TL; DR: Brandwatch, an innovator in the social intelligence space, empowers top brands, including Walmart, Unilever, and IKEA, to make data-based business decisions. Now, the company is joining forces with Crimson Hexagon to bring AI-driven insights to its already robust data analytics platform. With extended capabilities, personalized customer support, and a partnership with Twitter, Brandwatch is giving companies a fighting chance to appeal to disparate audiences in an increasingly divisive social media environment.
Just 15 years ago, you’d need a wiretap to eavesdrop on the intimate conversations of others. Today, all you need is a web browser.
The advent of social media has made it normal to put your innermost thoughts on blast to a massive audience of strangers. For brands looking to secure unsolicited, brutally honest feedback on their products and services, there’s no better resource.
But with multiple social media platforms and billions of interactions per day, interpreting that data in a meaningful way proves challenging. To make sense of it all, companies like Brandwatch are serving up intelligent software solutions designed to track conversations and provide actionable insight.
Brandwatch Founder Giles Palmer came up with the idea more than 10 years ago in Brighton, England.
“He thought it would be beneficial to pull brands out of the dark in terms of what people are saying about them,” said Kellan Terry, PR Data Manager at Brandwatch. “If people on social networks are talking about your products, services, and goods, you want to take that feedback and use it to make better business decisions, enhance customer service, and inform product strategy.”
Brandwatch makes that process a breeze with high-quality data from social media platforms, blogs, forums, news outlets, and review sites presented in a way that helps users quickly identify trends. The company’s rich data pools and customized support offerings help companies maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly divisive social and political atmosphere. Now, with the merger of Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon, the newly integrated company is bringing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to an already flexible and robust platform.
Better Together: Expanded Capabilities Through Integration
Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon were both industry leaders in social intelligence before the merger, making the partnership all the more powerful.
“We think this is a match made in heaven,” Kellan said. “We’ve been competing against Crimson Hexagon for a long time and have great respect for them. For companies looking at serious social listening solutions, there were only two choices before the merger: us and Crimson.”
Kellan told us the strengths and weakness of the two companies complement each other well. Brandwatch excels in flexible information handling, an intuitive user interface, and quality data. The company’s flagship products, Brandwatch Analytics and the Vizia platform, provide access to robust data sets and bring insights to life. Crimson Hexagon, on the other hand, brings extensive historical data and 11 years of investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to the table.
“We’re looking to take the best of both worlds and bolster each others’ offerings, which will run separately for a while until there is a clear path to integration,” Kellan said. “We understand that our clients chose Brandwatch for a reason, as did Crimson’s clients, so we want to gradually enhance both product offerings while being conscious of all the customers and clients we serve.”
In the meantime, both companies will streamline their processes to free up time for engineers and developers. “That’s what excites us the most — the opportunity to create things that our clients want to see, but don’t know are possible,” Kellan said.
The Power of Insight in an Increasingly Divisive Social Environment
When it comes to politics, neutrality has long been the name of the game for businesses trying to remain in good graces with a majority of consumers. But in today’s politically charged climate, silence has become a stance of its own — and a growing number of customers are demanding businesses speak up.
Kellan’s job at Brandwatch entails providing businesses with data on corporate communications as well as the latest headlines. Over the past three years, he’s witnessed social media platforms become hot spots for ideological debate.
“When I first started here, I spent my time quantifying the social media responses to things like Starbucks’ latest Frappuccino, Instagram’s new logo, and Spotify’s color change,” he said. “Nowadays, it’s a bit more divisive — and I say that with a grin because it’s actually quite a bit more divisive.”
Unsurprisingly, the 2016 presidential elections raised the heat index of social media conversations. “After the election, brands started taking a stance — whether purposefully or not,” he said. “Almost anything they say or do can backfire and cause a public outcry.”
Brandwatch is the fire alarm that notifies businesses of those offenses so they can react swiftly and effectively. Walmart, Microsoft, IKEA, Unilever, and other leading retailers trust the company’s analytics platform to do just that. By spotting potential issues through detailed information available in real time and accessible around the globe, they’re far more likely to protect their brands.
Customized Support Includes In-Person Learning Sessions
Brandwatch takes customer onboarding seriously. Access to a professional social intelligence platform is an investment, and the company intends to help businesses make the most of each dollar spent. That’s why its social intelligence experts provide a variety of programs dedicated to helping users grow, maintain, and interpret data.
“Here at Brandwatch, we have a pretty serious onboarding process, and that can be as in-depth or as lighthanded as you want it to be,” Kellan said.
The company’s on-demand video courses equip businesses with the skills they need to get started with the Brandwatch Analytics platform in just a few hours. Online and onsite educational courses help broaden knowledge, while certification courses empower users to become accredited experts.
“We think that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to get to know our products that you’ll see the value that they bring,” Kellan said. “It would be nice to break down human conversations and interactions with a click of a button, but that’s rarely how it goes, especially when you’re thinking about the nuances of languages, whether it be slang or sarcasm.”
Based out of the company’s New York offices as well as its headquarters in the UK, the company’s training specialists are available to provide in-depth guidance on a range of topics. Private courses tailored to customer need are helpful for clients old and new looking to address complex, brand-related concepts and benefit from advanced training.
“We strive to be extremely flexible and eager when working with our clients,” Kellan said. “We don’t hesitate to put our people on a flight to be in the same room as our clients when they’re using our products. We hope they learn how to use them as well as anyone who works at Brandwatch itself.”
Access Rich Data Through Brandwatch’s Twitter Partnership
As one of the most popular social media sites around, Twitter is a treasure trove of consumer information. The social media platform has 330 million monthly active users worldwide who are responsible for sending 500 million tweets a day. With this kind of reach, it makes sense that today’s businesses are turning to the platform to make key decisions.
As a Twitter Official Partner, Brandwatch provides customers with complete access to Twitter data streams and helps them turn that information into actionable insight. “We are one of a handful of Twitter Official Partners, which gives us an extensive level of access to Twitter data that a lot of our competitors don’t have,” Kellan said.
To obtain a Twitter Official Partner badge, a company must undergo a selective review process in which their solutions are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure a quality client experience. In turn, partners receive early access to the newest Twitter Data offerings.
“Brandwatch’s ability to quickly spot global trends, easily identify audience insights, and preemptively track Twitter for crises makes it an invaluable solution for brands today,” Twitter COO/CFO Anthony Noto said in a press release. “We’re proud to strengthen our partnership with Brandwatch, bringing Twitter’s best data platform into Brandwatch’s suite of analytics to solve real business challenges.”
In addition to its official partnership with Twitter, Kellan said Brandwatch has proprietary data crawlers covering Facebook, Instagram, and 90 million other sources. “It’s something that’s unique to this industry, and we’re very proud of it,” he said.
With that many sources, it’s easy to see why analytics tools like the ones offered by Brandwatch are needed.