Monitor what’s being said about you

Brand reputations are forged every day, every hour and every second as consumers try, test and buy products, and share their experiences on social media.

Keeping up to date with this unfolding commentary is essential for brand management in the internet age. Online media is an important tool that scours the internet for mentions of a brand name or company and analyses the sentiment and context in which it is being discussed.

Monitoring company Meltwater has created algorithms that scan 100 million documents and two trillion searches every day to analyse the online media for 24,000 companies globally. This involves tracking online news and editorial, social media, broadcast and print to provide real-time data to brands which can be interpreted in an instant. This helps businesses identify signals about their brand reputation, and take actions to remedy problems and amplify successes.

But online monitoring goes much further than listening in on consumers’ conversations, and measuring online sentiment and reputation.

As businesses become increasingly data-driven, media monitoring is turning into a key management tool for making board-level decisions. The business world is shifting its focus from internal data to external data. Internal data from databases and surveys, sales and financial performance are lagging performance indicators, the results of activities and investments from the past. To understand what will happen in the future, businesses need to explore the internet for data and insight.

Making corporate decisions based on internal data is like looking in a car’s rear-view mirror. To understand what is happening on the road ahead, you need to look at the external data.

Every business, consumer and entrepreneur leaves digital breadcrumbs which indicate the path they are taking. Companies can use online monitoring to pick up on these signals and interpret them.

The wealth of online data available about the broader economic environment is transforming the business world. Online monitoring empowers companies to find data about the tactics and strategies of competitors, about emerging disruptive technologies and about the transformational forces on whole categories.

To understand what will happen in the future, businesses need to explore the internet for data and insight

Locating and interpreting that external data can give companies a huge advantage over their competitors. For instance, they can collect online data on the hiring strategies of their rivals by monitoring their job ads or finding out about expansion plans by observing real estate purchases and sales.

Imagine starting every day with an update on the global developments of your sector and activities of competitors, rather than having to wait several weeks to see the effects of those developments on your sales.

At Meltwater this use of external data to inform decision-making is referred to as “outside insight” and it will be a key driver of business strategy.

Online media monitoring allows companies to observe changes to the entire online ecosystem as they make decisions. If they raise their marketing spend, they can see how their clients react in real time. If they launch a new product, they can measure the ripples it creates in the market. The internet allows businesses to see how the entire ecosystem is moving and adapting to every move. Business is becoming like a massive online A/B testing exercise.

One of the great benefits of online monitoring is that it acts as a powerful tool for benchmarking the performance of a brand or company against its rivals. A company may observe that a third of online comments about its brand are negative. But this only makes sense when compared to its nearest rivals. If over half of the competitor’s online commentary is negative, this indicates that the company is doing better than its competitive set.

Online monitoring is about tracking leading performance indicators, such as brand reputation and customer satisfaction, and benchmarking these against the market. This will be the key to making better informed decisions which create value and is rapidly becoming the route to competitive advantage in the digital era.

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