Using company and brand share information in conjunction with market size and industry forecasts is essential for effective decision making. A brand owner knows the health of his or her own brands; however, this information needs to be looked at in context with the competition’s performance.
Assuming that as a business owner or executive you do recognize this, there are two important questions you need to answer:
1. How do we monitor numerous sources which today include emails, social media outlets, blogs, customer review sites and so on using limited resources?
2. How do we convert this flood of data into a stream of usable information that can help grow business?
The solution is easier to understand than the problem. Here is a two step process with an example of how a business can successfully convert this challenge into a business opportunity
Step 1: Set up a brand audit
A brand audit is simply an objective assessment of a company’s product or service based on the impressions of customers, prospects, key influencers and even competitors. In today’s highly interconnected business world, these exist in various channels and need to be aggregated, parsed and analyzed. A brand audit will allow you to improve your business performance in several ways
- Improve relationship with your customers and their experience with your brand
- Improve the effectiveness of your marketing programs
- Identify new sources of revenue
- Identify hidden costs
- Even collaborate with future customers and develop new offerings
Step 2: Run a Sentiment Analysis
This is the part where the “flood of data” is converted into something usable and actionable. Continuing with the discussion of the above example, we find that “Cost” and “Dealers and Services” incited the most buzz in blogs and comments – how much of this was good? Is there room for improvement or is it too late to salvage the brand assets? Are the negative sentiments growing? How fast are they growing? These are questions which can be explored in detail once we set up a platform for systematically and regularly monitoring the brand.
These two constitute the “descriptive analytics” part of social media and unstructured data analysis. Businesses can take this a step further and leverage this same information to become proactive in their strategy. For example, a correlation between social media sentiment and costs, such as warranty costs typically exists, and predictive models built to exploit this information can help to prevent expensive recalls and lawsuits. By identifying which cases are likely to advance to the level of a recall and taking proactive measures businesses not only can save costs, but actually enhance their brand equity.