Study: Australian brands failing to communicate key messages

A Burson-Marsteller study has found that there is a large gap between what Australian organisations want to communicate, and the messages are actually coming through in the media.

The study also found that Australian firms are worse in this regard than their foreign counterparts.

Ironically, the research breaks after NAB won the PR grand prix at Cannes yesterday.

There is a 48% message “gap” between the company and media messages of foreign firms, much lower than the disconnect for Australian companies – which was 74%.

“This study highlights how difficult it is for companies to get their message across via media. No matter how earnest, or how well written, corporate messages aren’t simply going to be replicated,” said Burson-Marsteller Australia MD Brian West.

The Australian study examined 137 corporate messages from six Australian companies, selected from the Financial Times 500 and the ASX.

The key messages included in each company’s external communications were compared against related coverage in mainstream media over three months.

“Australian firms need to take a strategic approach to their communication. For the media component of the strategy, that means having a clear understanding of the changing media landscape, how messages are reported, and a commitment to adapt to what’s required to ensure their desired messages get through,” West added.

B-M issued the following PR check list for brands:

  1. “Aspirational” language needs to be backed up by concrete facts, or it is likely to be ignored. Messages that relate to a company’s core values and identity tend to get more media pick-up.
  2. Now more than ever CEO’s are under intense media scrutiny. Companies that successfully align their CEO’s interviews, quotes and actions with the firm’s key messages stand a better chance of getting them into the media.
  3. Mainstream media and bloggers tend to change or completely ignore jargon. To increase message fidelity, companies should make their communications as accessible as possible by leaving out corporate speak.
  4. The Australian media regularly talks about companies in relation to their competition. Incorporating differentiators into key messages can help firms stand out.
  5. Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are increasingly only covered by the media if they are current. Firms need to back up their CSR promises with facts to ensure they get traction.




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