Companies have much less control over the narrative of their brands than in previous days. Social media gives customers a pen to author the narrative and more importantly – an audience. Your customers probably have more control over the narrative than you do. It’s not as much about what you say about your brand these days as it is what your customers are saying and where they are saying it.
It is important to realize that customers are writing part of the narrative, but it’s not cast in stone. It keeps changing as events unfold. Rather than trying to control the narrative, brands should be looking to direct and influence it. This is important to understand and master because of the frequency, subject, and sentiment of the discussion about a brand in social and news media influences perception of the brand.
Before you can begin to direct the narrative, you need to understand it and what is driving it if you hope to influence the direction of the discussion. This requires a method to monitor what is being discussed about your brand. Not just the subject, but the frequency, sources, sentiment and drivers. There are a variety of social media tools to help with monitoring your brand discussion, but social media is only part of the story.
You also need to pay attention to news media. Not only does news about a brand influence your customers, but social media allows for fast and easy sharing of news. Think about your own Facebook or Instagram feed. It’s not all birthday party pictures and cat videos. People share news about the things that interest them from sports to politics to products and services. News about your brand is just as important to monitor and influence as are social media discussions.
That is where the challenge lies. There are no tools that thoroughly track both social media and news media. There are tools that attempt to do so, but they tend to be strong in one area and weak in the other. On top of that, you must use those tools regularly to really learn how to get the full value out of them. Most knowledge workers do not have the time to learn DIY research tools to the degree that is required to be effective at using them. They are too busy trying to launch and run marketing programs, brand strategies, and customer experience initiatives.
At ENGINE, we invest time and money into investigating and acquiring the best tools for social and news media monitoring. We can show you how much and what kind of coverage your brand is getting in social and news media and compare it to your competitors. Our media audits identify, quantify and qualify social and news media coverage of your brand. They examine coverage by media source, subject matter, sentiment, and news drivers. Our media audits can be launched before and after any campaigns you may execute to see how the campaign affects the evolving narrative in social and news media.
We leverage these best-in-class tools for social media and news media and put them in the hands of our analysts that know how to leverage the full value of these tools. We deliver thorough audits and tracking that provide a strong understanding of how the brand, topic, or industry was covered over the period and offers a baseline for future analysis of media audits. Our audits inform you of the narrative your customers are developing of your brand so you can integrate that knowledge into your strategies to influence the narrative in the direction you want.
Download the pdf to learn more about Media Audits from ENGINE’s Accelerated Intelligence service. Already have a strong understanding of your brand narrative but need other help? ENGINE can do deep dives on competitors to inform the development of your competitive strategy. Need to determine if your brand or solution can extend into a new market? ENGINE can show you how your brand stacks up to competitors, if you have the right to play, and if your solution has a competitive advantage. Trying to figure out how to acquire customers in a new market? ENGINE’s creative, digital ad placement, and customer experience solutions will give you the tools to acquire and keep new customers. Learn more at www.enginegroup.com.
About the Author
Brian Reuter is Senior Vice President of Engine’s Accelerated Intelligence Service and Expert Engine. At Engine, Brian specializes in evaluating new opportunities for Engine Insights and Engine Insights clients. Starting as a Research Analyst, Brian worked his way up to Vice President and currently is leading Engine Insights’ Accelerated Intelligence practice. Brian manages a team that effectively leverages published information and expert insight to enable clients to make fact based decisions on innovation opportunities, competitive environments, new markets, trends, and customer insights. Brian is known for client-focused business development, marketing, and research design. He has developed and implanted overall business unit strategies for sales process improvement, marketing, client experience improvement, staff skills development, process and productivity improvement, and adjacent market growth. Brian was promoted to his first director-level position for continual initiative in expanding his assigned role of researcher to full project development and management. That type of motivation, paired with creative process improvement, has defined his entire career.
If you’d like to talk to Brian about how you can integrate trends into your strategy, please email him at email@example.com.