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International association for the measurement and evaluation of communication
Category: Plain English award for simplicity in campaign effectiveness measurement and reporting
Client/Entering Company: Mediaverse
Campaign title: Competitive landscape analysis
Company Name: US-based global bank
Our client is a large US-based global bank operating in the highly competitive Australian market. The market contains four large local players, several regional banks and numerous global players all vying for the business of the Australian population. Our client runs an institutional banking division and a retail banking division in Australia, each presenting unique and complex challenges to their media strategy.
The Australian banking market is a complicated environment with significant public trust issues, ongoing regulatory reviews, and shifting consumer behaviour. Within this context, our client felt they were missing out on opportunities to influence their target audiences and manage their reputation because they did not have objective evidence of competitor activity and media strategies.
Up until approaching Mediaverse, the client was using anecdotal evidence about competitors to inform important strategic decision-making. Competitor analysis appeared to be an insurmountable task given the number of players and complexity of the space. Yet the internal need for this valuable information became increasingly vital, so the client commissioned Mediaverse to propose and execute a solution in the form of a one-off report that would accomplish the following objectives:
– Objective 1: Obtain a comprehensive understanding of the media activity, positioning and reputation of our client’s competitors
– Objective 2: Identify the challenges and opportunities for our client’s future media strategies based on insights obtained from the media coverage of its competitors
Mediaverse was to develop a strategic solution that met the above objectives while working within an extremely challenging budget of A$4,800 (US$3,600). In addition, Mediaverse needed to provide a report designed to be presented to various stakeholders, including the corporate affairs team and executive management. As such, the report would need to cut through the noise of coverage in the Australian banking market to focus on actionable insights using clear, jargon-free language.
Banks are never short on media coverage, and given the tight budget, Mediaverse worked with the client to develop an approach focusing on key competitors, key business activity and target audiences, rather than attempting to capture and analyse all coverage. Doing so would allow us to deliver an analysis report that provided simple but nuanced media insights while also strategically honing in on key learnings that would best inform the client’s future media strategy and tactics.
In order to execute this we placed three parameters on the scope of the project:
1. Key Competitors
Our client initially named nine competitors that they ideally wanted insights on, but combined these competitors produced over 5,000 media items a month. As such, analysing all competitor coverage for even a one-month period would have proven too costly for our client.
By doing quantitative research into coverage produced by the competitors over a 12-month period, and from discussions with the client on the competitive dynamics of the local market, we identified two influential competitors that would provide an insightful representation of the broader competitor landscape. Results from these two competitors could be closely compared to our client’s to determine differences in media coverage and opportunities to improve media strategy:
2. A discreet 3-month time period
A one-month period of analysis would be too narrow a focus to provide a reliable representation of the banks’ media coverage. As such, we selected a particular quarter of media coverage that included several significant events, thus capturing key business activity conducted by each bank:
3. Target audiences
We selected a curated list of media publications to include high priority outlets that spoke to the banks’ target audiences. Major national, metropolitan and financial print outlets were included, but not their online presences, in order to reduce duplication between print and online sources. The online outlets selected focused on financial/trade news and online-only publications. This was designed to generate an indicative sample of media coverage that could be extrapolated out to understand the wider landscape.
During the planning phase it was agreed that the bank’s own internal social media tracking and reporting was sufficient for their existing needs and was therefore excluded from the scope of this particular project.
Mediaverse then devised the following analysis framework to ensure the delivery of a simple and clear report that provided actionable insights:
After establishing the analysis scope and approach, Mediaverse tailored a measurement and reporting framework to meet our client’s insight objectives and end-user objectives.
Analysis and measurement framework:
Experienced human analysts evaluated 1,800 media items across the three banks for the following quantitative and qualitative measures:
Topic tracking, sentiment analysis and prominence of brand mention analysis were designed to provide the client with a thorough understanding of the nature of coverage produced by each bank. Essentially, these measures provided our client with the substance behind the volumes and therefore an understanding of the players’ reputations as portrayed in the media (Objective 1).
Spokesperson tracking, identification of Active/Passive coverage, and tracking journalists and media outlets to identify any close or consistent relationships with specific journalists or publications took the analysis one step further. These qualitative metrics were designed to identify the challenges and opportunities for our client’s future media strategies, in light of new knowledge of its competitors’ media relations approaches. (Objective 2).
Underpinning the measurement framework was the requirement for the report to be presented in a simple and clear way that made the insights digestible and valuable for various stakeholders above and beyond the bank’s corporate affairs team. All charts, graphs and insights via commentary used clearly defined terms and did not assume prior knowledge of media analysis approaches or terminology. The report was to be presented in a format that was simple to understand, using the client’s corporate language and focused directly on business objectives.
At the conclusion of the analysis period, Mediaverse issued a report that contained the following insights:
Contextualising commentary from the Mediaverse analyst alongside the graphs provided deep insights behind the numbers. Our commentary highlighted patterns, trends, similarities and differences between each bank and identified reasons for these findings.
The report integrated Mediaverse’s unique myAnalysis online portal. myAnalysis is an online portal to an interactive database, through which the client can click through from the report to further interrogate their data, drilling down into the statistics to see which items contributed to aggregated figures. This also provides a level of transparency, which in turn creates confidence in the analysis.
myAnalysis has a clear, simple interface, making the data accessible to the client team without the need for time-consuming training. This reporting approach meant that the client was not overwhelmed by the volume of data. Instead, they could immediately see the high level insights, but also drill down to see further detail to the degree they choose.
From the starting point of a complex and broad project brief, Mediaverse successfully provided our client with meaningful evaluation of its own media coverage compared to that of its key competitors in a clear and concise way. Analysis focused on the quality of competitor coverage, providing the client with an insightful assessment of competitor media activity. The client gained a more comprehensive understanding of its position and opportunities in the highly complex competitor environment.
The straightforward and accessible report was presented to various stakeholders to inform future strategic and tactical decisions.
Mediaverse’s media analysis resulted in the following specific Outtakes and Outcomes that were acted upon by the corporate affairs team:
1. Audience targeting
Mediaverse analysis found that the bank’s key institutional competitor, Competitor 1, gained more coverage in one of Australia’s major national outlets, The Australian, compared to our client (Objective 1)
Mediaverse identified an opportunity for our client to focus efforts in securing a greater share of quality voice in The Australian and therefore influence more of their target audience. A tangible outcome of this strategy change was the securing of prominent coverage on the bank’s new CEO on the front page of the Business section of The Australian in early 2017. (Objective 2)
2.Value of media partnerships
Competitor 1 obtained prominent and favourable Corporate Social Responsibility media coverage on a particular charity event as a result of media partnerships with the two major newspaper publishers in Australia: News Corp and Fairfax. (Objective 1)
This finding demonstrated the value of media partnerships in securing media coverage that has a positive impact on reputation. Our client will now further strengthen and leverage its existing media partnerships as well as find opportunities for new ones. (Objective 2)
3. Quality over quantity
The bank’s retail competitor, Competitor 2, generated higher quality thought leadership coverage compared to our client as a result of key research reports being fronted by the bank’s chief economist (Objective 1)
Mediaverse’s finding, coupled with a general trend in Australia that less content is produced by media outlets, identified a need to focus on generating quality coverage using key company spokespeople. A tangible result of this change in approach is the client’s increasing use of a research spokesperson. Since Mediaverse’s report was delivered, this spokesperson has produced two bylines in major national broadsheets the Australian Financial Review and The Australian, as well as often writing for the company blog, doing regular radio interviews and posting on social media. (Objective 2)
Both competitors received unfavourable coverage about conflict of interest issues and the management of receiverships. However, there were several instances where a competitor was able to neutralise the negative sentiment by providing comment that the bank acknowledged the errors and had now put steps in place to ensure the problem would not be repeated. (Objective 1)
The client’s executive team had previously operated on the assumption that banks are invariably portrayed as the villain in the media and this sentiment is unlikely to be shifted via proactive engagement. However, Mediaverse’s analysis found that there are occasions whereby neutralisation can occur, giving the bank greater ability to influence its reputation in difficult situations. This recommendation has now been factored into future strategic planning around negative coverage and crisis management. (Objective 2)
Media analysis focuses effort and inevitably improves outcomes. It is also one more tool to help educate staff on the impact of media coverage, and how better to work with the media. The insights and recommendations provided by Mediaverse were invaluable.
Head of Media, Institutional Clients Group
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