google dominating 83 percent of the search engine market, it is unsurprising that the company’s name has become the new word for searching information.
Using platforms such as Pulsar, you can discover trending topics that people are looking for on the search engine. These topics can help in your content creation remain current and relevant. These trending topics reflect what people are interested in and what topics are widely discussed at the moment.
What does audience insight mean?
In recent years, there has been a growing debate about the relationship between traditional and social media. There is no doubt that social media has changed the way we consume information. We are now used to getting our news from Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.
But traditional media outlets are still important, especially when it comes to storytelling and discovering new audience-led conversations. We believe they can work together to find your best audiences.
While social media is great for sharing short snippets of information, traditional media is still the best platform for in-depth storytelling and credibility. This is because traditional media outlets have the resources to invest in long-form journalism.
They also have experienced reporters who know how to find and tell a good story. In an industry-scale research, trust among consumers of online news has waned and this puts a strain on the relationship between your brand and your audiences. New tools such as Pulsar have incorporated new technologies to help them rate news outlets that can be trusted.
Finding audiences in your news coverage
There is so much online news content but what is critical is having high standards on the content you consume. Traditional media is still regulated by industry standards while journalists abide by ethical ones – creating a guard against misinformation.
But what is often overlooked is the role that traditional media plays in shaping the stories that we see on social media. Undeniably, social media platforms provide a more immediate and intimate connection to the events and people we care about.
However, it is the work of traditional media outlets in covering these stories that set the stage for much of the discussion and debate that takes place on social media. In many ways, social media is now the amplifier of your story, not traditional media.
This symbiotic relationship between traditional and social media presents a huge opportunity for brands to amplify their messages to their audiences — raising their forte of storytelling and finding the right audiences for your brand.
Connect with your audience
The next step for your brand is to find that platform. There are a plethora of options to send your message across to your audience.
3 things to set up
Create a reason for your audience to contact you
Create your call-to-action (CTA) for your audience. As a brand, you must have a strong CTA in your marketing efforts. A CTA is what drives your audience to take the desired action, whether it's signing up for your email list, making a purchase straight from the point of discovery, or scheduling a demo consultation.
To create an effective CTA, start by clearly defining what you want your audience to do. Then, create a sense of urgency and make it easy for them to take action by providing a clear and concise path.
Select your platform
Find out which platform best serves your brand. Do you have thousands of followers on Instagram? Website visitors are actively engaging with your blogs? People are commenting on your Facebook profile? The options below are usually the main platforms that most brands use to tell their story.
Tell your story and share as much as you can
The final step would be to share that story with your audience and the general public. There are many ways to share your brand story with your audience. You can use social media, your website, email marketing, and even face-to-face interactions to get your story out there.
The most important thing is to be clear about who your audience is and what you want to communicate to them. Once you know that, you can tailor your story to fit their needs and interests. If you can tell a compelling story that resonates with your audience, you'll build a strong brand.
Ready to find your target audiences online? Click here to explore and discover the diverse communities that are following your brand with us.
string(41) "5 ways to understand your audience online"
string(135) "In order to engage customers and prospects, you must have brand storytelling. A great story will hook readers in and keep them engaged."
string(19) "2023-07-11 00:57:03"
string(19) "2023-07-11 00:57:03"
5 ways to understand your audience online
In order to engage customers and prospects, you must have brand storytelling. A great story will hook readers in and keep them engaged.
In today's fast-paced world, audience intelligence is critical to crisis management. By understanding who your target 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
On 21 September 2022, 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 2022. 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.
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.
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 target 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.
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 target 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 target 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 target 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 target 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.