Social Media Intelligence Redefined

December 3rd, 2008   •   7 comments   

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Brandtology – The World’s First 24×7 Managed Services Provider

As social media platforms and applications gain mainstream prominence, organisations should pay increasing attention to what people are saying about them online. We have seen in recent weeks how social media can either result in a lot of good or a lot of harm. Being oblivious to what your stakeholders think is probably the last thing to do, especially in these times when every customer relationship counts.

This is where social media monitoring, intelligence and participation comes in.
At the invitation of Eddie Chau, founder and CEO of Brandtology, I had the privilege recently of visiting their social media command centre at Changi South and meeting his co-founders Kelly Choo (an avid technopreneur prior to Brandtology) and Alvin Chan (who has a PhD in Neural Networks). Eddie himself is pretty well known in the IT field, having founded and sold e-COP previously (an IT MNC dealing in managed risk and security services), with prior blue chip experience in IT MNCs like IBM.

The first thing which struck me during my visit were the colourful chairs at its conference room. Certainly not your typical blues, greens or greys!

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Eddie gave me a presentation on the full suite of services offered by Brandtology, which positions itself as the “world’s first 24×7 managed brand and reputation services provider”. It offers four basic services: Monitoring, Protection, Promotion and Reconnaisance. The company is able to assist their clients in sussing out what the public is saying about them online, respond to it, assist in seeding ideas in social media networks, and suss out what their competitors are up to.

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Unlike other social media listening tools (many of which you can use for free online like feedreader, Google Alerts, Technorati and so on), Brandtology combines both an automation (with an engine seiving through key words and phrases), and a manual process (involving social media analysts) to ascertain the appropriate meaning and context to online feedback. At its core is a multi-lingual sentiment analysing engine which helps to sort, analyse and chart out key trends that can be made available to clients online anywhere in the world.

A copy of the slides are available here for those keen to find out more.

Brandtology Walter Lim Presentation V1.0
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

One of the interesting points about the company is that it offers clients the option to respond to the feedback in real time through its agents. Much like how call centres do it, albeit in an online fashion.

I suppose this is where the real value lies – you often need real human beings to seive the wheat from the chaff. In Brandtology’s case, what’s cool is that the folks they hire – who are experienced graduates with several years of working experience often in communications or PR (one of them even has 10 years of experience in journalism) – are people who already spend a lot of time online in social media channels and are hence au fait with what’s hot and what’s not in the social media world. From what I hear, Eddie likes to hire people with multi-cultural backgrounds – a plus point to ensure that you are able to discern what people truly mean in different languages and cultures.

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Another unique point about the company’s offerings is that it is able to monitor and trawl not only public sites and blogs but those that may require a log in as well. In other words: popular forums, facebook discussion groups, and others where heated discourse often takes place. Of course, this depends on the level of privacy offered. Naturally, you can’t place a sensor on everything in cyberspace, so an 80/20 rule applies.

If you are keen to find out more about them, do contact them through this page.

(Update: Eddie clarified that their hires are experienced working adults with a communications/PR background, and also on the issue of accessing private sites which I have reflected above).

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7 comments

  1. Benjamin Koe
    posted on Dec 04, 2008 at 3:12 AM

    As a social media consultant, I have always had doubts about social media monitoring systems. For them to be truly effective, wouldn’t they need to index the web like Google does?

    I’m beginning to think that all we need is Google Alerts set up to email your smartphone. That’s 24/7 monitoring on the world’s largest web index for free. And don’t you already have a PR agency to react to any pickup of critical issues?

  2. posted on Dec 04, 2008 at 5:51 AM

    Hi Walter, this article really got me thinking and i have blogged about your post and brandtology as well.

    Hope you dont mind my frank comments and analysis and i want to add that i enjoy your blog very much.

    Melvin

  3. posted on Dec 05, 2008 at 3:44 AM

    Thanks Walter for the post and thanks for all the comments so far. Let me clarify some information in Walter’s post first.

    We hire people for the Social Media Analysts role who have mass communication degrees/diplomas; most of who have past working experience in relevant industries.

    Hi Ben, thanks for your thoughts on Social Media Monitoring Systems that need to have a Google-sized index in order to be effective. In our experience with talking to our customers, we have found that they do not need breath alone but also depth of the information. We have found that listening to the correct channels where people are saying something of value to the companies is more important. This is well said by Andrew Frank from Gartner in your blog post comment. Also, I don’t think anyone wants (at least our customers don’t want) to be getting Google Alerts 24×7 on their mobile phones. It will be simply too distracting and takes away any valuable time to do real strategic work.

    Hi Melvin, we agree with you that eavesdropping is not a form of communication, so that’s why we also have other services to help companies engage their current/potential users. I have posted a response to your blog post. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    We’re always keen to receive feedback and how to further improve our services to better serve our customers. Thanks once again for all your thoughts.

    Kelly Choo (Co-founder & Product Development)
    brandtology.com

  4. posted on Dec 05, 2008 at 3:53 AM

    Hi Melvin,

    I have posted a response on Walter’s blog as I can’t seem to comment on your blog post.

    Thanks for your views on our services… It would be rather cool if we were a spy services company helping companies to spy on people/sites. 🙂 We only listen to information that is in the public domain while spying would infer discovery of confidential information, which we don’t.

    For the first step, we help companies effectively listen to relevant conversations, which is already done manually and painfully (through RSS feeds, searching Google, etc) by many companies we spoke to. This of course is only the first step, which many companies are just comfortable staying in.

    People who complain unfortunately do it all over the Internet. As much as we would like them to all come to a centralized controlled setting, the reality is that they would go anywhere to post in their “natural environment”. If they feel comfortable in Facebook, they will complain or create a group there. If they frequent forums, they would most likely post something in that forum.
    As a second step, the more forward-looking companies would also engage the community as you have rightly pointed out. They can do it themselves, get a PR company (in which we usually partner with) or directly engage us to do it. Monitoring is just a baseline that they need to gather feedback on whether their outreach is working or not. If not, how are they going to strategize to improve on it. This is really the “web-wide business intelligence” they need to effectively gather and strategize upon.

    About our sentiment analysis methods, we have found that technology alone (at least those we researched on globally) can never be accurate enough to just trust the sentiment rating. Our respond to this “lack of highly trusted information” is to couple it with human + technology. Our Social Media Analysts (SMA) all have degrees/diplomas in mass communications and have been rating sentiments for traditional media previously. We have adapted that to suit our technology where the SMA would look at the topic being monitored and objectively re-confirm if the technology rated it correctly or not (thus training our system).

    You are absolutely right that most companies (especially Asian based ones) are scared to death of social media because of the openness and transparency the web brings to the table. The silver lining is that we are starting to see companies evolving and accepting these engagement concepts. The whole industry benefits and the end users (like you and me) will enjoy a truly open conversation with the brands/companies they use.

    I look forward to that day as I think you do too. Our team at Brandtology is happy to engage further in these discussions.

    Kelly Choo (Co-founder & Product Development)
    brandtology.com

  5. posted on Dec 05, 2008 at 7:46 AM

    Hi, i have replied to Kelly’s comment on my blog. ( comment bug fixed) thanks

    Melvin

  6. Stephan White
    posted on Apr 03, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    The first thing which struck me during my visit were the colourful chairs at its conference room. Certainly not your typical blues, greens or greys!

    Media Monitoring

  7. posted on Oct 27, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    Year 2014 is expected to bring new awareness in users.

    Even if you’re not a Twitter follower, there are other ways to stay connected too Stone Mountain dentist, Dr.

    Social media is about relationships and growing
    trust.

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