We hear from agencies a lot, particularly those edging out competitors for big brand business. And their key differentiator hinges on their ability to very finely, and accurately, slice and dice customer experience data, taking deep data dives to create winning campaigns. Let’s see how that looks!
Brand Analysis for the Baseline
Creating a brand baseline is always the first step when it comes to social listening – because without an accurate baseline, what are you measuring against? Capturing both the brand and category conversation is essential, and each will provide pretty different results to monitor as you move forward.
A brand analysis tells you so much about how your brand is coming across to potential customers. It offers reliable data around how often your brand is mentioned, via which mediums – and the Net Sentiment accompanying these activities.
But beyond that, it also shares how those talking about your brand actually feel – and that is important.
You can segment the data by age, ethnicity, interests, professions and other audience affinities. Or you can explore word clouds offering clickable content around top attributes, emotions and behaviors to help you understand where your brand is doing well and where it’s facing challenges:
Category analyses offer equally important, though much different, intel.
Exceptional All-Around Understanding with Category Analyses
Category analyses take a brand’s data dive a bit deeper, to help brands explore where the larger conversations lies, and their place in it.
It helps brands create powerful competitive strategies informed by real-time insight. A category analysis offers so much potential for brands, because it answers the following (and so much more):
- What new brands, trends, products, or competitors are emerging in my category, industry, or market?
- How can I use social media to validate a theory or answer a question related to my business?
- What customer questions, complaints, and issues are emerging for products and services in my category?
- Which brands in my category are being talked about the most? Which brands do consumers love or hate the most?
- What kind of interactions turn haters into advocates and which leave customers dissatisfied?
- Who are the influencers and advocates in my category?
Using this analysis is key to uncovering unmet needs and is a brand favorite, for pretty obvious reasons. But it’s not just brands that love social listening for competitive intelligence – agencies are entirely on-board as well. And one agency favorite is performing Crosstab Analyses.
Competitive Tracking with Crosstabs
CBD Marketing is a B2B agency that uses NetBase for brand tracking, event tracking, new product launches. Having the ability to finely tune searches to capture sentiment around niche audiences has been a game-changer for them.
And Crosstab Analyses top their list of “must haves” – and for good reason. These super handy comparisons enable a side-by-side view of one or multiple topics to themes, tags or product hierarchies. This means they can view many competitors in relation to their brand, ranked via a dizzying array of options:
This allows brands to easily spot trends or deviations in an analysis and capture meaningful insight quickly. And brands aren’t limited to this tabular view, as they can also see them in column or bar chart formats as well, complete with summary and sound bite details that are clickable and definitely worth further investigation.
These are the details that help form a robust and informed competitive narrative:
Crosstabs offer quick, digestible views around share of voice and which issues are being talked about the most – and in relation to whom. They’re pretty amazing, so we can certainly understand why they’re a client favorite!
But the Brand Passion Index is pretty nifty too.
Brand Passion Indexing for Ideation
Another agency that shared exceptional insight for those seeking to level up their competitive intelligence game: BVK works with CPG brands, travel and tourism, healthcare and education – so you can be sure they need to have social listening and trend forecasting that’s on-point. And they do:
Understanding how an audience talks and how a brand is/should be talking to an audience is crucial to their success. The Brand Passion Index helps quantify this data, so they’re able to share how a brand is doing in relation to key competitors across the web.
This index displays up to 60 topics as bubbles or topic images, and mapping them into one of four quadrants on a grid comparing Net Sentiment (a score from -100 to 100) and Passion Intensity: like, love, dislike and hate.
The size of the bubble or topic image indicates its number of mentions relative to other bubbles or images in the chart. And when the display option is bubbles, you can also display additional bubbles for one or two prior periods to show how passion has trended over time:
A key differentiator for BVK has been NetBase’s predictive and Natural Language Processing capabilities (NLP), which helps brands and agencies understand context behind whatever is posted. Just seeing that someone said something about a topic in relation to a brand is pretty meaningless, particularly at scale.
Aggregating structured and unstructured data and analyzing it in a way that provides quantifiable meaning – offering strategic insight that can be acted on in real-time, requires Next Generation AI processing power.
Bradley and Montgomery, another awesome agency that uses NetBase, is likely fond of Crosstab Analyses and the Brand Passion Index options as well, but our conversation with them during a recent webinar on Redefining Audience Strategy through Social Analytics revealed important insight around targeting segments as cultures vs personas – so we’re going to share a bit of that! It’s really key information for any brand or agency to explore.
Targeting Cultures, Not Personas
Identifying cultures and understanding what those audiences love is where things get really interesting for marketers.
First, how are cultures different from personas? Personas are pretty one-dimensional and static. They define a customer type in general terms and are really all about surface insight. It’s so 2015.
Even when they do ask the right questions, just by luck, marketing persona exercises fall short when it comes to appropriately vetting the insight and sorting out what really makes potential segments tick. This is because brands often know too much about a given topic/their category and that clouds their judgment.
Brands need outside opinions to get a real view of the market from the consumer standpoint. They don’t know what they don’t know till social analytics enter the picture. And brands only know a fraction of segments out there right now, so discovering new cultures in a significant part of this process.
Personas also don’t uncover why people act or behave a certain way – and those actions and behaviors change rapidly. People are much more complex in real-time. “Identity is fluid.” No one is just one thing. There aren’t neat boxes and those boxes don’t offer connections.
True “personas” today are being re-envisioned as cultures. Groups that converge and separate based on shared interests, geographies, trending topics or time. They’re outside of any predefined boundaries, but connected by unmet needs that drive the market.
They key is in capturing interest at the right time, in the right way by understanding their buying habits and providing personalization, at scale. It’s understanding that every touchpoint isn’t, and how to differentiate between opportunities and time sucks.
Bradley and Montgomery creates cultures to move ideas forward and to drive new business, so they’re able to uncover correlations based on the conversation. And to track those correlations through time:
Doing this offers evidence-based KPIs and data around what messaging is working – and when. And the ability to explore further, on a granular level:
It allows brands to identify topics/spikes that they wouldn’t be aware of otherwise – also barriers to adoption, motivations and relevant language that makes sense for different segments/cultures.
It’s unfiltered, happens at scale, and offers messaging opportunities the resonate – that is what suped-up social listening does for brands. And it’s what we offer at NetBase. Be sure to reach out for a demo so we can take you for a spin and show you what all of the hype is about!