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Winner: ANZ Bank New Zealand: Telling our story in a world where companies & media aren’t trusted – the creation of a Corporate Affairs team with a newsroom at its heart

Against the background of an evolving media landscape, the ANZ New Zealand (NZ) Corporate Affairs team has fundamentally changed its approach to communications over the past 12 months, launching NZ’s first corporate newsroom in April 2017 to produce engaging, broadcast-quality video and written stories about the bank, its customers and staff, and the communities they live and work in.

Instead of a siloed approach with team members assigned to different parts of the business, we now work across the business as in-house journalists producing creative and engaging video and written content that we amplify across channels.

The results are clear: the highest brand consideration scores in its history plus a strong engagement with audiences, as well as high staff engagement at 81 percent — best in class for financial services internationally.

NZ media has not been immune to shrinking audiences and the resulting smaller, under-resourced newsrooms. There are also fewer business journalists covering banking-related stories.

At the same time, the public is increasingly getting its news online, through social networks and on mobile devices. Audiences rather than companies or the media are now dictating what content they want.

With so much choice — coupled with post-financial-crisis cynicism towards institutions — audiences are increasingly picky about what they engage with. They want authenticity and creativity in their content. With this in mind, ANZ had to change its traditional communications team structure to help it connect with audiences.

First, because the primary goal was to create high-quality, modern news content from across the business, it looked at the way its newsroom was organised.

In many ways it now sees itself as a content engine, providing material for audiences to have a conversation with, relying more on storytelling and social media.

The corporate newsroom also builds on ANZ’s owned media strategy and significant investment in BlueNotes, its online business and economics news magazine.

Under the old structure, communications staff were assigned to areas within the bank, providing support to each relevant business unit. Under the new structure (Figure 5) each content team member is assigned to a ‘round’, covering subjects in the main business areas. Within these ‘rounds’, the team identifies, researches and produces video stories all in-house.

Ideas are pitched in weekly editorial meetings where chosen stories are then allocated filming and production resources, with each team member empowered to go and produce the content.

The team produces a video and integrated communications campaign every week or two, on subjects as diverse as the bank’s functions but that must take a fresh news angle. Video is enhancing traditional communications (media releases, op-eds etc.) and is receiving more prominent coverage as a result.

Two case studies demonstrate the approach.

The corporate newsroom was used to tell the story of the sale of one of NZ’s largest kiwi fruit orchards to an indigenous Māori buyer, Ngāi Tukairangi, in a deal facilitated by ANZ.

Its video showed how, through the sale, the land-owner learned important Māori values like katiakitanga (guardianship) and formed relationships with the Iwi (tribe) before ‘doing the deal’. It met ANZ objectives by demonstrating the value it puts on the cultural aspects of business, but it also generated rare mainstream media coverage for the Māori business sector and helped the ANZ team secure more business opportunities.

ANZ sponsors the Cancer Society and its flagship fundraiser Daffodil Day. When the team discovered one staff member would be walking 500 km to raise funds, it decided to build a campaign around his journey.
It pitched Mike’s ‘hike’ to media first, with little luck. The response was that walking for charity was “not a new story” and a fresh angle was needed.

But re-engaging media with a heartfelt piece of video from the corporate newsroom secured exceptional coverage.

ANZ believes its corporate newsroom is a key contributing factor to its high brand consideration score, helped by a pioneering approach to corporate communications in NZ. High quality video content is helping it reach audiences across channels, tell stories that reflect the bank’s purpose and influence brand perception.


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