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Australian organisations failing to communicate key messages

21 June, 2011

AUSTRALIA — There is a 74 percent “gap” between the key messages that Australian companies want to convey about themselves and the messages that are ultimately coming through in the media, according to a new, in-depth analysis by leading global public relations and communication firm Burson-Marsteller.

A corresponding international study also points to a global disparity, with Australian firms lagging behind their foreign counterparts. The global study reveals a 48 percent message “gap” between the company and media messages of foreign firms; much lower than the “gap” exhibited by Australian companies.

The Australian study examined 137 corporate messages from six representative Australian companies, selected from the Financial Times 500 and the ASX. The key messages included in each company’s external communications were compared against related coverage in mainstream media over a three month period.

The Message Gap Analysis was devised to identify the messages and brand attributes that resonate best with journalists as part of Burson-Marsteller’s Evidence-Based Communications approach.

“This study highlights how difficult it is for companies to get their message across via media. No matter how earnest, or how well written, corporate messages aren’t simply going to be replicated,” said Burson-Marsteller Australia Managing Director Brian West.
“Australian firms need to take a strategic approach to their communication. For the media component of the strategy, that means having a clear understanding of the changing media landscape, how messages are reported, and a commitment to adapt to what’s required to ensure their desired messages get through.”

“Burson-Marsteller uses these media insights to help its clients make data-driven decisions and better achieve message fidelity.”

The findings of the study will be of interest to Australian brands looking to strengthen their corporate communication. Key insights included:

1. “Aspirational” language needs to be backed up by concrete facts, or it is likely to be ignored. Messages that relate to a company’s core values and identity tend to get more media pick-up.

2. Now more than ever CEO’s are under intense media scrutiny. Companies that successfully align their CEO’s interviews, quotes and actions with the firm’s key messages stand a better chance of getting them into the media.

3. Mainstream media and bloggers tend to change or completely ignore jargon. To increase message fidelity, companies should make their communications as accessible as possible by leaving out corporate speak.

4. The Australian media regularly talks about companies in relation to their competition. Incorporating differentiators into key messages can help firms stand out.

5. Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are increasingly only covered by the media if they are current. Firms need to back up their CSR promises with facts to ensure they get traction.

About Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific
Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific ( is the leading public relations consultancy for organizations communicating in Asia-Pacific and internationally. With a presence in the region dating back to 1973, Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific today includes 31 offices and affiliates in 16 countries integrated seamlessly into a global network operating in 98 countries. Our Evidence-Based approach to communications provides our clients with effective, data-driven programs delivered through multiple channels and focused on tangible, measurable results. Our team of more than 600 professionals offers a powerful combination of local knowledge, sector expertise and global communications reach.

Burson-Marsteller (, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services network.

For more information, please contact:
Brian West
Managing Director, Australia
Burson-Marsteller Australia
Tel: +61 2 9928 1500

For further information visit our website: or follow: @BMaustralia.

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