Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Q&A: Why Managing Your Reputation Goes Beyond What People Are Saying About You
Austmine Limited
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Q&A: Why Managing Your Reputation Goes Beyond What People Are Saying About You

We were delighted to catch up with Mark Jones, Founder of RiskLoop Global. Mark sells software which enables miners to reduce the strategic risk in their business. His METS firm uses a SAAS AI platform to enable the strategic PR and communications team’s to deepen their understanding of the online media landscape during a crisis. The result is lowering the cost of communications and measurably improving the team's effectiveness to engage stakeholders globally. 

In 21st century business, miners are trying to reduce the strategic risk in their business. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the mining industry and how will market facing AI assist executives to de-risk their businesses?

For miners, the problem they face is the impact on their share price when a crisis hits or unexpected bad news is reported to the market (e.g. a death on site, a tailings dam disaster). Another challenge is managing the expectations of the market when a site extension or new project is delayed due to a failure to obtain a social license. 

AI enhances the strategic PR and communications team’s ability to understand the entire market landscape. Within a day using our robust framework and tools, a team can identify the most important stories, their sources in the mainstream or social media, the power of the content and predict which stories will continue to be significant and which will fade away.

Using these insights, the team can navigate their course through the through the dark and dangerous waters of a major reputational issue. Thy can also measure their progress on a daily, weekly basis, enabling teams to evaluate their strategies, and pivot as required. This reduces stress in an often volatile situation, enables strategy to be developed and executed and focuses the communications effort on messages which are proven to work.

From the work we have done we have discovered that as much as 93% of all spending for content has little or no engagement. That’s a lot of wasted communications budgets!  

We can also assist miners to “walk in the shoes” of the community and sense a community’s emotional reaction to a project based on all available content online. This is key as was recently articulated by the Rio Tinto CEO on ABC Radio (March 21) where he said “there is a lack of trust and a lot of anxiety within the community” and “our license to operate is challenged”. ”People need to be convinced that we have a purpose”. He went onto say that Business-2-People is a key strategy in successfully connecting with communities. That is what our tool set and methodologies enables miners to do.  

In order to maximize profits in a “post boom” landscape, mining companies are looking for hidden areas of lost productivity, such as real time equipment monitoring. Why should they also learn to use external facing tools that read the market as well?

Like companies across all sectors, Miners have been predominantly inwardly focused in terms of the data they choose to monitor and analyse.

Today’s digital environment is spawning tools that interpret and enable miners to predict markets of all kinds. This is happening as the world is also dominated by social media giants such as Facebook and Google with business models founded on ensuring people remain within their media bubble. These forces are as new to miners as they are across all sectors. 

Learning to use our tools, enables miners to remove the bias of media bubbles. They can then develop an evidence base from which to create viable strategies de-risking social and governance risk. Our mission is to transform miners connection to the communities where they work by building their capability to use tool sets and methodologies that support evidence based decision making.

Social narratives have been notoriously difficult to understand and control, whether those narratives are attached to a specific brand or to an industry at large. How has artificial intelligence evolved to provide deeper insight into specific narratives?

A narrative is the currency we use to determine the power or not of a story online. We enable miners to see the power of any narrative, anywhere at any time. They can see where the narrative is strongest, who is driving it, which media it appears in and whether or not it is likely to be predictive of future behaviour.

Every narrative’s power is a function of its ability to engage an audience. No engagement means a weak narrative.

Managing the narrative has traditionally been the role of the strategic communications team. They used a combination of expertise, focus group, surveys and other tools to pulse a market or community.

These tools and methods will not disappear. We are supplementing the data inputs with a quantum shift in data feeds, packaged together to understand the entire global online landscape. Our tool set enables clients to build their capability to understand the entire landscape within which a narrative exists.

We use the analogy of a plane cockpit. Planes require the pilot to use all of the data from the onboard computers and get information about where the plane is flying to. They interpret specific feeds about the environment in which they are flying to determine the safest pathways. The pilots still set the strategy for the best ways to navigate around storms and into clear air.

The same goes for communications professionals within a mining company. We have a tried and proven set of tools and methods which enables them to defuse the social media bubble and obtain a clear look at the landscape.

Business leaders have access to AI tools that de-mystify how brands and campaigns are perceived in the world, thereby reducing risk around strategic decisions and communications. How important is it for executives and boards to understand how these AI tools work? 

We recognise that AI tools are new. Mostly miners are orientated to use AI for internal datasets. Our externally facing AI has been proven in the world of fast moving consumer goods and government.

To enable companies in Australia to improve their capability to apply AI tools in practice, we are organising Certification workshops. Programs participants will arrive with a strategic challenge. During the workshop they will climb into the cockpit of their plane and use the tools to understand the landscape around that problems. They will experience developing 10 narratives to discover what is actually going on online around that challenge and use a methodology for working collaborating with the AI. AI is all about the human interface our job is to demystify the technology and treat it for what it is, another data stream assisting us to make better evidence based decisions.  

Thank you again for your time, Mark. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

We believe that it is possible to reduce conflict, better manage share market communications and improve miners social license by really understanding what a community or market.

We also know that during crisis, such as a tailings dam or other disaster, having the right tools to monitor what is going on is like having a well functioning cockpit in an plane.

“Flying blind” is an uncomfortable feeling in any market. We provide the instruments that enable our clients to connect to any market anywhere at any time, faster, more reliably and cheaper than in the past.

Ask, how does your community feel?

Affect is a rich measure of the emotional tone of the significant content. Understanding of the emotional drivers empowers miners to better understand, and respond appropriately to, the emotional impact of the narrative.

In these charts, positive emotions are highlighted in green, whereas negative emotions are red. If there is a clear tonality to the emotions expressed, such as expectation or apprehension, these are shown in purple.

The intensity of the colour indicates the intensity of each emotion. The width of each arc reflects the degree to which the named emotion contributes to the overall emotional response.

Broad emotions, such as fear and love, are closer to the centre of the chart. The more subtle emotions, which contribute to those broad emotions, are shown in the concentric rings further out. Moving out from the centre, each ring shows a further level of detail.

In these cases one comes from a project in Australia, the other is in Chile. We know that conflict burdens the sector with massive costs – project delays, abandoned projects, losses in jobs, royalties and other added value. Working to address the emotional drivers of conflict is a hugely value adding capability for a modern mining company.


For more information on RiskLoop Global's certification programs, please visit https://www.riskloop.global/certification/    



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