brands and social media

How Analysts Deliver Meaningful Actions to Stakeholders

The following post was inspired by a recent day of meetings at a major FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) retailer in the United States. The post focuses on the use of market-related insights to deliver action-inducing stories to brand leadership and technical staff within the corporation.

THE “DEEP” ANALYST – A DEFINITION: A “deep” analyst chooses a psychological theme for analyzing a massive amount of data. For example, a “deep” analyst could apply an understanding of Jungian psychology to his/her analysis, focusing on classical Jungian therapeutic definitions as a guide for data segmentation. Such an analyst would seek to answer classical Jungian questions about an individual or group through his/her work with the data — for example, what “shadow” or unconscious elements of our corporation now animate our workforce? A corporate leader would want to know about these “hidden” animators of daily workforce behavior to better align manager actions and gain more precise results from staff.

(Summary: A researcher can study customer behavior and then tell corporate leadership what is secretly controlling staff and consumer actions.)

THE VALUE OF THE “DEEP” APPROACH: A significant value in the “deep” psychological approach to data is a wealth of short, yet powerful, anecdotes derived from research and “strung” along the path of a classical inner journey. When applied to a corporation, such stories offer tremendous value to stakeholders in making better decisions about a host of internal and external issues. As an example, what would happen if a major corporation studied Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, discovered where on that journey specific business units currently “walked”, and was better able to make decisions based upon this metaphor?

(Summary: A researcher can study customer behavior and then tell stories to corporate leadership as a means to inspiring specific helpful actions.)

THE ACTIONS OF A “DEEP” ANALYST WITHIN THE CORPORATION: The first action such a “deep” analyst takes within a corporate entity is to reveal the archetype at the brand core: that force in the unconscious of the company that is animating its stakeholders. The second action is to reveal who is consciously engaged with that archetype. The third is to influence, change and enhance the magnetism of the brand’s core so that customers and stakeholders are better served by a more inspired brand leadership.

(Summary: A researcher is curious about the main story of a brand or company. He/she is also interested in who else is aware of this story and what they do about this story on a regular basis. Finally, the researcher takes action to grow awareness of this story so that more people in a corporation will be helped/inspired and do a better job.)

RESULT #1 – INSPIRATION FOR TEAM LEADERS FROM INSIGHTS: Leadership will take insights gleaned by a “deep” analyst and engage more effectively with the core of the brand. A corporate leader must be steeped in the living and numinous entity that pulses at the center of the brand. Such devotion by the leader inspires stakeholders, merchant partners, employees and customers. You can tell when a corporate leader has become fully possessed by his/her brand…just take a look at Branson, Hsieh and Bezos. These are beings who enter regularly into the “fire” that burns at the core of their respective brands, emerging with powerful inspiration, drive and leadership for the entire corporate entity. The right set of stories derived through insights will ideally lift the “uninspired” leader to a new level of excitement about his/her business unit. In such cases, a single metaphor derived from insight can give birth to a greater level of passion in the leader and lift his/her staff up to a higher level of performance as a result.

RESULT #2 – WHAT A “DEEP” INSIGHT REVEALS: A deep insight reveals what animates a corporate entity, identifies the lenses within leadership upon company events and is a story of consequences (both “good” and “bad”). A deep insight inspires a bevy of possible actions and conceives strategies that will best serve current initiatives, stakeholders and customers. A deep insight will chart a path for brand leadership in winning on all levels. A deep insight contains the voices of a Critic AND a Creative, doing their duet. In this song, the Critic refines the Creative’s gift and the Creative ends up delivering happiness to the Critic: a win-win. Key: A deep insight provides a host of windows for times when doors seem to be closing.

THE FMCG EXAMPLE – HOW INSIGHTS BECOME PRACTICAL AND ACTION-INDUCING: Let us take, for instance, a leading FMCG entity with one foot in “flesh-retail” and one foot in the digital realm. This entity has an opportunity to weave flesh and digital with such elegance, such precision, that a customer hardly has to think when being served by one or the other. Deep insights will deliver tech so deeply embedded into the customer experience that the tech disappears…the customer makes his/her use of the tech a daily, even hourly, action.

Let us say, for instance, that this FMCG entity has created an app that delivers daily personalized discounts based on the customer’s past purchases, current financial “reality” and publicly expressed wishes. What a win for everyone! The customer wins because every time he/she steps into the retail or digital outlet, a discount on his/her faves is given (plus a whole lot more, in the ideal scenario). The resulting love affair influences the customer’s friends to participate and the merchants serving this FMCG are glowing with happiness as sales go up. The resulting community is a truly potent entity, able to extend seemingly un-ending generosity within itself and to its greater community. Everyone wants a piece of the action in such a scenario.

SUMMARY: An analyst focused on “deep” insights will evangelize the power of such intelligence throughout the corporate entity, throughout the brand organism. Such an analyst will educate every silo on how to use insights from intelligence for daily wins: within internal focus groups, (solving previously “un-solveable” issues), within customer focus groups, (solving those daily headaches that slow down the purchase cycle), within competitive situations, (revealing collaborative possibilities). A deep insight is the “A-ha!”, the “Eureka!”…and with the depth of data currently available, the market intelligence analyst working within a corporate entity has abundant and daily opportunities to make this exclamation and deliver powerful actions to every silo, every leader, every employee and, ultimately, to every customer.

Customer First Yields Success Over and Over Again

It is the CEO who thinks about his/her customer first that successfully leads employees, vendors, and all stakeholders to daily consumer-level wins, employee satisfaction and stakeholder confidence. It is the CEO who takes weekly incognito walks down the aisles of his/her retail outlets, listening & talking with customers/employees about “the small, real things”…it is such a person who will transform the enterprise into a united, healthy and joy-giving organism.

Julio Viskovich has recently posted an excellent example of how social business staff at a brand can help the CEO put customers first. Viskovich writes, “Just now I read a tweet addressed to my city ‘In #Vancouver and need a place to stay for the night. Any suggestions?’ It’s been 5 minutes and not a single hotel has responded. I’m thinking of reaching out and offering my guest room for $40 per night.” SOURCE: http://bit.ly/SocialSelling2013

Using smart social analytics, cutting-edge HR is now selecting brand leadership from within their own customer base. The new Chief Customer Executive and his/her cohorts are selected directly from the consumers and raised to power within the organization as advocates for the consumer alone. This smart new move by the HR silo using web intelligence is the latest indication of how powerful social tech has become: the customer and HR are conspiring to facilitate daily consumer wins…and wise brand stakeholders are on board with this revolution.

Replacing email blasts with relationship marketing

No, it was the other guy, the guy who bought what worked, the one in charge of the real budget–he wasn’t easy, but he was worth it… ~Seth Godin

THE CURRENT SITUATION: Ever receive an email with a sales pitch? We all do. And what do you do with 90% of these? You do not have time to read them and you trash them. Many times even when the pitch is about something you really want or need. There just isn’t time to open that email and read the pitch, click on the link and do all the digital “paperwork” to get what you want.

Receiving an email blast from a company is different than receiving a helpful solution in the context of a comment thread in social networks. The former is likely to end up in the junk folder. The latter is “in context” and will be read every time. This is why corporations are ceasing email blast campaigns and building relationship marketing teams. This is why corporations are building customized communities based on customer needs and competitors’ shortcomings.

Eleftherios Hatziiannou writes, “Marketers spent fortunes every year for marketing research and data to understand precisely who their target group is, what they want and where they can reach them. Today people publicly say what they want by using social media. Wouldn`t it make sense to learn how to participate in this new kind of marketplace and thereby turn conversations into commerce?” (SOURCE: http://www.peopleizers.com)

THE DEEPER REALITY WITHIN CORPORATIONS: An organization that moves away from email to internal communications networks, such as Salesforce Chatter, Yammer or Sharepoint is an organization that gets the value of relationship marketing. In addition, such an organization gets the value of knowing the context in which an employee/customer is complaining.

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, writes, “Collaboration takes more than the idea of Facebook behind a firewall. This is about aligning people around a common vision, to encourage engagement beyond the teams you know, to create inside and outside experiences that matter to employees, customers, and partners. Enterprise social networks represent the technology to bring your vision to life as they are merely tools that mimic the way that people connect and communicate in the real world.” (SOURCE: What’s the Future of Business – http://www.wtfbusiness.com)

It’s one thing to have an email, a name and a role in our marketing database. And then to blast a prescribed formula to segmented lists. It’s a far deeper action to have a complaint, a context AND an email, name and role. When an organization has EVERY complaint out there about a competitor/themselves PLUS the current contact info for those who are complaining, they have an opportunity to engage in conversations with those complainers one-to-one. This is called relationship marketing.

“We created a contextual social space where people interested by a topic (in this case the World Economic Forum – http://weflive.com/kpmg) could follow what what said about it and the brand was opening a discussion channel in this precise context,” writes Nicolas Dengler of Shore.li, http://www.shore.li

The question is whether they will use such information in a way that the customer truly gets and wants to respond to. Will they mobilize their marketing team to offer solutions one-to-one in social comment threads? Or will they simply do another email blast?

Ted Rubin, a world expert in relationship marketing, writes, “Creating the opportunity for customers to share via a social platform allows people to give feedback/suggestions real-time and therefore increases the brand benefit exponentially.” (SOURCE: http://www.tedrubin.com/blog/)

When asked about the difference between corporations running email blasts and those running Relationship Marketing campaigns, Giles Palmer, CEO of Brandwatch, the world’s premier social media monitoring service, said, “The answer’s obvious, isn’t it? The difference between email marketing and relationship marketing reminds me of a guy driving a car around a town centre with a big microphone screaming their message out versus someone walking through the crowd shaking people’s hands and talking WITH them. If the broadcast message is funny or informative, ok, it’s a way to get to a large number of people quickly. But if it’s not, it’s just noise. And who wants to be remembered as the noisy guy in the room.” (SOURCE: Personal call with Giles Palmer of Brandwatch, April 2013)

This transition from email blasts to relationship marketing IS the future of marketing and sales. And it is the next step in moving from a culture that looks at people as digits TO a culture that sees people as people.

SOLUTIONS:
Solutions for corporations to build relationship include (in order):

a) an audit of all complaints/feedback about a product/service (using listening tech, such as Social Media Monitoring tools),
b) a creation of responses internally and/or with the help of a content-marketing agency,
c) the assignment of an individual/team to respond within 24 hours to complaints/feedback in ALL social streams and comment feeds,
d) the creation of a “living” database where these responses and the resulting sales are documented.

PURPOSE OF SOLUTIONS:

1) To identify who is complaining about our competitor.
2) To offer solutions to these people directly.
3) To improve our products/services through knowing their complaints.
4) To increase awareness of our comprehensive understanding of this market niche AND of what our customer needs.
5) To increase sales.

IN BRIEF: Social prospects are developed THROUGH providing solutions in social comment feeds. Conversion occurs when a prospect finds the solution satisfactory AND better than a competitor’s solution. The process involves: identification of needs through listening, providing better solutions to these needs than competitors, follow up with people who want to use the better solution.

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY:

1. THE ULTIMATE EMAIL STATS LIST VIA HUBSSPOT:
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33901/The-Ultimate-List-of-2012-Email-Marketing-Stats.aspx

2. THE GRAND GUIDE TO SOCIAL SELLING VIA ELOQUA:
http://www.slideshare.net/Eloqua/the-grande-guide-to-social-selling

3: HOW TO DO RESEARCH IN SOCIAL NETWORKS VIA BRANDWATCH:
http://www.brandwatch.com/knowledge-base/ebooks/

A process for translating insights from social media data into innovative and emotional experiences

“Facebook enables brands to find consumers in a place where they’re already spending a great deal of time. It is also highly precise: I can target users by location, language, education, employment, age, gender, marital status, their likes and interests and the size and profile of their list of friends,” says Sarah Blackman, digital planning and innovation director at Young & Rubicam in Berlin. (SOURCE: http://www.momentumreview.com/uk/how-facebook-stole-our-brands)

“At the end of the day everyone has the same amount of data because data is just people doing stuff. Converting that into insight is the point; that’s where it turns to magic,” Unilever CMO Keith Weed highlights the importance of having minds on the team who are looking for actionable points of departure within the data. (SOURCE: http://www.digiday.com/brands/brands-at-ces-say-dont-be-seduced-by-data/)

THE CLIMATE INTO WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYSTS ENTER: A host of technology companies and techno-geeks are actively engaged in developing applications for segmenting the mass of data flowing in from social networks. Advanced agencies within the WPP network, such as Ogilvy, JWT and Kantar are increasing their analysis staffing. But the staff they are looking for are not just scientists. The social analyst has spent time in the networks and is merging an emotional sensibility with solid critical thinking skills. He believes the Internet is a real living organism and goes to work every day excited to put on his diving gear and encounter the denizens of the deep. She has an awareness that the most subtle shifts in one area of the Internet can cause a flood of awareness and action in unexpected communities, forums and in the minds of critical key influencers.

THE IDENTITY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYST WITHIN THE CORPORATION: Major corporations and agencies must develop teams to leverage masses of social data and turn that data into stories, communities and new products/services. These teams will be filled with individuals who have learned age-old analysis techniques, as outlined in The Handbook of Market Intelligence from the Global Intelligence Alliance – http://www.globalintelligence.com/insights-analysis/handbook-on-market-intelligence. The teams will also be filled with individuals who know a new world is possible and do not bow to old-school oligarchs. I’m talking here about a Pirate Bay http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUHmE5nD3W0 and Hacker mentality. Finally, these are going to be teams with a yen for weaving the digital and the material realms together, such as the GoPro crew http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3PDXmYoF5U and Timothy Ferriss of 4 Hour Work Week fame http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/. Big agencies and corporations need individuals who can lead them out of stagnant forms of pride and into more “experiential” dives into the data.

A PROCESS FOR TRANSLATING INSIGHTS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA DATA INTO EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE: Below is an exact process for translating insights from social media data into innovative and emotional experiences by hand. When we know how to do something by hand, we can begin to implement the machine where possible. In the end, the human is the last mile in effective communication. In the end, one-to-one is the way to transfer messages into the “right” ears.

1. Who do you know that has the most knowledge of a particular market niche? Ask him/her which trade publications, conferences, individuals and companies are the leaders. Make a note of these on a piece of paper with a pen or on a text document on your computer.

2. Get one copy of each mentioned trade publication.

3. Note the websites of each conference, individual and company mentioned.

4. Thoroughly study this initial list from your personal contact. Note down vendors, service providers, advertisers, authors, journalists, products related to these trade publications, conferences, individuals and companies.

5. Look within these same publications and websites for a “Top list” of companies, individuals and products/services.

6. Create an Excel spreadsheet of these trade publications and “Top lists”.

7. Discover the Twitter accounts of these Top list entities and other thought-leaders discovered in the trade publications and websites. An easy way to do this is to type the name of the influencer + Twitter into Google. Or search in the Twitter search field. You can also go the websites of these entities and see if there is a Twitter link at the website.

8. Use a solution that delivers a spreadsheet of all followers of a specific Twitter user, such as Simply Measured or Social Bro. Download the followers of every influencer you have identified in your initial offline research. http://www.simplymeasured.com or http://www.socialbro.com

9. Use the Sort function in Excel to sort the list of followers by Klout, Kred, Peer Index or another influence metric. In the paid version of Simply Measured you will receive the Klout score for every account. http://www.klout.com

10. Create a 2nd copy and sort by Listed (the number of lists an entity is on within Twitter).

11. Use the Filter function in Excel to further narrow these sheets by specific industry-related keywords within the Description (Bio) column.

12. Use the Filter function in Excel to narrow by Location.

13. Combine the filtered results from whatever setting is important to your research question from each sheet into one “Master” workbook.

14. Rank the entities in this workbook by your chosen Influence metric (e.g.- Klout, Kred, Peer Index) or Listed to indicate global awareness and influence scoring.

15. Ideally, you will narrow this massive Master list to 1000 core influencers. Now download the Simply Measured Klout Audience Analysis for every single one of these influencers (thought-leaders). Go through the exact same Sorting and Filtering process and combine into a second Master list (this will be much larger). Now you have two concentric rings of influence you are able to connect into through content-marketing, direct-marketing or other selling strategies.

16. Take this work further by creating a book called “The Core List” in which you reveal core information for each of the 1000 core influencers: their bio from LinkedIn, all of their social links (find these through their Klout profile and further research, their top 100 influential followers within that specific market niche and their contact info (phone, email, address).

17. Now you are ready to study this core list and know who is leading the conversation in your market niche. Take the time you need to listen to each person and jot down observations on what they are saying and working on. Use a leading social monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, Radian6 or Sysomos to augment your listening. http://www.brandwatch.com OR http://www.radian6.com OR http://www.sysomos.com

18. Create a list of 10-20 questions for the top 100 influencers in “The Core List” and send this to them via email. This is your focus group/survey for the market niche and will give you invaluable insight.

19. Create observations on the content produced by members of your core list. Add, as an appendix, all of the data organized by location, relevant social links discovered via listening, and metrics/statistics for the industry. This report, if concisely written and properly documented using best-practice research techniques, will be THE most comprehensive ever done for that market niche.

20. Create an Editorial Calendar with channel-specific ideas related to the industry. This Editorial Calendar ought to include specific marketing actions, online & offline channels for marketing and industry-specific publications in which to publish material. More on editorial calendars and a sample editorial calendar here: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2010/08/content-marketing-editorial-calendar/

21. In addition, create a Media Plan that reveals regions, online channels and audience sizes. This plan will inform an advertising spend. Use SEMRush, a keyword tool for deciding where to spend advertising dollars. http://www.semrush.com/

Deep Transparency

Vivere pericolosamente.

That’s what I mean about deep transparency. Just open the entire enterprise up, all the silos, including the black box, and then let customers work with experts/staff to re-form the brand into what it wants to be. The brand is already alive and it needs to feed. So let the very best people feed it: and that’s going to be the customer.