The press office manages Hera Group’s communication on the local, regional and national news media. This work is accomplished by continuously drawing attention to the company’s many initiatives and achievements and to the events that it organizes, both by publishing press releases and by organizing press conferences. This effort complements, in parallel, the promotion of the Group’s activities with in-depth interviews with management on specific issues, and by providing, at the request of journalists, information, photographs and videos related to the services provided and to the company’s many business areas. The press office also promptly answers letters from citizens, reacts to statements in the media of opinion leaders, public administrators and politicians, countering any critical positions against the company or its services, and provides a direct line, through the press, for local communities and customers. These activities are carried out in collaboration with all the company’s structures and with all the Group’s companies. Lastly, the office handles relations with the press offices of public and private institutions, associations or third parties to promote joint activities.
A quarterly qualitative and quantitative analysis has been set up to gauge this daily work. It is carried out by a specialised third party, which monitors national and local press. All the articles are weighted according to specific criteria, such as the circulation of the publication, the size of the article, the position on the page, the presence of photographs or lack thereof. The pieces are then grouped according to their tone: positive, neutral, or critical..
|Favourable or highly favourable articles||92.6%||90.3%||94.2%|
|Critical or extremely critical articles||3.0%||3.8%||1.2%|
|Total articles (No.)||273||388||456|
|Favourable or highly favourable articles||73.7%||73.6%||76.8%|
|Critical or extremely critical articles||9.6%||12.3%||11.4%|
|Total articles (No.)||7,534||6,825||6,933|
Thanks to the work done, in 2017 Hera’s visibility in the press increased over the previous year: the number of articles that appeared in national publications rose to over 450 (+17%), in almost 7,400 articles published globally. The large number of articles published reveal an increasing attention by the press and the Group’s firm involvement in national and local dynamics, whether specific or general, and demonstrate the role of the company among the nation’s leading players. From a qualitative standpoint, the positivity concerning Hera increased and settled at very high levels: 94% on national publications and 77% on local publications. Among the topics that contributed to this positive feedback: the business plan, the economic results, the acquisitions, innovative projects such as the construction of the methane production plant in the area of Bologna, the welfare and HR management corporate policies, the joint school-work experience projects and the broad offer of educational activities for schools, sustainability reporting and related projects, such as entry in the CE 100 programme of the Mac Arthur Foundation and the circular economy measures, the Scart project, the new waste collection services started in a number of areas, and sponsorships.
In general, the trend of critical articles has been stable for years at a very low level and continued to drop in 2017: around 1% for the national press and 11% for local press, quite a logical result if we consider the nature of the Group’s activities and the sensitivity of the public opinion. Negativity in the local media regarded the protests for the expansion of the Imola and Baricella landfills, the inconveniences resulting from the reorganisation of waste collection services in Ferrara with introduction of the quantity-based tariff, the creation of the in house company and the debates regarding the TARI increase in Forlì. Other negative articles regarded the critical issues reported by Anac concerning the awarding of contracts by Hera and Herambiente.