In 2020 AstraZeneca needed to position itself as a leader in the pharmaceutical industry as well as better support its brands. The company's newly minted communications branch also needed to prove its efforts back to internal stakeholders.
Shortly after a deal with Oxford University to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to market had been signed, Melissa Millard joined AstraZeneca as Head of Communications, at a time when the Australian branch of the organisation had no formal communications function.
"When I first started, I realised that the way news was being shared internally was very limited and that meant there was little oversight into what was going on in our industry and the rest of the world. It's vital that our staff are across relevant news and where we are being mentioned so if our customers ask questions they can speak to the wider context."
For Melissa, she saw this challenge as an opportunity to reframe the way AstraZeneca was constructing its public profile. The announcement that the Australian government had selected AstraZeneca as its primary provider of a COVID-19 vaccine came with a boom of media coverage, making it clear that managing and controlling the brand's media profile had never been more important.
"Part of my remit was looking at our social media policy and strategy. As social media became an increasingly legitimate form of media, we needed a tool that integrated our traditional media monitoring with social media management and listening capabilities.
The deep insights provided by the added social data offered by Meltwater was something that I knew we were going to need. It made sense from a user experience perspective, as well as a cost perspective, to bring them all together."