By Frederike den Ottelander, Head of Digital & Social, Netherlands, MSLGROUP
As trusted advisors of our clients, we are trusted to build, manage and protect our clients’ reputations. Reputation equals the licence to operate and the right to exist as a company.
Reputation has never been harder to manage and protect than in the new communications landscape. The fundamental change in communications is the power of the individual. Every person is an influencer because they have the platforms and audience to express their opinion, experiences, facts, knowledge and visions. Which is terrifying and great at the same time.
4 Reasons you should tap into Big Data
An audience of 2.3 billion people has access to the information shared by 2.3 billion fellow individuals. This results in an impressive and endless collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis: Big Data.
The good news? You are one of those 2.3 billion people on this planet and therefor you can tap into this Big Data. Here are four reasons why you should:
1. Ahead of the game: Prevent crisis from happening
The devil is in the unknown. The first reason to tap into Big Data is the fact that Big Data can help you prevent crises from happening. A threat on Twitter. An increase of clients complaining about the same thing. A misunderstanding about your services. A product that needs to be recalled. An increase of adverse events. Issues are visible.
Big Data giant Google is already cleverly tracking a set of search terms to estimate flu activity and identify outbreaks.
Video: Google Flu Trends Overview
Any fire starting in even the darkest corner of the internet can now be found and handled before it turns into a crisis. If you missed the fire and the crisis does happen, big data can help you understand what the crisis is really about and what issues need to be addressed to take the sting out of the crisis.
2. Goodbye optimism bias: Bridging the perception – reality gap
Organizations typically struggle with forming an unbiased and accurate picture of their reputation and the combination of factors that impacts the reputation per stakeholder. The danger is in thinking you know the target audiences after working at the organization for a few years and thus having a sugar coated perception of the reputation you so proudly work to build. An organization can use Big Data to rid themselves of optimism bias and bridge the gap between their perception of their reputation and the real reputation.
Collecting data on how your stakeholders feel about you has never been easier and more confronting at the same time. Unlike a panel of happy-to-give-feedback-and-get-paid consumers, Big Data offers a cross-section of how people really feel about you. And about your competitors. And the industry. And so on. Big Data is a transcript of conversations real people have in real life and therefore it’s the transcript of your reputation.
Video-streaming provider Netflix learnt this the hard way when it announced a new pricing strategy. Customers posted over 15,000 comments to explain their outrage at this decision on the company’s blog itself – and countless more across social networks and other websites.
3. The fly on the wall: Real-time reputation
Knowing that information spreads with the speed of light and that any bit of information can have a huge impact on a reputation, it seems only fair to say that a reputation can turn 180 degrees within minutes. An annual, monthly or even daily reputation report is only an organization’s own reassurance.
To really be able to manage your reputation, you need real-time reputation monitoring and even more importantly the ability to interpret what the monitoring tells you.
Who is saying what, and why? What are people saying across specific target groups, regions, genders, political backgrounds and so on?
Big Data can also be used to measure the impact of an organization’s response to an issue or crisis. How is your target audience responding to your statements? Who are the influencers and why do they say what they say? Managing a reputation has never been more exciting and transparent before: all this data almost literally enables corporates & brands to be the fly on the wall.
More and more companies today are creating social newsrooms to monitor social data 24/7. (Watch this introduction to newsrooms by Publicis Consultants).
4. A 2.3 billion person R&D department: Improve your products & services
Not only does Big Data help you prevent a crisis from happening and manage your reputation real-time, it also helps you build your reputation as well. You have an extended R&D department out there. Hidden in jokes, sarcasm, complaints, praises and wishes is your room for improvement. Improvements that will take away the advantage of your main competitors. Improvements that will make your target audience feel appreciated and take ownership in your brand.
From changing the cap of the bottle because it is too hard to open, to training your staff to answer questions in a more friendly manner. From adding a feature to your app because people asked for it, to providing answers to the simple questions your stakeholders ask. These are small changes, easy to identify by analysing Big Data, and can have a large impact on your reputation.
Samsung analysed social conversations to identify what people liked most in the Samsung SII smartphone, and featured these in it’s Next Big Thing commercial. Samsung also used this data-driven approach to guide its Super Bowl ad to launch the Galaxy Note in 2013.
Based on 2.14 billion search results on Google for ‘Big Data’, I am confident to say we are aware of the phenomenon Big Data. However, a quick research on ‘Big Data’ shows the topic is strongly related to technology, research software, business and analytics. It seems we only consider Big Data to be an analytics and research tool, while actually it is bigger that that. Big Data helps you manage your reputation. Increasingly, it is your licence to operate and your right to exist.
This post is part of the People’s Insights magazine “The Future of Reputation“