BI incomplete without social data

Read time 4min 20sec

Total business intelligence (BI) is incomplete without social data.

That was the word from Jean Pierre Kloppers, CEO of BrandsEye, speaking yesterday during the ITWeb BI Summit 2014 at the Forum in Bryanston.

"Social is by far the largest consumer data set you will have access to," said Kloppers. "Social data provides the most cost-effective way to gain consumer insights."

As an example of how social data provides useful insights, he said a leading beer brand was doing field research in stores, gathering consumer feedback on an existing product and found that consumers were experiencing foil being located too high on the bottle neck, and that when the bottle was opened the foil was cutting their lips and making the beer taste metallic/like aluminium.

To make the case to its mother brand, the beer brand needed to conduct additional research to ensure a sound case was presented to motivate for re-engineering the packaging of the beer, he said, adding that instead of doing a full study offline, which would be lengthy and expensive, the company turned to social data - "a quick and cost effective way to gather insight to contribute to the offline findings".

The social data presented themes involving foil, aluminium, cut lips and the taste of beer, which fully supported the offline findings, he noted.

Measuring conversations

He is of the view that social data has the ability to accurately measure conversation themes, extent of conversation by topic, positive and negative sentiment, engagement, credibility and mapping the author ecosystem.

According to Kloppers, social data also gives the opportunity to measure the performance and ROI of a brand, marketing department, digital agency and online PR.

"An online monitoring tool will not only monitor brand performance online, but is able to monitor this performance over time," he revealed. "The more accurate this social data is, the more accurate the measurement of the performance over time becomes.

"By measuring performance over time, a brand is able to set benchmarks and KPIs to grow the brand online and monitor the subsequent success of performance. Such examples of metrics to measure performance against include engagement, sentiment and reputation," said Kloppers.

He added that social data also provides improvement of brand loyalty, leading to client retention and sales through better efficiencies.

Giving an example, he said a global sports brand recently saw a consumer, and subsequent employee of the brand, tweet about purchasing a new pair of shoes from the company.

He explained that two other consumers became involved in this conversation, whereby the tweets between them consistently included the sports brand's Twitter handle, yet neither the sports brand, nor the employee who initiated the conversation, got involved.

"The initial consumer to tweet dropped out of the conversation shortly after it started, allowing for the other two to continue their discussion about which running shoe brand was better. They ended up deciding on a competitor's product.

"According to the ZMOT theory, within the Zero Moment of Truth - which is the time between consumer product awareness (through an advert etc) and the point at which the consumer makes the purchasing decision - lies an opportunity for brands to be aware of consumer conversation through their decision-making process.

"This example shows how the opportunity for the brand to get involved on social media and influence this decision, was there, but not taken."

Risk mitigation

Social data also provides the mechanisms to mitigate risk to brand reputation, said Kloppers.

He said a recent customer experience with a coffee from a different coffee house to their usual left them disappointed, so they'd chosen to branch out - "cheat" on the usual.

After expressing this disappointment and having a few other consumers jump on board to discuss their loyalty to either brand, the coffee house in question wittily jumped in on the Twitter conversation, defending their position and turning the conversation around completely, he explained.

"The customer who had initiated the conversation, insulting the coffee house, was so impressed by the company's response that she tweeted twice afterwards, the second time expressing how she now wanted to go buy all the coffee just for the hell of it. A perfect example of being aware of the conversation via social data and using it to your advantage to defend your brand, get involved, and turn the conversation, and sentiment, around."

Kloppers also noted that social data provides strategic insights into competitor activity and market and product trends, both locally and globally.

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