Four ways to keep up with media evaluation in a fast-paced environment

When so much of your workload is fixated on promoting the next item on the agenda, it often feels like there is no time to stop and track the performance of your work.

When your performance is seemingly fine, it can feel tempting to put analysis aside —but in doing so, you miss out on essential insights that both improve strategy and demonstrate success to the board, C-Suite and wider business.

Fortunately, there are several ways to execute this process in a quick and efficient manner, without needing to do a deep dive into a random assortment of every possible metric.

Consistency is key — by sticking to a concise and regular set of parameters/metrics in each evaluation, you will have a much better benchmark of what ‘good’ looks like even when there is no other similarity between each campaign or news story.

If your turnover rate is high and time for reflection feels scarce, here is a four-step guide to streamline your media measurement and evaluation:

1. Consider your goals
Reflect on your PR objectives, both from a broader perspective and specific to this content. What are your wider communications goals for the year? Who and what are you looking to draw attention to? How would you like to be portrayed? What publications would you like to target?

2. Consider what is important to the organisation as a whole
Alongside your PR goals, consider what is important and achievable to your organisation as a whole? What does good look like to your stakeholders? What are the relevant pillars you can measure against to prove the value of PR, even in an ever-changing landscape.

3. Build a consistent framework

Using the information you have gathered so far, choose metrics that reflect the broader goals you are aiming to achieve and report on, as well as those specific to each piece of content. This will enable you to build a bigger picture of how the function is performing overall.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Visibility metrics such as volume / reach: if goals are linked to increasing overall media presence
  • Visibility specific to a target audience: if goals are linked with targeting specific audiences through relevant media titles
  • Link to website: if the PR goal is to drive call-to-actions through different campaigns
  • Sentiment: while cumulative improvements in sentiment may be desired, consider your industry and whether neutralising negative sentiment may be just as important as positive sentiment
  • Key Messages: while each campaign / content type might drive its own set of key messages, consider also monitoring overall organisational key messages as a pillar of consistency

The metrics chosen will be the same set you use to measure performance going forward in every evaluation, alongside your specific goals tied to each campaign/news story. By utilising a consistent framework of metrics based on wider goals, you can:

  • Draw a relative benchmark between each report, even if they have no contextual similarities to each other
  • Save time in conducting the analysis by knowing what you are measuring and how long it is going to take you

Tip: If you are new to the process, try picking two or three metrics to begin with. As you get quicker and more comfortable, more can always be added.

4. Ask for help when you need it

If you simply do not have the capacity to fit media evaluation into your schedule, there is still a solution.

The Vuelio Insights team partners with clients to produce bespoke reports that identify risks and opportunities, and demonstrate the value of your PR.

Emerging story reports are quick turnaround reports that we can deliver to support you in a fast-paced environment. Our experts work with you to ensure that you have the insights you need to understand your media performance and report it to your stakeholders, while supporting you to build a measurement framework that supports your overall goals.

Whether you need to understand campaign performance, KPIs, competitor analysis, media impact, crises, strategic decisions or your audiences,

Want to learn more about how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more here.

In the race to net zero, how is ‘green pharma’ perceived around the world?  

Following the commencement of COP27 in November 2022, a report by the Office of Health Economics (OHE) declared that immediate action must be taken by health organisations to secure the era of green pharmaceuticals.

Europe, Australasia and North America have collectively committed to net-zero by 2050, meaning sustainability will evolve from an add-on to appease green stakeholders into a ‘business-critical strategy’ to protect operational licences.

The pharmaceutical industry is considered a‘major emitter’ of greenhouse gases, producing 55% more than the automotive sector. Greener mechanisms will need to be rapidly adopted to reduce such large-scale emissions and plastic production, which are ‘most prevalent’ in R&D, operational processes and medicine delivery.

When pharma’s contributions to climate change became a focus point at the COP27 event in Egypt, industry news and health publications began its continued interest into how the biggest players are making their first steps. The risk of ‘greenwashing’ accusations is high across all sectors — pharmaceutical brands must be vigilant in proving they can ‘walk the talk’ once their commitments to sustainability have been publicised.

Key Takeaways

  • Since 2022, ‘green pharma’ has evolved in the press from a public demand to a business-critical strategy
  • Unbranded headlines that outline the collaborative efforts of multiple pharma brands are outperforming those that list specific companies
  • Alongside the general discussion of green pharma growth, the UK produced 10.2% more coverage on brand-focused initiatives than the rest of Europe, North America and Australasia
  • Environmental accreditations like the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) can significantly enhance media awareness and legitimacy of sustainability claims

The UK continues to be a leading source of ‘green pharma’ coverage, producing approx. 2,369 articles since 1 Nov 2022. This is only 30% less than Europe’s collective output, where Switzerland is the most active speaker (approx. 940 articles) with Germany close behind (approx. 731 articles). North America has produced around 6,200 articles and just over 2,000 were produced across Australasia.

Most-mentioned brands

 *Data shown above measures all climate-focused pharmaceutical coverage published in national/international news sources and health-related industry publications (approx. 13,700 articles across Europe, N. America & Australasia) between 1 Nov 2022 and 9 Jan 2023.

Across all countries measured by the Vuelio Insights team, the UK produced the most brand-focused content (as opposed to generalised ‘green pharma’ discussion). Approximately 39.7% of all coverage focused on the specific actions of one or more pharmaceutical companies, whereas Europe produced 29.5%, Australasia 26.8% and North America 16.12%.

Collaborative efforts outperform specific brand stories

That being said, the highest-reaching and most prominent coverage on this topic has been that which summarises a collective of pharma efforts, such as ‘Seven pharma CEOs unite to achieve net zero healthcare’ or ‘Japanese drugmakers make greener packaging pledge’.

This overview style of article demonstrated incomparable engagement in all countries measured. As the most successful story of the entire period, the ‘seven CEOs’ piece was repurposed 2,486 times across international news sources and pharma publications.

Although 65% of general news headlines were unbranded, some trade titles opted for branded variations ie PRWeek’s ‘Merck, AstraZeneca, GSK CEOs announce efforts to curb emissions in healthcare’. Although this was a strong source of positive prominence for some companies, unbranded headlines received a 66% higher reach in all publication types. Ultimately, all article variations offered headline and/or significant mentions for all of the listed brands and accounted for approximately 82% of international coverage for GSK, Samsung Biologics, Merck Group and Roche.

Top Stories

*Data shown above defines ‘top story’ as that which has achieved significant national or international media awareness across 200+ news or pharma publications, also offering either headline or significant prominence for one or more pharmaceutical companies. Overall pos. sentiment is calculated as positive + neutral combined.

AstraZeneca 

While AstraZeneca and Samsung Biologics were also part of the ‘seven CEOs’ piece, both brands performed better overall with stories that produced lower volume. For example, across Europe and North America, AstraZeneca’s ‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ initiative has produced 414 articles in 298 news and industry publications. While this is less than the article with the highest volume, 89% of coverage mentioned AstraZeneca in the headline, while quotes from CEO Pascal Soriot’s COP27 speech were featured in 38.6% of this coverage. Overall, positive prominence was much higher and therefore made the ‘accelerating toward net zero’ piece their top story.

Samsung Biologics

The same principle of prominence > volume applies to Samsung Biologics’ top story. Among all coverage on net zero healthcare across the studied regions, the company’s acquisition of the Terra Carta Seal  was the brand’s most positive and prominent piece across major international news publications and pharmaceutical media outlets.

Roche & Merck Group 

As for Roche and Merck, both brands performed best in the ‘seven CEOs’ piece in terms of volume, sentiment & prominence combined. However, Roche outperformed AstraZeneca as one of the most-mentioned pharma brands of those recognised for its ‘science-based targets’ and a ‘clearly-defined pathway’ to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals. With over 4,000 businesses following the SBTi initiative since 2015, it has become an established benchmark for success within scientific journalism.

Takeda

Across Australasia, Takeda has benefitted from a similar style of broad and unbranded coverage recognising collaborative environmental efforts. Alongside Astellas, Eisai, Daiichi Sankyo, its collaborative involvement in efforts to reduce pharmaceutical packaging was covered 733 times from 15 Dec 2022 – 5 Jan 2023, which made up 37.2% of the total coverage across the collective regions.

Bayer

On the topic of net zero healthcare, Bayer has been the only pharma company to receive a significant and international volume of negative coverage since COP27 in November. This was driven by one highly prominent story on Jeff Ubben, an environmental activist and prospective Bayer investor who is pushing for an ‘external CEO’ to better support net zero goals within the company.

Media awareness around this discussion peaked between 7 and 23 Jan. The Financial Times reported on this story from multiple angles between 9 and 23 Jan, as part of both general news and in its ’Moral Money’ sections. As a result, the publication produced the highest international readership and engagement on the story.

Ubben was quoted saying that an external hire would be a ‘clean break from the past’, referencing severe litigations taken against Bayer when it acquired Monsanto and its herbicide, Roundup, which is notorious for its lethal impact to environmental and human health.

Urgency from all sides

Over the past few years, media discussion around net zero healthcare has evolved rapidly. As an industry once known as ‘reluctant’ to prioritise sustainability, 2022 was the year of the public call to action for better ESG strategies. Now, as we begin 2023, it has evolved from a demand to an ‘urgent’ necessity — that will have a detrimental operational impact if neglected.

Nick Hoile, senior director of the Health practice at PR agency MHP, made a public statement in November stating that there is a ‘medical education and communications piece’ that needs to be done at all levels, including the conversations sales teams have with individual physicians. Further, Hoile argued that health communicators have a ‘pivotal role’ in shaping the green narrative and would be wise to acquire ‘environmental credentials’ as soon as possible.

As proven by the prominent positive coverage of AstraZeneca, joining the SBTi is a visible example of how such credentials can massively impact net zero brand awareness across international media sources.

In an article titled ‘Will ESG be 2023’s Hottest Business Topic in Bio/Pharma?’, Life Science Leader argued that joining SBTi is also a sure-fire way to prove authenticity and avoid ‘greenwashing’ allegations.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

How to create key messages that actually land with your target audience

When it comes to measuring your PR performance, numbers alone can – for better or worse – easily distort the real picture. For example, Share of Voice is always one of the first metrics Vuelio clients ask for – but what is the quality of the coverage? Brand A may have 10% more than Brand B, but how valuable is it to the brand? If it is mostly negative or passive commentary, then Brand B may have performed better overall.

Key Message Penetration is a great tool for diving deeper into your coverage to measure brand awareness and assess how well your brand messages are being delivered.

Try this simple five-step guide to get started:

1. Establish your key messages

Create a list of 3-5 key messages that highlight the main point(s) you want to get across. These are the messages you want to come to the minds of your consumers when they think about your brand, so tie them back to your brand strategy or a specific product launch, i.e.:

  • ABC Vets, pioneers in new holistic pet therapy 
  • ABC Vets, the charity for pets in need 
  • ABC Vets, providing affordable animal care to Britain since 1978 

    2. Set parameters 

    Once you have your key messages, decide on the channels that would be most valuable based on your target audience. For example:

  • What are the preferred media types of your target audience(s) i.e. print, broadcast, online news, social media etc?
  • Which publications are your audience(s) reading?
  • Which journalists/authors write these pieces?
  • Do you have a target reach i.e. regional, national, international?

3. Assess your coverage overtime

Now that you know what your messages are and the format(s) in which you would like them to appear, you can begin exploring your coverage results:

  • Establish a timeframe of how often you would like to compare your performance (i.e. monthly, quarterly, yearly).
  • When it is time to conduct your analysis, compile all earned coverage throughout your chosen period and ensure it is differentiated from owned and paid-for coverage.
  • Using your list of key messages, explore each media item for points of reference. In order to get your final penetration percentage, divide the number of key message articles by the total number of articles and times by 100.

Tip: Your coverage does not have to state the exact words in your list of key messages— it can be any earned content that fits into the category of one of your key messages.

For example, if one of your key message targets is to be a thought leader in your field, then a newspaper that cites a statistic or factual quote from your brand would count as message penetration.

4. Evaluate performance – which key messages landed best? Where?

Within your analysis, note down the parameters of when your key messages perform best/worst. For example, which key messages are most mentioned? Which media types/publications/journalists come up the most? What is the reach?

Using this data, compare the types of media that your key messages are performing best/worst in with the media that is most engaged with your target audience. For example, if the publications that are most often driving your key messages are highly engaged with your target audience, you know your brand awareness is performing well in the right places.

Reminder: You can use this type of evaluation (as well as things like sentiment and mention types) to explore the true quality and brand value of the coverage that is measured in your quantitative data.

5. Build out your KPIs

Once you have completed a comprehensive analysis, you should have a clear, qualitative and quantitative understanding of how well your key messages are being delivered to your target audience(s).

With this information, you can create a data-led set of KPIs on:

  • Your realistic and achievable penetration percentage
  • Which target publications, platforms, journalists etc. are delivering your messages
  • Who/what/when/where you would like to generate more awareness

As these analyses begin to accrue over time, you can use the former reports as benchmarks for the next. This way you can see how your key message penetration is progressing month on month, year on year.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

How has the FTX collapse impacted media attitudes towards cryptocurrency?

On 11 November 2022, international crypto-exchange platform FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. The company owes an estimated $3bn to more than one million creditors, a debt that international newspapers are blaming on a conscious breach of compliance laws.

Three months into investigations, global news coverage has remained consistent on the newest scandals and court updates. As a result, investors appear to be losing ‘trust’ in crypto-focused platforms and are seeking reliable, established alternatives — an opportunity that is being fervently explored by Goldman Sachs, Britannia Financial Group and alike.

Key Takeaways

  • International FTX coverage has peaked four times between 3 Nov – 4 Jan, the highest being Sam Bankman-Fried’s alleged breach of compliance laws
  • While general news sources chose to report on major scandals and the future of cryptocurrency, industry publications chose to focus on the pros/cons of investors losing trust in exchange platforms
  • Binance and Twitter were the most-mentioned brands in relation to FTX’s crash, triggered by several exclusive revelations made by its CEOs
  • ‘Cascading contagion’ has been a trending term since December and is likely to be a continuous point of media interest throughout 2023

Volume over time

*Data shown above analyses all English-language FTX-related articles produced by international, national news and business/finance publications (approx. 13,951) from 3 Nov, 2022 – 4 Jan, 2023.

As news about FTX’s collapse began to decline around Christmas, coverage peaked once again between 22 – 24 Dec when Sam Bankman-Fried (also known as SBF) was released on a $250m bail, ahead of his trial facing eight criminal charges and civil suits filed by the SEC and CFTC. Approximately 2,270 international news and business articles were published over this period, while 63% criticised SBF’s ‘luxurious’ experience while in prison and under house arrest.

While bail-related coverage was short-lived around the holiday season, rthe story peaked again on 3 Jan when 611 articles across 460 international news publications reported on SBF pleading ‘not guilty’ to criminal charges by US District Court claiming he ‘cheated investors’ on his platform, using deposits to ‘support his Alameda Research hedge fund, buy real estate and make political contributions’.

Top Topics

The initial announcement of FTX’s bankruptcy had a similar impact on international news and business/finance publications, both sharing between 20-25% of total coverage. However, regular updates thereafter were more frequent in industry news as SBF’s arrest consumed 10.04% more coverage than in mainstream media.

On the other hand, general news sources produced 13.27% more coverage throughout Nov. and Dec. on how FTX breached multiple compliance laws. The Independent referred to SBF as ‘disgraced’ in 18 of its 32 compliance-related FTX articles, while the BBC focused on fraud and money laundering allegations in 18 of its 22 FTX pieces. Overall, the Financial Times has been the UK’s leading publication on allegations against SBF — producing 145 articles from 11 Nov to 23 Dec. Every piece released by the FT during this time focused on compliancy issues, with 40% of headlines calling SBF a ‘fraud in shorts’ and 15% focusing on the multiple counts of conspiracy against his hedge fund, Alameda research.

When things grew quiet for a short period between Christmas and the new year, international online news sources used the opportunity to discuss what the future of cryptocurrency may look like, though many used the term ‘crisis’ and coverage was 68% negative in sentiment. This attitude was likely impacted by public statements made by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and JPMorgan, who both referred to the downfall as having a ‘cascading’ impact on the whole industry.

However, finance/business publications used this brief pause in FTX updates to place more of a focus on how the crash affected investor confidence. While 58% of this coverage was negative in sentiment, such as Fortune’s piece on the loss of Gen Z investors, 42% of this discussion explored who may benefit from shaky grounds. Alongside Goldman Sachs’ interest in using this downfall to become the reliable alternative, Bitcoinist also reported on the companies that will profit from such insecurity — with particular mention of hard wallets like Ledger.

Most-mentioned companies

*Data shown above analyses all English language FTX-related articles produced by international, national news and business/finance publications (approx. 13,951) from 3 Nov, 2022 – 4 Jan, 2023. Excludes FTX and Alameda Research.

As more details of the FTX crash began to surface, Binance was the most-mentioned brand to receive either headline or significant coverage across international, national news and business/finance publications. The brand’s decision to acquire FTX, alongside its later withdrawal following due diligence concerns, was the leading story that created this level of awareness.

What was once an attempt at allyship swiftly became a feud, as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao went viral following an online Twitter battle, also calling SBF ‘desperate’ and ‘one of the greatest fraudsters in history’.

Twitter

Similar to Binance, more than one story from Twitter resulted in three significant peaks in coverage between 12 Nov and 5 Dec. The first and most prominent was when Elon Musk revealed that SBF tried to back his acquisition of the social platform, which was covered by 1,148 news and finance publications across the UK and North America. Musk, who stated that his ‘b*******t meter was redlining’ when he first met Bankman-Fried, also said something ‘seemed wrong’ about the legitimacy of his funds and predicted the capital would never actually come through.

The second peak in coverage was when Musk publicly criticised the Wall Street Journal for publishing an article that outlined the downfall of SBF’s philanthropic ventures. The Twitter CEO described the coverage as giving a ‘foot massage’ to Sam Bankman-Fried, a comment that made 638 international headlines in the following week:


 

BlockFi, Genesis, Gemini and Digital Currency Group

As much as FTX’s downfall has in itself been a significant point of media interest, so have the brands that have been — sometimes to the point of destruction — harmed by the crash.

Among the financial platforms of those that have suffered major losses, BlockFi, Genesis, Gemini and Digital Currency Group (DCG) have been the most prevalent in both general news and business publications.

When BlockFi declared bankruptcy, over 200 national/regional British headlines placed emphasis on its relation to the FTX crash. However, when crypto broker Genesis and its parent company Digital Currency Group (DCG) suffered similar losses for the same reasons, British news sources opted to focus less on FTX’s involvement and more on how Genesis/DCG are in debt of $900m to Gemini — an exchange platform owned by the renowned Winklevoss twins.

Of the collective 3,425 articles on this story, the Financial Times’ report was syndicated by 326  international outlets like Reuters and MSN.

Quickbooks

Global accounting software QuickBooks had a sudden spike in awareness when John J. Ray III, the new court-appointed CEO of FTX, stated what an ‘unusual’ choice it was for a multi-billion dollar exchange platform. In an expression to the US District Court, Ray referred to QuickBooks as a ‘very nice tool, not for a multibillion dollar company’.

As a result of this, the accounting software was mentioned in 303 international news sources and 426 business/finance publications between 12 and 16 Dec. Over 90% of this coverage was a significant mention, 6% was a headline mention and the rest was a passing mention.

Goldman Sachs

As fatal losses continue across the crypto market, the same goes for investor confidence. Goldman Sachs has been one of the most prominent voices on the call for more regulation, while also exploring the opportunity to become a ‘trusted player’ themselves.

Mathew McDermott, Goldman’s head of digital assets, told Reuters that FTX’s implosion will mean ‘big banks see an opportunity to pick up business’, and that Goldman is ‘doing due diligence on a number of different crypto firms’. Approximately 682 articles mentioned Sachs’ vested interest.

HSBC has been persistently vocal about its distrust of the industry.

‘Cascading contagion’ throughout 2023

With 115 years in prison now on the line, anticipation for SBF’s trial in October is likely to create consistent waves in international FTX coverage throughout the year. Between 11 Nov and 4 Dec, the term ‘cascading contagion’ was used 438 times across 386 national and international news sources, while also being cited by several public figures in the industry. Furthermore, given the deep dive into how Gemini, Genesis and alike have been impacted, the catastrophic effect on other crypto platforms will also continue to be an ongoing point of discussion throughout 2023.

General news sources across the UK have demonstrated a preference for discussion around major scandals and the future of cryptocurrency, meaning national newspapers may not produce significant FTX coverage again until the Autumn trials. However, as the Bank of England ‘throws its weight’ behind Sunak’s plans to become a ‘cryptocurrency superpower’, updates in regulation could potentially create some media interest.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

World Cup 2022 – is the PR value paying off for FIFA sponsors?

Since the start of the World Cup on 20 November, FIFA’s seven official partners have faced extensive backlash over decisions to support the event from politicians, public figures and the press. This critique follows a multitude of human rights concerns and bribery allegations against FIFA and Qatar, some of which have been referred to as ‘serious abuse’ in 482 international headlines over the course of the tournament.

Strong criticism of FIFA’s affiliation with Qatar has been widely distributed in the press since 2014. Approximately 1,876 international English-language publications have discussed ‘corruption’ since 10 November alone, with 11% citing that awarding Qatar the World Cup was a ‘bad choice’ – words used by Sepp Blatter, former FIFA president who resigned in 2015 amid the bribery scandal.

Since June, over 200 international charities and organisations have released statements on unresolved and ongoing crises caused by the event. In particular, the most discussed has been the ‘death, injury and rampant wage theft’ against migrant workers, which has been condemned by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, FairSquare and Equidem. Nick McGeehan, founding director of FairSquare, publicly accused FIFA of ‘benefiting from exploitation’ and ‘parroting Qatari authorities’, while Tirana Hassan, Human Rights Watch’s Acting executive director, called the organisation a ‘global embarrassment’.

Key Takeaways

  • Adidas, Hyundai/Kia and Visa have produced the most significant international volumes of positive, diverse and controlled coverage
  • Visa has demonstrated strong sentiment control despite coverage peaking later than other sponsors
  • Wanda Group’s lack of ESG comms contributed greatly to negative coverage
  • The Independent and The Telegraph were top publications for six out of the seven FIFA Partners, while CE Noticias Financieras led the print media conversation in Latin American regions

The labour disaster is just one of the negative news stories that have been pinned against Qatari World Cup. Partners have had almost a decade of negative news commentary in relation to their affiliation with FIFA, many of which used this time to prepare messaging on equality, union and perseverance.

Share of Voice
Between 10 Nov – 10 Dec, the Vuelio Insights team found 3,268 international news publications that released FIFA-related coverage mentioning one of the seven partner brands. Among this coverage, adidas achieved the strongest share of voice overall, of which 36% was proactive. Hyundai/Kia was close behind in 22.36% of all international coverage, of which 67% was proactive.

While its coverage peaked much later into the World Cup than for other brands, Visa has demonstrated extensive control over its public commentary throughout the event. The financial corporation’s earned content has been 82% proactive, either stemming from press releases and social media posts.

On average, adidas, Hyundai/Kia and Visa were each mentioned in 56% of international headlines. On the other hand, Coca-Cola, Qatar Airways, QatarEnergy and Wanda Group received a significantly lower quality of coverage, with an average of just 23% of international headlines mentioning one of the brands. Approximately 52% of their coverage was considered a substantial mention and 25% was a passive mention.

Both Coca-Cola and Qatar Airways offered extensive messaging on being ‘universal’ and ‘uniting’ fans in the face of controversy, but both campaigns were heavily diluted by several wider news stories evolving with adidas and Hyundai/Kia between 18 Nov and 1 Dec.

Top stories, sentiment and coverage overtime

adidas
While adidas received the highest international share of voice, overall sentiment was relatively balanced with 26.2% positive, 33.3% neutral and 39.7% negative. The sports corporation’s most widely distributed story was on how its bespoke technology ‘proved’ that Ronaldo did not score the opener against Uruguay, which was published 682 times across 598 international news sources. This story had a majority positive sentiment and peaked from 29 Nov – 1 Dec, of which 72% quoted various excerpts from the original adidas statement on how its tech was able to ‘definitively show no contact on the ball’.

Several global news stories have emerged around adidas’s ‘hi-tech’ footballs throughout the World Cup, making it the leading news topic among all FIFA Partners. The goal Ronaldo claimed proved to be a beneficial source of positive coverage among otherwise negative headlines that peaked in the same week.

Jordan Pickford was quoted 182 times as being ‘worried’ by the ‘menace’ and ‘rascal’ balls ahead of the England v France game, describing them as ‘a bit different’ to Nike balls used in the Premier League. Similarly, Kieran Trippier was quoted 203 times when he referred to the balls as ‘a bit lighter’ and like they would ‘fly away’. This coverage had a collective 57% negative sentiment rate but received less attention than the Ronaldo goal, leaving adidas less impacted overall.

Hyundai/Kia

While Hyundai/Kia had a slightly lower volume of coverage, it maintained a 14% higher positive sentiment rate overall. The most popular headline was in relation to the FIFA Museum presented by the motor company, which was covered 223 times by international news, sport and automotive publications. Within the body of the article, 46% mentioned how this opening is as part of Hyundai/Kia’s ‘Goal of the Century’ platform, which received a subsequently high volume of positive coverage for its dedication to sustainability and social impact.

This extended coverage was a strong source of recovery for Hyundai/Kia following a brief  negative peak in coverage from 18-20 November, when it was announced that FIFA stalled on a sponsorship renewal offer from Hyundai/Kia worth more than $600m (€580m) in 2019.

Visa

With an overwhelmingly positive coverage rate in comparison to other sponsors, Visa experienced two peaks in coverage between 10 Nov and 10 Dec. The first, which was covered between 16 and 20 Nov, was a direct press release on the brand’s ‘innovative payment experiences’ at the World Cup. This topic was discussed 268 times over four days across 203 international economy and news sources.

However, Visa’s biggest peak in coverage was from 8 to 12 Dec, when the brand released a report that shared spending data across all venues throughout the tournament. Furthermore, the prediction that the entire event will reach ‘record spending’ was quoted in 482 of the total 563 international finance and news headlines.

The only significant source of negative coverage associated with Visa throughout the period measured was around its decision to bring NFTs to the World Cup. While the move excited some, approximately 186 outlets reported on how the value of the tokens ‘stumbled’ as ‘upsets’ around the game evolved.

Coca-Cola

As the tournament has evolved, Coca-Cola has fallen short of significant news stories in comparison to other sponsors. The brand’s top story was on the British Conservative dispute against the drinks manufacturer’s decision to sponsor FIFA following a series of homophobic comments.

This story was covered 398 times between 19 and 21 Nov and was a large causational factor behind the brand’s strong rate of negative coverage. On the other hand, the brand’s World Cup campaign, ‘Believing is Magic’, received a 43% positive sentiment score across 435 international news sources between 31 Aug and 30 Oct. However, op-eds and PR news sources were generally sceptical, accusing it of undermining the severity of migrant worker abuse.

Qatar Airways

In many ways, Qatar Airways has mirrored the performance of Coca-Cola. Its most positive coverage in relation to the World Cup was published prior to the event, with the most significant being its opening ceremony which was covered by 182 international news and travel publications. Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, was quoted in 59% of this coverage stating that the ‘dream of bringing the world together has truly come alive’.

However, the most significant source of coverage since 10 November has been allegations that FOX Sports produced biased coverage to support a sponsorship agreement made with Qatar Airways. Between 18 and 22 November, FOX News ‘denied’ any potential production influence, while Qatar Airways ‘refused’ to comment.

Wanda Group

As for Wanda Group, earned coverage in English Speaking publications has been low and passive in comparison to other Partners. Similarly, any active contributions to the event – such as targeted campaigns, messaging or public statements — have not been picked up by the media throughout the event. Additionally, over 90% of high-reaching coverage came from a Chinese news or PR publication with international readership.

Wanda Group’s lack of comms meant there was little public content to change the narrative around earned media, which was certainly needed given that the overall sentiment score was 17.7% positive, 47% neutral and 44% negative. The top headline, first published by Campaign Asia, was titled ‘What are Chinese sponsors hoping to get out of the World Cup?’ which explored the expenditure and potential strategy of Wanda Group among other brands.

While the piece was neutral overall, the author concluded the ‘potential backfires’ in attempt to reach a global audience, stating it is ‘unlikely’ anyone would ‘view sponsors favourably amid human rights controversies and concerns that have dogged Qatar’.

QatarEnergy

Although overall volume has by far been the lowest, 39% of QatarEnergy’s international coverage was created by Qatari publications and an additional 46.5% across the UK (31%) and US (15.5%). Alongside passive mentions in reports exploring FIFA expenses, the most significant source of coverage for QatarEnergy has been related to ‘catastrophic’ climate concerns. Between 18 Nov – 10 Dec, 398 international news sources (83% of the brand’s total coverage) discussed the counterintuitive nature of FIFA partnering with the supplier in the face of its ‘#SaveThePlanet’ campaign.

Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister and chief executive of QatarEnergy, was quoted within the body of this coverage in committing to provide ‘reliable and credible LNG supply solutions to customers across the globe’, with ‘plenty of financial support’ from major banks.

Top publications

Between 10 Nov and 10 Dec, approximately 36% of adidas’s coverage came from its top five publications. Although the leading source was USA Today, 66% of this coverage were passing mentions in relation to generalised World Cup expenditure articles. In articles where the brand was the focus, USA Today most often discussed adidas’ charitable efforts, such as donating to Footballs for Schools or using recycled materials in football kits.

CE Noticias Financieras mentioned adidas in 311 FIFA-related articles throughout the World Cup period, with a much stronger focus on the brand overall. As the only print media source to have made it in the top publications chart, CE Noticias Financieras has also been the second-most popular news source for adidas overall. The publication’s most covered topic was Adidas’ intervention intthe Ronaldo-claimed goal and a detailed ‘unveiling’ of ‘Al Hilm’, the official ball provided by Adidas for the semi-final and final.

The Latin American print publication was also the leading source of coverage for QatarEnergy, though the total volume was much lower (36 articles between 16 Nov – 3 Dec) and focused on its possible supply expansion across Europe.

British and US news sources leading the conversation

Throughout the tournament, The Independent and The Telegraph have been leading news sources for six out of the seven Partners – while MailOnline also made it into the top publications for three of the seven. Closely behind was NBC Sports and Washington Post, which were considered major sources of coverage for two out of the seven sponsors.

Hyundai/Kia has by far achieved the most geographical diversity among its top publications, with sources based in the UK, US, Korea and Qatar. Qatar Airways’ strongest coverage has been exclusive to the UK, Qatar and its sponsored coverage source in the US (FOX Sports).

When tactical loss is necessary

Among the seven sponsors, the top three highest-performing overall (significant volumes of positive, diverse and controlled coverage) were adidas, Hyundai/Kia and Visa. The key difference between these brands and the others was well-timed and extensive messaging on social solidarity and humanitarianism. While these attitudes were often criticised as ‘tone-deaf’ by op-eds and PR publications, the overarching positive message outweighed negative sentiment around Qatari controversies by international news sources.

While Coca-Cola did exactly that in its ‘Believing is magic’ campaign, media interest peaked when it launched two months before the event. If collateral had been gradually dispersed closer to the event, the brand would have similarly diluted negative peaks against sponsors and Qatar controversy when the event officially began.

Wanda Group, who opted to not release any targeted messaging this year, has been a strong example of how tactical loss is better than silence. Unlike its ‘women first’ campaign in the 2018 Women’s World Cup, the brand has not offered any targeted messaging towards human rights at a time when it is most desired from target audiences. As a result, the most influential and international coverage has been negative and theoretical commentary on Wanda Group’s ethics and strategy — without any level of public comms from the brand itself to steer the conversation in a more positive direction.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Which products are most likely to be bought second-hand this Christmas?

In effort to support Brits with the cost-of-living crisis, national coverage on how to budget for Christmas has increased by 486% since last year. Alongside this, discussion around ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%, with the resale of both luxury and high street goods as the leading topic of interest in this area.

During October, 186 national new sources reported that 60% of Brits plan to spend less this year. Furthermore, a widely distributed eBay report shows that 62% of luxury shoppers actively selling on second-hand sites have resold a luxury accessory for a profit. This rapid growth in resale is undoubtedly an international trend, with over 200 international newspapers across the UK and North America referring to it as ‘investment’, which some consumers ‘consider a safer store of value than stocks’.

Since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, the social acceptance of second-hand items has been widely discussed across general and retail-industry news. Between 27 and 30 October, the headline ‘Brits are no longer embarrassed to charity shop’ was syndicated across 89 national and regional news sources, while Oxfam were quoted 72 times in saying that ‘second-hand books are at the top of people’s wish-list’.

Key Takeaways 

  • Coverage on second-hand high-street/designer resale ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%
  • Research suggests Brits are no longer ‘embarrassed’ to purchase or gift second-hand items
  • Electric and cosmetic goods are some of the most likely to be refurbished or resold
  • Low-cost high street and supermarket items are producing higher resale profit than luxury items
  • National outlets are most interested in how brands are entering the resale market, whereas local/regional outlets are engaged in specific case studies of consumers budgeting and third-party resellers

Why are consumers rushing to resell low-cost items?

While the resale of luxury goods is gaining record-high interest, it is not the only sector affected by the dovetailed growth of inflation and independent resellers. Second-hand high street products are receiving a   significantly higher level of coverage, with national publications particularly interested in specific examples of high profit margins on low-cost items.

For example, Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot’ toy caused the second-biggest upsurge in low-cost resale coverage throughout November, when 222 national and regional articles reported consumers successfully reselling it on eBay for up to £1,000. Similarly, 168 regional and local news sources wrote of how Primark’s Stranger Things range has returned to stores after reselling for up to £150.

Share of Voice: Top 5 resale brands

*Data analysis of all second-hand UK brand coverage with mention of the cost-of-living crisis or luxury/high street resale between 17 Oct – 21 Nov.

Over the last month, eBay has continued to lead the conversation around both luxury and high street resale. While 38% of coverage is a passing mention, 52% was positively attributed to the brand’s new pre-owned store in New York – where consumers can use ‘luxury as currency’. This term was featured in 92% of the total 686 UK headlines, which later evolved into a phrase used by international publications for the wider movement towards luxury resale.

Meanwhile, both Vinted and Depop’s coverage was between 40% and 50% passing mentions, while 32% of all resale brand coverage mentioned them both within the body of the article. Some of the most common examples were case studies in general news publications and research articles in PR and comms outlets. The overarching theme has been how both brands offer quality and affordable Christmas gifts in the cost-of-living crisis, which leveraged an 88% positive sentiment rate on this coverage.

Which brands are most mentioned within resale coverage?

*Data analysing mentions of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage between 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

The risk behind refurbs

Since 17 Oct, the Vuelio Insights team has identified 1,862 articles discussing resale products across UK news and industry publications. Within 8% of this coverage, consumer charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) were quoted in a widely repurposed article titled ‘Cost of living pushes shoppers towards second-hand electrical goods, says charity’.

Furthermore, Dyson was most often mentioned as the product worth buying second-hand. For example, ‘Refurbished Dyson airwraps on sale at eBay in time for Christmas gifting’ was published by The Independent on 21 November and has been syndicated 102 times since. Dyson is the certified seller of these refurbished products, meaning this coverage is not as much of a loss to the brand as if it were a third-party seller. However, because of this peak in refurb interest, local and regional outlets have started picking up on ‘horror’ stories on the most sought-after brands. Almost 200 articles with similar headlines to ‘Ebay won’t refund my £475 faulty  Dyson airwrap’ and  ‘Amazon Prime Day £35 hair styler shoppers say is ‘much better’ than Dyson Airwrap’ have ultimately outweighed Dyson’s positive coverage as a certified eBay seller.

The CEO of second-hand tech seller Back Market has been heavily quoted in coverage around electric resale, stating that its ethos is to close the ‘trust gap’ and ‘make refurbs cool’.

Third-party partnerships

As for the fashion brands mentioned within resale coverage, 86% of the discussion is tied to global retailers partnering with third-party resellers as a means to offer second-hand luxury items. While many designers refuse direct distribution of their products, over 448 publications across general news, fashion and beauty have reported on the growing availability.

For example, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Prada and Gucci were mentioned in 289 headlines between 16 Oct – 30 Oct when Amazon announced it would be listing the brands’ bags as part of its Luxury Store launch, through second-hand distributor What Goes Around Comes Around.

Amazon was not alone in its well-timed partnership, in among this courage Primark was also praised for a similar launch. Between 18 Nov and 23 Nov, 82 news and fashion publications shared 106 articles about the high street store’s ‘WornWell’ collaboration with The Vintage Wholesale Company. As a result, brands often spotted there such as Burberry, YSL, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Converse, Levi’s and Dr. Martens have all received a significant upsurge in passing mentions.

Competitor strategies

In a bid to compete with the likes of eBay, many high street brands have attempted to regain control by promoting or launching their own resale and refurb lines. For example, Zara received a significant peak in coverage from 18-28 Oct following the announcement of its repair and resale shop ‘Pre-owned’. Similarly, Coach was mentioned in 86 regional outlets 26-28 Oct, following the opening of its London pop-up ‘Tomorrow’s Vintage’.

On the other hand, some brands are opting to take the consumer-led route. For example, local and regional outlets have used the phrase ‘Bargain Box’ in 102 headlines since 20 October, referring to return palettes that can be bought from John Lewis, Argos and Very. M&S is leading coverage around fashion rental, a proactive peak in coverage at the beginning of November following a successful press release on ‘putting value and versatility at the heart’ of its rental collection. This quote was used in 56% of the total 202 national and regional news articles until 5 Nov.

What are the most common types of coverage?

*Data analysis of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage (1,862 articles) 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

Since 17 Oct, the highest-reaching resale coverage has been produced by general news, celebrity/gossip magazines, tech and business publications. Aside from the wider industry discussion of ‘luxury as currency’ and high street resale strategies, product reviews were one of the most prominent article types and are up 62% from 2021. These articles are comparative in nature by putting a luxury product against a budget alternative, i.e. ‘Aldi shoppers rave over Le Creuset dupe’. Alongside Dyson, brands like The North Face, Adidas and the White Company were found within a collective 369 articles similar to this.

Case studies have also increased by 8% since last Christmas. The cosmetics industry has gained the most awareness within this coverage, primarily due to headlines like ‘Makeup Artist saves hundreds buying second-hand makeup on eBay’ which was shared 86 times by local and regional news outlets. This increase produced an upsurge in resale risk for brands like Dior and Charlotte Tilbury.

Unaffected markets

Given the level of investment from second-hand brands and retail competitors, the rise of luxury and high street resale is not predicted to cool-off any time soon. However, this is not a call to action for all brands.

Unlike the pandemic, the cost-of-living is not a crisis that affects everyone equally. Over the last month, 16% of coverage approached the resale discussion from a wealth perspective. For example, an article by The Independent titled ‘Luxury goods boom in Britain as the young, rich and mortgage-free buck the recession’ explored how high-end watches are now seen as an ‘investment’, when they are purchased new by consumers for the purpose of profiteering.

James Ison, the self-styled Deal Maker For The 0.1%, was quoted 89 times within this coverage when he stated that that those who can afford very high-end luxury products appear to be ‘having a Yolo moment’ following the pandemic, often ‘spending five figures in an afternoon’. This consumer psyche also appears to take place outside of retail, such as the emergence of ‘The Lipstick Effect’ within the dining industry.

Vuelio’s Top 3 Recommendations

  1. Measure the crisis – Take some time to measure the impact of inflation in your target market(s). Following the pandemic, many brands have automatically applied another blanket crisis comms strategy to their entire audience, even though the degree of financial struggle varies greatly. If you are a very high-end luxury brand, the likelihood of consumers investing and profiting on your products is a greater risk than a visible loss in revenue.
  1. If you cannot beat them, join themResearch how prominent your brand is within resale media coverage and on second-hand sites. If you find your brand is at risk, the success of Zara, Coach and M&S’s rival lines suggest it would be better to invest in the trend than attempt to eliminate it.

  2. Prioritise sustainibility comms While cost-of-living is the leading reason for the rise in second-hand purchases, resale will likely hold value long after the economy stabilises. Over the past year, sustainability has transformed from an ethical preference to a consumer demand. It is the most-used word in relation to ‘The Rise of ESG’ and, as over half of Brits worry about the impact of Christmas on the climate, it will continue to hold an important place in the lifecycle resale trends.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Vuelio is proud to be supporting AMEC’s Measurement Month – a month-long focus on best practice and new emerging trends in the measurement and evaluation of communication. Check out all the Measurement Month events here.

5 ways to use Insights in your PR budget

When you are planning your PR budget, insights can be a valuable tool to help you make informed financial decisions. It is important to think about budget across all areas of public relations and insights is a great way of highlighting where the need for more resources lie.

Though there are multiple methods of planning budget needs, here are four ways to use insights to project your PR budget, take control of your planning and exhibit your achievements.

1. Proactive vs. organic coverage

Looking at volumes of proactive coverage is crucial to understand the impact the PR team is making. Press releases and interviews can be great for raising brand awareness and generating earned coverage.

However, if these methods are not producing the results you require, then you may benefit from investing in additional support to understand where you can make more effective changes.

2. Campaign reporting

Rather than a specific metric to showcase the need for more investment, an evaluative report on the success of a PR campaign can be a helpful tool to understand how your resources are being utilised.

If your biggest campaign of the year still resulted in low article volumes, neutral sentiment or failed to hit target publications, then perhaps you could benefit from additional industry expertise to better approach future opportunities. Showing the success of a smaller campaign can also help you advocate for further budget to make more impact next time around.

3. Key message penetration

Key message penetration is an insightful metric used to determine if your organisation is being portrayed in the way you intend it to be. While some brands aim to be the most environmentally friendly or have the best quality products and services – these messages can also focus on broad company values, or hone in on a niche theme that you want visible in your coverage.

Even if you are achieving high volumes of coverage, your key messages may not be landing despite concerted effort. Using insights to demonstrate this, you may be able to appeal for more resources to increase your staffing. Or, more generally to develop further inroads with preferred media through conferences and other outreach.

4. Competitor monitoring

In isolation, all of the above metrics enable you to understand weaknesses in your own PR strategy. However, these become even more powerful when you monitor against competitors as well, allowing you to understand your brand’s share of voice. Not only does this help you to map the wider media landscape, but you can compare your results to your competitors and determine where there may be missed opportunities for your organisation.

If your peers are achieving coverage in national media, achieving higher levels of positive sentiment and their press releases are regularly featured, then this could present itself as an opportunity to afford more resources to your communications team to shore up, and more effectively execute, your media strategy.

5. Benchmarking

Continuous measurement, whether this is month-on-month or year-on-year, is crucial for benchmarking your results and having something to compare to. This allows you to track the progress of campaigns and media presence, while highlighting the valuable work of your PR team. Understanding progress over time can present opportunities to show how much you have accomplished, and project how much more you could do with additional budget.

For example, if you expanded your communications team one year, and saw a great improvement in share of voice, proactive coverage and positivity, this showcases a return on investment and develops your reliability in the C-Suite when pitching for budget.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Vuelio is proud to be supporting AMEC’s Measurement Month – a month-long focus on best practice and new emerging trends in the measurement and evaluation of communication. Check out all the Measurement Month events here.

Which energy suppliers are achieving a positive brand reputation?

Back in July, Ofgem began releasing a variety of statements to the press demanding that energy companies do more to help struggling customers. As a result, independent and national suppliers began customising their support to be more bespoke and stand out from competitors.

However, the media has responded to some offerings better than others. While established brands are receiving expectedly high volumes of passing mentions, independent suppliers are achieving a higher rate of both positive and in-depth coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Energy suppliers have released an array of bespoke support between 1 Jul and 30 Oct, following a series of Ofgem ‘threats’ in national and regional press
  • While British Gas achieved the highest sentiment score throughout this time, Octopus had the strongest positive:negative ratio tied to a wider variety of stories
  • ScottishPower, though considered one of the ‘big five’ suppliers, executed a high-quality example of how low and controlled coverage can benefit companies in a state of extended crisis comms
  • EDF’s attempts to offer more support was met with strong criticism from regional and local media sources
  • In defiance of concerns around excess profit and customer ‘bribes’, terms like ‘lifeline’ and ‘rescue’ have been used in national headlines towards five out of the eight suppliers measured

Over the past four months, the debate over whether suppliers are profiting from inflation has been one of many criticisms targeted at the industry. Since 1 July, 12% of 4,108 national and regional news articles covered the discourse over the ethics of Centrica, E.ON and Octopus ‘ringfencing’ consumer credit balances. In further criticism, both OVO and Octopus had a spike in negative coverage between 12 – 20 August when the Daily Mail reported staff were ‘cracking out the booze’ and having ‘wine parties’ during work hours.

Between 19 and 25 Sept, ‘the big five’ (British Gas, E.ON, EDF, ScottishPower and OVO Energy) were called out for turning away customers and encouraging them to stay with their current supplier due to a ‘volatile market’. Ofgem released a statement to the press in response to this, stating that suppliers are obliged to accept new customers as a condition of their licence.

Share of Voice and Sentiment (1 Jul – 30 Oct)

*Data explores 4,108 articles discussing energy suppliers and cost of living support across UK national, regional, and local general news sources.

A select few independent and national brands have been able to dilute negative coverage with a series of well-received customer support campaigns.

Between 25 and 26 August, British Gas received an upsurge in positive proactive coverage following its decision to donate 10% of profits to struggling customers — this headline was distributed approximately 504 times over the two-day period. The Centrica-owned company was a passing mention in 60% of negative coverage throughout this time, due to multiple ‘threats’ from Ofgem towards unethical behaviours from the ‘big five’ suppliers. Following the 10% profit donation, Ofgem counteracted its prior statements by referring to the company as ‘the only energy suppliers that provides enough support to customers struggling financially’, though this statement was only shared 22 times by local and regional news sources. This was also the case for SSE, which was mentioned but not the main focus of articles covering Ofgem’s accusations.

Between 25 Aug and 5 Sept, Shell received the highest rate of negative coverage tied to one story when Ofgem revealed it was ‘overcharging pre-payment customers’ and would be fined £500,000. An anonymous spokesperson for Shell Energy was quoted in 84% of this coverage and referred to the incident as an ‘error’ in updating prepayment meter rates.

Octopus Energy maintains strongest brand reputation

Overall, Octopus has performed strongest overall due to its ratio of positive:negative coverage. While its highest reaching article was in relation to ringfencing accusations, the independent supplier’s decision to buy out Bulb energy achieved an 86% higher distribution rate and was positively received across print, broadcast and online media. Similarly, the brand was referred to as a ‘lifeline’ following the launch of its bespoke ‘Energy Helpers’ service, which was shared in 274 articles across 161 national and regional news sources.

Why less is more

While Octopus was only the fourth highest-reaching energy supplier, it came second in terms of positive coverage rates and lowest overall in negative coverage. With the widest selection of bespoke customer support campaigns, its positive sentiment score was both regular and consistently distributed throughout the summer period. Similarly, ScottishPower received an almost equal rate of positive, neutral and negative coverage throughout the four months, with 78% of negative coverage generated by passing mentions.

These are clear examples of how high volumes are not always a measurement of strong performance. Low and controlled volumes, driven by proactive press releases focusing on customer support, has proven to be one of the most effective strategies for industries in a state of ongoing crisis management. Throughout the extended flight cancellations last April, Virgin Atlantic’s communications team successfully implemented this method with their ‘See the World Differently’ D&I campaign.

Top press releases (1 Jul – 30 Oct)

*Data explores 4,108 articles discussing energy suppliers and cost of living support across UK national, regional, and local general news sources.

The most covered press releases since 1 July were shared and distributed by the media between 22 Aug and 27 Oct. British Gas’s donation received the highest reach and volume combined, while Octopus received the second highest volume rate in one day. Both fell short in comparison to OVO, which achieved two of the top five press releases. The brand maintained a ten-day period of coverage between 28 Sep and 7 Oct due to a combination of its ‘power move’ programme and guide to the Government energy bill support scheme. However, the latter headline was over 70% neutral due to the fact that it was not a support scheme offered exclusively by the company.

Why was EDF ‘slammed’?

Overall, such a variety of support from energy suppliers has received a relatively positive response by national media sources. Excluding specific customer case studies distributed by local and regional newspapers, terms like ‘rescue’ and ‘saves customers’ have been used in headlines for five out of the eight suppliers measured.

However, EDF’s attempts to show the same level of generosity was met with a higher degree of criticism. Between 22 Aug and 10 Sept, the company was ‘slammed’ for offering £100 to customers if they switch to pre-payment meters. The announcement was referred to as a ‘bill bribe’ in 137 national and regional headlines, describing one of the policies in the press release as a ‘dupe’ to move customers to a ‘costlier’ system.

Sara Williams, founder of Debt Camel was quoted in over half of this coverage when she stated that £100 ‘sounds tempting’, but switching to a prepayment meter is a ‘dangerous move for many people’. Throughout this period, the pre-payment energy system as a whole was described as ‘horrific’. The Sun actively called on the Government for a temporary ban of this option, calling it a ‘scandal’ for ‘hard-up families’.

 Which supports were most positively covered by the press? (1 Jul – 30 Oct)

*Data explores 4,108 articles discussing energy suppliers and cost of living support across UK national, regional, and local general news sources.

Among the bespoke support set out by suppliers, the most covered this year has been Octopus’ decision to give away free electric blankets. The company announced this scheme back in January and started again on 10 Oct, but closed the scheme for the year just three weeks later after receiving over 100,000 applications. While national outlets quoted that customers could ‘save £300’, regional news sources described the brand as ‘going one step further’.

Much alike to ScottishPower and OVO,  Utilita has maintained a low but manageable coverage rate throughout the industry’s crisis period. While lower in volume than competitors, the ‘Shop Smart, Cook Savvy’ partnership with Iceland and The Food Warehouse has been its highest-reaching positive story of the year and the energy industry’s second most mentioned support campaign since 1 Jul. Such an extended period of coverage was due to the gradual release of various pledges over time, such as money-saving workshops and high-quality research into household savings.

Why customer support pays off in a cost-of-living crisis

While British Gas received the highest sentiment score overall, Octopus has skilfully demonstrated the sentiment control that can be leveraged through offering a variety of gradual support. The singular success of Utilita’s Iceland partnership is another strong example of how bespoke effort pays off, though its lack of regular press releases in comparison to competitors may be a leading cause for low volumes overall.

Long-term investment is not a wise or feasible option for some sectors. However, if you have the goal and means to enhance your media reputation then it may be worth diverting some of next year’s budget towards the greater good.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Vuelio is proud to be supporting AMEC’s Measurement Month – a month-long focus on best practice and new emerging trends in the measurement and evaluation of communication. Check out all the Measurement Month events here.

How are British newspapers perceiving the ‘new’ Twitter?

Following an extensive period of negotiation, Elon Musk confirmed his $44bn acquisition of Twitter last Friday. As Musk has a pre-existing reputation of creating online controversy, both politicians and public figures have expressed their concerns towards the future of the website.

Between 28 Oct and 1 Nov, 448 UK-wide news sources reported on Musk’s Twitter takeover and the updates that followed. One of many was his decision to fire the company’s board of executives, which consumed 10.7% of national articles throughout this time. While 88% of this coverage was negative in sentiment, almost half used the term ‘golden parachutes’ in reference to the collective $122m dismissal pay-out.

Overall sentiment across national news sources has been largely critical. Approximately 93% of neutral coverage was a general acquisition announcement, while articles with a specific focus were 4% positive but predominantly negative. Over 95% of positive coverage were op-eds – the highest reaching piece was from the FT and praised Musk for his hypothesis that the new Twitter will be a ‘digital town square’ for online disagreements.

The cost of the takeover was mentioned in 23.5% of national coverage, of which 21% was a headline mention. Articles by The Independent, which had the terms ‘RIP Twitter’ and ‘Musk may be one of the worst people on earth’ in their headlines, were syndicated a collective 43 times by local and regional news outlets since Friday.

Free speech and misinformation

Almost half of all national coverage either focused on or mentioned increased risks towards user safety. Among the most common concerns were misinformation (7.9%), the recovery of banned accounts (13.8%) and plans for a ‘content moderation council’ (6.25%). Such worries were exacerbated when Musk, alongside Donald Trump on Truth Social, was found to be tweeting conspiracy theories on the attack of American Businessman and husband of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi —this discovery featured in 6.2% of all UK coverage between 30 Oct and 31 Oct.

Immediate violence from revived accounts

Among the previously banned accounts, right-wing figures were most mentioned in the media. Trump was quoted 34 times for saying that the service is ‘now in sane hands’, while extremist group Britain First made headlines for posting a series of anti-immigrant videos in the first 24 hours of its account revival.

American Basketball player LeBron James was also quoted in 5.5% of all coverage, calling on Elon Musk to take action as the use of a racist term on the platform surged by 500% since Friday.

Online Harms Bill

From anti-immigrant footage to an upsurge in racist language, national news sources have published extensive evidence of online harms caused by Musk’s content regulation changes. Musk stated that the content moderation line should ‘only be drawn at illegal posts’ and ‘everything else should be allowed as part of open debate’. With the position of the Online Safety bill still pending, 2.5% of all national publications have asked how the platform could coexist with such regulations.

While politicians in the UK have been relatively quiet on the takeover so far, other public figures and world leaders have expressed their immediate stance on the news. Responding to Musk’s ‘the bird is freed’ tweet, Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the internal market of the EU said: ‘In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules’:

Similarly, 22 headlines mentioned a quote by NZ prime minister Jacinda Arden, who urged Musk to ‘stick to transparency’ amid fears that the platform could nurture extremism.

Blue tick charges

Consuming 8.25% of all national coverage, Musk’s plans to charge verified accounts $20 a month peaked on 31 Oct with celebrities around the world weighing in on their disapproval. Author Stephen King was one of many quoted in 6% of national headlines on the same day, when he responded ‘F**** that, they should pay me’.

As the story developed over the weekend, business experts began speaking to the press on how this move could ultimately devalue the platform. By 1 Nov, 56 national headlines reported that Musk may ‘slash the fee’ to $8 or remove it altogether.

The future of Twitter

With so many public figures announcing their disapproval and departure of Musk’s takeover, tech journalists and shareholders are beginning to speculate the likelihood of the platform’s survival. Alongside a small selection of national news outlets, 106 British tabloids have actively outlined how users can delete their Twitter account and why they ‘might want to’. Approximately 85% of coverage discussing the future of the platform was negative, while 14.5% remained neutral and speculated if there would be a future at all.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Will the food delivery sector survive the cost-of-living crisis?

Between the pandemic and increase in energy prices, scarcity is a familiar feeling for the UK’s independent pubs and restaurants. As a result of such consumer limitations, food delivery has been at a record-high across the country. The sector grew by £11.4bn in 2020 and was quoted as a ‘winner’ of the lockdown period by 162 national hospitality publications.

While the past few years have been fruitful for brands like Deliveroo and Ocado, a shift in consumer attitudes — created by the cost-of-living crisis — has sent sales storming in the other direction at a sudden and alarming rate; while providing much-needed restoration for the indoor dining sector.

Key takeaways

  • National media outlets have identified food deliveries (including takeout, supermarkets and veg boxes) as a major cost-of-living victim sector
  • Deliveroo’s Buy Now Pay Later [BNPL] partnership with Klarna has been the top cost-of-living delivery sector story since August and received a 68% negative sentiment score, largely driven by Martin Lewis’ highly syndicated criticism
  • Revenue losses, rider strikes and senior resignations were some of the highest sources of negative coverage affecting all major takeout brands
  • Deliveroo and Uber Eats briefly diluted negative coverage with philanthropic press releases
  • Both national news and business publications continue to discusa Just Eat’s pathway to industry leadership

Towards the end of lockdown in 2021, more than 25% of consumers increased their delivery usage and nearly 75% planned to continue after restrictions were lifted. Fast-forward to April of this year and the complete opposite appears to be true — takeout has been deemed one of three major ‘victim sectors’ and 61% of consumers plan to cut their usage by December.

Alongside a significant drop in sales, the brand reputation of some of the UK’s leading delivery services have also taken a hit. As the media reported on rider strikes across the country, regional news sources published specific case studies of workers saying they ‘won’t survive’ and are ‘begging’ for tips.

UK delivery sector: Share of Voice (1 Aug – 19 Oct)

*Volume and sentiment data measures all regional/national  cost-of-living-related coverage on UK delivery brands 1 August – 19 October.

Approximately 2,686 articles across general news sources, food and business-related publications explored the biggest areas of impact due to ‘down-trading’ across the UK’s food delivery sector. Of this volume, 42% explored major structural changes happening within specific brands.

Throughout this period, Deliveroo consistently held the strongest share of voice due to several high-reaching and controversial partnerships shared across print, online and broadcast media. An upsurge in rider strikes and its decision to leave the Netherlands after failing to compete with Just Eat followed closely behind. The strikes were also a prominent source of negative coverage for Just Eat and Uber Eats between 10 August and 9 October, but only Uber was mentioned in the headlines.

Almost all of Just Eat’s coverage was negative due to the aforementioned protests, as well as significant losses – the most prominent being a 7% loss in orders throughout H1 2022 compared to the previous year. However, discussion around their ‘clear path to profitability’ was covered in 286 outlets between 1 Mar – 1 Aug and has picked up again since 19 October. While Uber Eats had almost the same volume of coverage, a tactical press release announcing its ‘£250k offer to 25 restaurants owned by people from minority backgrounds’ made up 100% of positive coverage, peaking just one week after the brand was called ‘diabolical’ for worker conditions.

 

Case study: Deliveroo x Klarna partnership

*Case study data reflects all regional/national Deliveroo coverage 1 August – 19 October.

Since August, the most popular story across the country has been Deliveroo’s decision to partner with Klarna to offer ‘buy now pay later’ services, which was distributed approximately 395 times between 11 and 18 October throughout general news, food, hospitality and business publications.

Top speakers

While the brand announced the Klarna partnership in a positive light, only 31% of media outlets responded with the same tone. Rather, 68% preferred to comment on the controversy behind the move. David Sykes, chief commercial officer at Klarna, was quoted in 70% of all coverage when he argued this was a way to offer zero-interest inflation support to the public, while a spokesperson added that consumers have otherwise been paying with high-interest credit cards ‘for decades’.

While seniors at the BNPL service are calling this a ‘healthy alternative’, some experts across the country are weighing into the press with a different perspective.

Martin Lewis, financial journalist and founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, became the lead opposition to the decision when he ‘slammed’ the company for ‘pumping up debt’. He further argued that debt should be accrued when it is ‘needed’ and not for a ‘cheeky Nando’s’. Lewis’s tweet was first picked up by The Telegraph on 12 October and syndicated a further 260 times until 14 October, equating to 66% of total Klarna-related coverage (of which 60% mentioned Lewis in the headline) and the main driver of the negative spike.

Within some of these articles, Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue backed the belief that it ‘normalises debt’ while councillor Rosie Parry called Deliveroo a ‘gross predator’ for encouraging families to buy takeaways they cannot afford.

Prominence

As a result of Lewis’s national criticism, approximately 57% of Deliveroo’s headline mentions were negatively associated with incentivising debt. Fortunately, second to this was its collaboration with Boots to deliver cold and flu medicines (18%), via a press release that provided a much-needed and extensive boost in proactive positive coverage between 25 August and 19 October. While the release was sent out on 22 August, it did not achieve significant national coverage until 18 October when the heat of the Klarna debate began to die down.

Crisis management

Approximately 82% of Deliveroo’s top headlines were proactive and sourced from a press release. Given that 77% of all coverage features a relevant quote from either seniors or spokespeople at Deliveroo, the releases acted as a strong crisis management tool by allowing key speakers to have some input during a peak in negative coverage.

Similarly, while its collaboration with Boots may have been a tactical move to tackle losses, Deliveroo’s release was picked up positively by the media after the BNPL controversy and helped to stabilise brand reputation.

Is dining on the rise?

Indoor dining forecast coverage  (1 Mar – 19 Oct)

*Case study data reflects all regional/national coverage on UK delivery comms in PR, marketing & business publications 1 March – 19 October.

As the food delivery sector continues to see decline, comms and business outlets across the UK and rest of Europe have been actively reporting on the crisis strategy of specific brands. Since August, there has also been extensive analysis on the spending forecasts and survival rate of each brand. Approximately 86 articles identified that eating out was likely to ‘experience a boost’ over the rest of the year.

Given that travel and groceries were also included in this list of beneficiary sectors, it is clear that one of the root causes of this boost is an extended wave of post-lockdown spending. While national news headlines are reporting that non-essential purchases are projected to plummet by £12bn, economic experts are stressing that brands should not ignore the ‘Lipstick effect’ – a desire for luxury items and experiences in economic downturn. For example, supermarkets have found that while cutbacks and reliance on value brands are at an all-time high, consumers will still invest in luxury lines like Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference — particularly on special occasions or annual events.

In addition, regular dining out is suggestive of a higher income household. In the case of an economic crisis – rather than a pandemic, for example – some consumers and industries are less affected. Retail Economics CEO Richard Lim told Marketing Week that sectors ‘more focused on higher income households will likely perform better than others’.

Focus on ad spending

Both Uber Eats and Deliveroo have reported to the press that ad spending is an ‘essential part of the revenue mix’ for ‘free cash flow generation’, while a Shore Capital equities expert added that these ‘skyrocketing marketing costs’ likely come as a response to Just Eat’s ‘aggressive inroads into the London market’.

While these brands appear confident in their decision, Grace Kite, econometrician, warned in a response article that ‘not all brands should maintain ad spend in a recession’, advice she predominantly aimed at victim sectors. Rather, she said brands should work out whether investing to secure additional share of market is ‘worth the cost’ in an economic downturn, as they run the risk of that increase being a ‘bigger slice of what becomes a much smaller pie’, making it difficult to recover from the previous high after the economy stabilises.

Vuelio’s top 3 recommendations

The Vuelio insights team has collated the most prominent guidance points by industry experts in the media over the past six months:

Explore the impact

While value and empathy have been considered the most important brand tones over the past three years, some consumers will not feel the impact of a crisis as much as others, therefore the necessary extent of compassion in communications should be closely measured.

Towards the end of the pandemic, international news outlets criticised that every advert used the same phrases, sombre voices, empty offices and soft piano music. As a result, some brands quickly became the subject of criticism across social media. Other publications argued that themes of indulgence, celebration and seizing the day were strongly preferred by viewers and could ‘speak to the desired attitudes’ in future crises.

Maintain transparency

In a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, 87% said they expected to hear from brands just as much or more during the period of economic instability. Between 22 and 31 August, 43 international marcomms publications repurposed a ‘heavily cited’ study showing that younger consumers value ‘purpose-driven’ advertising that shows how companies are helping others.

Given that both Deliveroo and Uber Eats were able to successfully dilute some of their negative inflation coverage with philanthropic press releases, the media has been shown to respond to these gestures in positive and high volumes.

Nurture Retention

If your budget lacks the space for a significant value incentive, enhanced loyalty programmes are also attracting national media awareness over the past three months. For example, the launch of MyMcDonald’s was the restaurant’s highest-reaching campaign in regional and national news sources throughout 2022. Similarly, the decision to bring back ‘free hot drinks for members’ achieved Waitrose the highest share of voice among all UK supermarkets between the 15 – 18 October.

Reading the room

Just Eat are currently perceived by the press as the ‘Dutch Kings’ that could soon lead the UK’s takeout sector, but its successes are not widely shared in the press beyond the expert insights of business publications. Proactive positive coverage is considerably lower than that of Deliveroo and Uber Eats despite a significant growth rate, demonstrating the importance of active press releases in this sector.

As victim sectors set their budgets for the next fiscal year, ‘read the room’ appears to be some of the most prominent expert advice pouring into the press. Measuring how your audience are impacted by a societal setback ought to be a priority, as fatigue grows quickly in a state of crisis and the needs and desires of your audience will change accordingly.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

In defence of humanities – the future of PR and comms

Over the past few years, the value of studying humanities has received extensive criticism across the media and in parliament. The argument has remained largely the same: they fail to produce jobs, lack economic benefit and teach skills that will not be needed in the future.  

Throughout the Conservative leadership race, education researchers and academic bodies began publicly reforming against this argument in the press — creating a diverse upsurge in debate across national and regional news.

Since the 1960s, humanities enrolment has dropped from 28% to 8% across the country – though many experts cite this is a fear-driven change due to an ‘age-old myth’ that humanities graduates are unemployable. Since 2020, national news has reported on the growing body of research into whether this claim is fact or fiction, as well as several op-eds from creatives and economic leaders.

Volume and Sentiment overtime

*Volume and sentiment data is a 50% sample of 5,768 total articles mentioning both the Conservative and HE perspective of humanities degrees. Sample is ordered by relevance, reliability, and news ranking.

Conservative crackdown

Research by the Vuelio Insights team shows that while the conversation has remained consistent in educational publications, significant national peaks occurred as noteworthy political events unfolded throughout the year. The first spike in coverage, between 3 and 15 August, was a direct result of relevant commentary made by Rishi Sunak during the Conservative Leadership race. His commitment to ending degrees with low ‘earning potential’ was featured in in 343 national, regional and local news sources throughout this period, with 46% using this term in the headline of the article. Sunak’s statement made several direct references to humanities as the main culprit, leading to a resurgence of the term ‘mickey-mouse degrees’ by 28% of all headlines, which has been trending over the past year and most commonly used by The Telegraph.

Conservative Party Conference

The second major peak of the year occurred only last week, following a higher-ed speech by Andrea Jenkyns, the Under-Secretary of State for Skills, Further and Higher Education. At a fringe event hosted by the EU-sceptic Bruges Group think tank, Jenkyns argued that ‘the current system would rather our young people get a degree in Harry Potter studies than in construction’.

A spokesman for the Russell Group of universities, who attended the event, asked if Jenkyns’s remarks had any basis in fact – to which Jenkyns replied ‘not so far as I am aware’. Another commentator, Pippa Musgrave replied that she ‘could not think of a university where the course is described as “construction”’. Both of these responses were quoted in approximately 102 of the total 438 articles between 3 and 5 October, as well as featured in tweets by HE leaders on social media:

Throughout this period, 78% of national news coverage that mentioned the Conservative perspective on humanities or ‘low value degrees’ was negative towards the government and positive towards higher education perspectives. Furthermore, articles that favoured or agreed with Sunak and Jenkyns’ views were either op-eds or economic publications.

One of many publications criticising Jenkyns’ comments was HuffPost, which called out the minister for ‘confusing everyone’ in the headline of the article, mostly driven by the ‘misinformed’ reference to J.K. Rowling’s novels. It argued the term emerged following a manipulation of facts whereby Durham University offered ‘Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion’ as a single 10-week optional module in its Education Studies BA. This explanation has been repeated in 282 national and regional news sources across general and education news between 3 and 5 October, creating a by-proxy upsurge in prominence for both Durham and Sheffield Hallam University, with the latter’s decision to withdraw English Literature sparking national uproar since June.

The class argument

Such consistent criticism by Conservative MPs has been regularly regarded as ‘hypocritical’ by both national and independent education outlets. Since July, 206 articles have commented on why the success of humanities is being questioned when both current and former members of the Conservative front bench form their own ‘clubhouse of Mickey Mouse degrees’ i.e. Michael Gove (English), Penny Mordaunt (Philosophy), Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak (Politics, Philosophy and Economics). Furthermore, an article by TIME pointed out that current and former CEOs at companies like AvonXeroxDisney and MTV all held English degrees, the founder of Starbucks had a Philosophy degree and the head of American Express had a BA in History.

This viral revelation has led to a handful of independent news outlets arguing that humanities graduates are only subject to unemployment due to the economic restrains of the working class. Similarly, renowned author Phillip Pullman was quoted by 98 national news publications for his ‘outcry’ that literature should not be a ‘luxury for a wealthy minority of spoilt aesthetes’.

Top five: Share of Voice

*SoV data is a 50% sample of 5,768 total articles ordered by relevance, reliability, and news ranking.

Among the top five most-mentioned brands and speakers, graduate employment organisation Prospects and The British Academy (TBA) came out on top with 39% and 36% of the sample studied respectively. Both sets of coverage were proactive in nature and referenced large-scale bodies of humanities graduate research by both institutions.

Former Minister of Universities, Jo Johnson, held a small but strong degree of independent coverage following his dispute with the Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Andrea Jenkyns at the Tory party conference. Johnson called Braverman’s comments ‘disappointing’ when she argued that the UK has too many international students bringing dependent family into the country. He also called Jenkys’ bash on humanities an ‘old cliché’, arguing that this ‘relentless uni-bashing’ is ‘a bit wearisome’, urging ministers to go easy on ‘relentless negativitiy towards a sector which is really one of our great strengths as a country’.

PR and marketing demand

One of the outcomes quoted most used by national media, which was found in both studies, was the high level of ‘transferable skills’ that humanities graduates retain in comparison to STEM graduates.

The British Academy found that of the 16 career types, PR and marketing are the second and third most popular careers that humanities students applied these skills to (with teaching as the first throughout). Of the 42% of coverage quoting Prospects or TBA, 12% referred to HEPI’s research, which also found that empathy was most nurtured by humanities and is highly valuable in successful PR.

Towards the end of 2021, an analysis by Indeed.com found that successful marketing managers ‘typically have at least an undergraduate degree in communications or related fields, such as philosophy or creative writing’.

STEM vs. Humanities

A small sample of tech and business publications mention the famous Google ‘Oxygen’ project, a 15-year study that attempted to discover what skills guaranteed the success of its employees. The study found that, of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise came in last. Rather, communication, empathy, critical thinking and problem solving were the most important definers of success. These are the skills that students often gain by studying a humanities subject and highlight how ‘soft skills’ are of greater value than mastery and expertise in a STEM field.

It is for this reason that in 2021, SourcePR argued that the transition out of education is often ‘less bumpy for those that took subjects with a focus on communication’. PR is dependent on connection and storytelling — which is why, traditionally, subjects like politics, history, English, philosophy and even foreign languages ‘tend to produce graduates better suited for PR’ than those with STEM degrees.

Hasan Bakhshi, director of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC), was also quoted in 16% of all articles between July and October following his statement that The British Academy has provided ‘important new evidence on why humanities graduates in the UK are already more likely than STEM graduates to change sector and role voluntarily and without wage penalty’.

Insights and crisis management

With the upsurge in demand for crisis management over the past few years, The British Academy also found that graduates are shown to possess bespoke trend analysis skills to better prepare for future challenges. While Jenkyns argued that the needs of the future are in trade and tech, TBA argue that addressing challenges ahead will ‘need not just technological solutions, but the understanding of human behaviour and how to achieve social and cultural change’.

ESG strategy

The past few years have also seen an increased demand for ESG transparency, particularly in the realm of sustainability, company ethics and diversity disclosures. HEPI’s research found that graduates with a social science background often have a stronger awareness of ever-changing societal values than those in other subjects, meaning their knowledge could be distinctively advantageous to employers. Industries which are historically less exposed to this level of public strategy, such as pharma, will need humanities graduates to wholistically and consistently meet this demand.

Areas of improvement

*Data is a 50% sample of 5,768 total articles ordered by relevance, reliability, and news ranking.

While national media criticism towards Conservative MPs’ opinions was high between 14 Jul and 5 Oct, 44% of all articles in the sample studied provided one or more ‘solutions’ to address Government concerns. The most popular, which positively aligned with one of Sunak’s former manifestos, was that secondary pupils would benefit from learning STEM and language as compulsory topics until 18 years of age.

As research has found that arts and humanities graduates rate ‘analysing numerical and statistical information’ as their weakest skill, this recommendation would greatly support the merge of STEM and humanities skills needed in the future.

Dr Gabriel Roberts, an English teacher at a London secondary school, was quoted in 18 national news sources in his statement that argued that this move would also address the ‘long-term shortage of linguistic skills identified by employers, have wider benefits for pupils’ educational attainment and help compensate for the loss of international links likely to result from Brexit’.

Recognise gender gaps

While the lack of women in STEM is considered an ongoing crisis across the world, 43% of all articles in the sample outlines the major lack of male representation in humanities.  Sławomir Trusz’s 2020 study, which was cited by 12% of these publications, revealed that male subjects negatively associated language learning and humanities with being ‘feminine’ or ‘gay’.

While significant advances have been made to encourage more females into STEM subjects, no such strides have been taken to encourage males into the humanities. Prospects is one of many to voice the need to reform this way of thinking, for the sake of both gender equality and career prospects for humanities.

Merging humanities and STEM

The ever-growing demands of the tech industry have long been alluring to young professionals, with many pursuing STEM-focused degrees to safeguard their future career prospects.

However, 21% of coverage mentioned that the future of tech relies on humanities graduates to ‘keep up’ with emerging technologies in AI and quantum computing. As computers make revolutionary steps towards reflecting the human brain, ethical dilemmas are some of many that will require the ‘soft skills’ of the budding philosopher or sociologist.

The future of PR and comms

While some Conservatives have been eager to point out the negative outcomes of non-STEM degrees, national news and education sources have readily pushed back over the past year with new research to argue otherwise. Starting salaries may be low in comparison to a junior doctor, but humanities graduates have been found to progress faster through the first ten years of their career, into roles attracting higher salaries — with specific and significant gains in PR and communications industries.

Despite warnings on the contrary, many companies are opting to cut PR and marcoms budgets to cope with inflation. Therefore, ensuring that employers have access and knowledge of the most talented and prosperous candidates is essential.

The research clearly shows that so long as the Government continues to portray these crucial skills as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Mickey Mouse’ studies, while citing misinformation towards the employment prospects of such graduates, both the British economy and communications sector will suffer as a result.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.