DAA Spokesperson’s Program
  • The Dietitians Association of Australia’s (DAA’s) Communications and Marketing Manager Dr Sara Grafenauer has recently returned from attending ICD 2016 in Spain. Sara presented on the achievements of our successful Spokespersons Program. In a workshop co-facilitated by representatives from Dietitians of Canada and the British Dietetic Association, Sara discussed how DAA evaluates our successful Spokesperson’s Program, to be confident we’re making a difference in promoting evidence-based nutrition and raising the profile of DAA and Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs).
    ‘Dietitians are increasingly working in a competitive space. Every day unqualified ‘experts’ push their views on diet and nutrition, including through the media. As a profession, we have an important role in communicating credible, accurate, practical and engaging nutrition messages that will help people lead healthier lives. The public and the media are hungry for nutrition and health information, meaning real opportunities for dietitians to shine!’ said Dr Grafenauer.
    DAA Spokespersons Program: 17 years . . . and still going strong

    Over many years, DAA has built a strong media profile – in large part due to our Spokespersons Program. DAA has 23 media-trained spokespeople across Australia, who collectively undertake an average of 75 media interviews per month, with support from DAA. We also have a database of more than 90 ‘APDs willing to speak with the media’, and another database of APDs able to be interviewed by journalism students. These members contribute to our media reach and provide another opportunity for dietitians to have their message heard.
    Since its launch in 1999, the Spokesperson’s Program has grown to provide an important channel to:

    • Communicate accurate and practical nutrition information
    • Increase recognition of APDs as the experts in nutrition
    • Increase recognition of DAA as the peak body for dietitians.

    DAA provides support for Spokespeople through:

    • Annual media training and as needed phone coaching
    • Key message briefings
    • Regular email updates and an annual teleconference
    • Robust policies and procedures
    • Media resources for professional development
    • Networking opportunities
    • Mentoring for newer spokespeople
    • Recognition of contribution, among DAA members and others

    All DAA Spokespeople are given skills in ‘mapping’, a strategic method for crafting messages. And for each media call out, DAA’s media team provide key messages to help with preparation of the main points to emphasize. As an added extra, the media team coordinates the editorial with health care and consumer magazines. Many APDs contribute here – but DAA assists with the ‘pitch’ and ensuring editorial. Last year the value of this work was 345K (AUD) in advertising equivalents.
    Evaluating DAA’s media influence

    Media monitoring, particularly online monitoring, and consumer and journalist surveys form the basis of evaluating DAA’s media influence. Evaluation includes:

    • Media monitoring: External agencies provide DAA with daily monitoring reports, capturing media pick-up of the key words ‘Dietitians Association of Australia’ and ‘Accredited Practising Dietitian’. During the 2015 calendar year, this revealed 9.6 billion opportunities to see (the number of people who had the opportunity to see or hear DAA keywords through print, broadcast and online media) and 9,565 mentions in the media (which has grown from 424 in 2004 and 1,604 in 2009). Each person in the team can see the overnight media report of all online content. We use this for risk management, detecting trends and so we can tweet the articles in which our spokespeople have featured. Many of our Spokespeople are engaged on twitter – so it is a great way for them to build their profile. After all, we are #StrongerTogether.

    • Consumer survey: For many years, DAA has been tracking awareness among the public of APDs, along with other measures – such as awareness of news stories about nutrition featuring a ‘Spokesperson for DAA’. In 2016, this survey (n=1,200) found public awareness of news stories about nutrition featuring a ‘Spokesperson for DAA’ at 13% - a great result given the wealth of ‘news’ available in our fast-paced and digital world. 

    • Journalists survey: A survey of Australian journalists (n=64) in late 2015 revealed 85% rate DAA Spokespeople as either ‘very well informed’ or ‘well informed’, and 69% come to DAA for nutrition-related stories (more so than any other organisation). This annual survey has been rolled out since 2012.

    DAA also surveys spokespeople annually to assess their satisfaction with the support provided by DAA staff.
    For further information about DAA’s leadership in these areas or to tap into DAA’s expertise and resources in implementing a Spokesperson’s Program, contact Dr Sara Grafenauer (Communications and Marketing Manager) on sarag@daa.asn.au or Maree Hall (Senior Public Relations Manager) on prmanager@daa.asn.au 
    DAA would like to thank all DAA Spokespeople for their passion and dedication towards helping the Association achieve its strategic objectives!