That’s generally the first question I ask when people start talking about their media analysis. Are they wanting to understand how an issue is playing out? Looking for insights into how to influence an industry issue or debate? Seeking to drive better behaviours and operational improvement in their team? Or just reporting regularly up the line to management?
Media analysis can be a lot more than a snapshot of your most recent performance in the media. It can be a lot more than just reach, share of voice and sentiment, not that those aren’t important measures. Many organisations only scratch the surface of the insights they could glean about their media coverage.
In 2009, I was a member of the judging panel at the AMEC Communication Effectiveness Awards in London, which gave me the opportunity to study a range of communication evaluation projects. They all showed an interesting mix of methods, emphasis and priorities.
Some undertook sentiment analysis of media coverage and message penetration along with surveys to assess shifts in perceptions and attitudes in order to show the impact of media activity on the target market.
Others were designed to determine who the key voices were in a debate and what influence they had over the journalists and publications covering an issue. They produced a very clear picture of the ‘theatre of war’ the client was fighting in and allowed them to develop focused strategies and tactics to shift perceptions as part of a hearts and minds campaign.
The experience highlighted to me that no two communications strategies are the same and media analysis should be tailored to deliver meaningful insights to respond to shifting organisational priorities.
In my last role as Corporate Affairs Manager for Suncorp’s insurance brands, I found the value of media analysis in a range of ways. I began by using analysis to focus my team on amplifying our voice through better understanding and utilising syndicated outlets and writers.
The next year it was about quality and impact, focusing on key message penetration, prominence and – given some of the issues the industry was facing – neutralisation. The following year the focus was encouraging the use of third party endorsement and stakeholder alignment.
After that it became about tracking indicators of reputation, both operational and perceptual, which meant measuring a lot more than just media outputs. And as I prepared to transition across to Mediaverse a few months ago, I was grappling with the question of how best to affect and measure behavioural change.
My personal history – and the experience of our happy clients – with media analysis shows the value of it comes from designing an analysis and reporting framework that is flexible and responds to an organisation’s ever-changing needs.
By Reuben Aitchison, Executive Director Mediaverse