Reports & Whitepapers Social Media

Habit #3 of Highly Digital Brands — Being Data-Driven

January 4, 2013

This is Part III of a week-long series that explores the seven core attributes of successful brands in the Digital Age. Kate Paulin is Group Director of Insights & Planning at 360i.

In the Digital Age, knowledge is power – and there’s a lot of it. Social media is the world’s largest focus group, as consumers are increasingly sharing their opinions publicly all of the time. The challenge for brands is less about how to access or collect this data and more about how to leverage it. Marketers able to effectively sort through this information will find a wealth of knowledge, consumer insights and new opportunities to inform their marketing decisions and build better relationships with their customers.

What it means to be data-driven

To be data-driven, a brand must always seek an understanding of its consumers’ behaviors, mindsets and motivations at all touch points. Marketers today can identify where their audience is engaging in conversations online and meet them there – listening to them and interacting with them in the spaces they call home.

The result of this could range from optimizing a media campaign based on insights gleaned from advanced analytics to recognizing an untapped demographic talking about your brand. A data-driven insight can even provide the spark to an innovative approach to a larger business challenge.

Why does this matter?

More data is created each day than was created during the entire span of human history up to the year 2000. Consumer insights that were difficult to garner in the past are now at the tips of our fingers, and smart marketers are adjusting their research practices to capitalize on it.

Consumers today expect more from brands than just a high-quality product or service; they expect an experience. The best way to satisfy the demand of consumers and communicate with them in a meaningful way is to harness data to understand their consumer journey and where a brand can fit in.

For example, we recently partnered with a popular juice and bar brand on a social listening initiative aimed at gaining a better understanding of how people viewed its brand and where it had the most opportunity to build upon that connection. Raw data could only hint at general information, so to fill in the gaps, 360i scored social conversations against the Brand CompassSM social listening framework to uncover a much larger story.

The analysis showed that consumers lacked an emotional connection to any brand in the category, revealing a key opportunity for our client to own this untapped space. The brand utilized this core finding to inform its marketing strategy, which focuses on elevating the unique essence and personality of the brand, rather than solely communicating product attributes.

Three keys to being data-driven

1. Develop a tailored social listening program.The Internet is the world’s largest focus group, but the challenge becomes how to mine the information to find succinct, actionable insights that can be used to inform marketing strategy. Marrying quantitative data with human analysis – which provides a strategic lens to the information – is the ideal.Customized research and analytics might manifest as forward-looking trend reports specific to the brand, or daily tactical listening around key conversations and topics. No matter the approach, social listening is a vital part to any brand’s digital health.

2. Adopt a test-and-learn approach for emerging tools. Almost constantly, new platforms emerge to give brands more opportunities to get to know their audiences – often, in a highly cost-effective way. Whether it’s testing a new polling method from Peanut Labs, conducting online ethnographies with GutCheck or turning street interviews into a brand topic video with Snippies, marketers will want to become acquainted with what’s out there. Having a small innovation budget for testing new methodologies will keep your research plans fresh and your brand ahead of the pack.

3. Develop a Digital Health Scorecard. Establishing a framework for evaluating the data and tracking key metrics over time is critical to making the information you collect actionable. A Digital Health Scorecard allows marketers to understand online metrics within a similar context as traditional programs by creating common definitions that can be applied across paid, owned and earned media. 360i has several indexes that measure and weight different KPIs depending on specific program objectives.


Tomorrow, we’ll share Part IV of our “7 Habits of Highly Digital Brands” series. In case you missed them, be sure to read Part I – Being a Skilled Conversationalist and Part II – Being Authentic.

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