Australia: The attitudes that unite and divide us

Australia: The attitudes that unite and divide us

It’s only 20 years since Australia Day became a national public holiday.What unites Australians Infographic Web

The date January 26 originally marked the foundation of New South Wales, while other states had different public holidays to celebrate their own founding days.

The purpose of Australia Day is to unify us and embrace a diverse range of community – indigenous, colonists and immigrants new and old.

emma data gives us an opportunity to look the attitudes that unite Australians and celebrate the issues we differ on.

No less than 32 attitudes are surveyed in emma, allowing us to paint a rich picture of Australians’ points of view.  We’ll focus on 4 key areas: the economy, education, environment, and health.

Economy: whether your outlook is positive or not, we all agree buying a house is getting harder.

Agree vs. Disagree

51% vs 28%         I feel confident about my financial situation in the future

45% vs 31%         I feel confident about the current Australian economy

72% vs 9%           I feel it is becoming really difficult to buy a home

When it comes to the economy, we have moderate agreement on our personal and national future, although in both cases around 30% of Australians are not confident.

Where we all agree, though, is on the difficulty in buying a home. More than 70% agree it’s getting harder, yet this conflicts with separate data showing housing affordability at a ten year high.

emma data reveals that despite these concerns, approaching 1 in 8 people (12%) say they are likely to make a property purchase in the next 12 months.

Opportunity for financial marketers:  Spread a positive message about housing affordability, or start a debate about it to engage your consumers.

Education: we agree education and apprenticeships are valuable but are split on whether public schools are as good as private.

Agree vs disagree

88% vs 5%           I feel learning a trade is just as valuable as a university education

78% vs 10%         I think a formal education is vital to success in life

57% vs 27%         I think public schools are as good as private schools

While the number of people studying at university has grown by more than 500% since 1985, paradoxically it’s this very increase which has lowered the perceived value of degrees relative to trades. On the flipside, the proportion of workers who are tradesmen has fallen from 44% to 14%1 in the last 50 years, while their earning power and perceived value has increased dramatically, making trades more respected.  1. Source: ABS

Opportunity for education marketers:  Universities need to differentiate their degree offering from competitors to increase its perceived value amongst potential students and employers.

Turning to schools, a positive 57% reckon public schools are on a level playing field with private, but a substantial minority beg to differ (27%). Perhaps predictably, it’s the social Grade A group who are most worried about public schools with 31% disagreeing.

Environment: Australians believe they can make a difference but want government and businesses to do more.

Agree vs disagree

74% vs 8%           I believe business should be doing more to tackle environmental problems

65% vs 14%         I feel I can personally make a difference to the environment

39% vs 39%         Saving energy is more about saving money than saving the environment

54% vs 25%         The government should take urgent action on climate change regardless of the current economic and social conditions

Some 74% want business to do more while 65% say they personally can make a difference – both showing high levels of agreement. A majority (54%) think government should act.  When it comes to saving energy people are split down the middle: Australians are as likely to do it to save money as they are to save the environment.

Opportunity for environmental marketers:  Align the dual benefits of cost savings with environmental impact around electricity use, but also other areas such as insulation, solar panels or bottle recycling.

Health: we are united on obesity and mental health as big issues, and we all say we’re taking steps to be healthy.

Agree vs disagree

84% vs 5%           I am taking steps now to stay healthy in the future

72% vs 8%           I believe mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing Australia

22% vs 70%         I do not think obesity is a major issue in Australia

27% vs 48%         I have no confidence in the healthcare system

84% of Australians agree they are taking steps to be healthier in the future. Although this peaks at 89% among the 65+ age group, it is high for all ages, including 80% of 14-29s. Specific health issues that Australians are concerned about include mental health with 72% agreeing that is a big issue, while 70% worry about obesity.

Opportunity for health & wellbeing marketers:  State of mind could be a compelling debate for 2014. Topics such as mindfulness, taking time out from your smartphone, or aligning with mental health organisations may resonate with a population concerned about mental health.

Engaging Australians in the debate

Every day, we read about and contribute to debates on education, the economy, health, or the environment – just grab a copy of your newspaper or check out the comments under the articles on your favourite news website.

Newspapers and their websites play a crucial role in setting the public agenda and promoting public debate, as evidenced in the six strategic roles of newspapers.

There is a clear opportunity for marketers to leverage news media to join and stimulate this debate.

Award winning examples include:Advertisments2

  • Flora Pro-Activ raising the cholesterol issue
  • Haagen Dazs saving the honey bees
  • Pedigree promoting dog adoption
  • TAC advertising road safety

Each of these campaigns tackles an important issue and tries to encourage people to think about it. Each organisation gains from being brave enough to tackle an important issue that people care about – even though not everyone agrees on the solution.

News readers are highly engaged with these issues – and brave marketers can gain from being part of the debate.

What unites Australians Infographic Web


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