Microsoft word - turner_susurro articke for layout 06-16-09.doc

Do You Know What Everyone Is Saying About You?
By Carl Turner, VP, Research and Analytics Director
Psychologists call it the cocktail party effect. Imagine you are a guest at a huge party.
You're talking to a group of friends and you're deeply engrossed in conversation. You
have no difficulty hearing your friends although other conversations are occurring in the
room. Suddenly, you hear your name mentioned in a conversation across the room.
Your attention shifts. You begin to focus on that conversation and try to understand
what the speaker is saying about you. Your ability to listen selectively and focus in on
important conversations demonstrates a social phenomenon known as the cocktail
party effect.
Now, apply the party scenario to the world of social media. Imagine a huge party is
being thrown on the Internet. Your brand is merely one of a number of guests at the
party mingling among your consumers. Your brand is talking to a small group of
consumers at the party (ie, traditional online market research). Another group of
consumers at the party starts to talk about your brand and your brand begins to become
the topic of multiple conversations. Is your brand listening the way you would?
Unfortunately, many companies are "late to the party" when it comes to listening to what
consumers are saying online about their brands.
Whether you are listening or not, important conversations about your brand are taking
place in chat rooms, discussion boards, and sites hosting user-generated content (ie,
YouTube and flickr). You may not be listening, but your consumers are. Your
consumers rely upon online conversation to acquire information about your brand. They
look to online conversation to communicate their experiences with your brand to others.
They even use online conversation to understand how others feel about your brand. In
real life, failing to overhear what others are saying has little impact, but in a world that
thrives on social media, missing even one conversation about your brand can be
Take for example, the viral backlash of moms against a recent Motrin campaign. Motrin
released an ad targeting moms known as "baby wearers" who sometimes experience
back pain from the weight of child carriers used to keep their children close to their body
(see the ad below).
The ad attempted to relate with baby-wearing moms, but fell short. Many mothers found
the ad condescending and critical of mothers. They felt the ad overlooked baby wearers
noble intent of building stronger bonds with their children through carrying them close to
their bodies. The backlash started on Twitter as mothers furiously "tweeted" about the
tone and the message of the ad. The graph below shows that Twitter activity rose
steadily over a 24-hour period and peaked on November 16 2008.
Palio • 260 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 • T 518.584.8924 • F 518.583.1560 The activity on Twitter regarding Motrin resulted in a flurry of online activity including discussion-board posts, chat room conversations, and sites that host user-generated content. The graph below shows the spike in YouTube videos that resulted from the response to the Motrin ad about baby wearing. Palio • 260 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 • T 518.584.8924 • F 518.583.1560 Many of the videos posted on Youtube during this period feature mothers who were angered or insulted by the ads. See the examples below of the responses that were posted. Major publications (like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal) picked up on the buzz and reported the story. Ultimately, Motrin pulled the ad and apologized for its poor taste. Incidents like this can cause irreparable harm to a brand and can alienate an entire category of consumers. In developing the ad, Motrin relied upon research on a small sample of its consumers and did not conduct enough research with the target audience. Motrin neglected to listen to the conversations about their product online. If Motrin had been monitoring social media, they would have been aware of the uptick in conversation and would not have been blindsided by the negative reaction from consumers. If your brand needs to listen more closely to consumers, you should consider Susurro (pronounced soo-sur-oh). Susurro is a social media monitoring tool that was developed by Palio's Research and Analytics department. Think of it as the cocktail party effect applied to online conversations about your brand. Susurro is a proprietary collection process that uses syndicated RSS feeds to reach out and pull conversations from the social media sites frequented by consumers. Susurro captures conversations about your brand, your competitors, and issues related to your brand. Furthermore, it can be used to proactively research topics, issues, or groups of consumers. By quantitatively and qualitatively measuring online discussion and leveraging an in-depth understanding of your brand's challenges, Susurro provides the most comprehensive monitoring of social media available. In fact, the name Susurro is Italian for "full of whispers," referring to the tool's ability to hear and amplify online conversations that are typically unheard by brands. People are talking about your brand. Are you really listening? For more information on Susurro, please contact Carl Turner, VP, Research and Analytics at Palio ([email protected]). All referenced product names, brands, and trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. These trademark holders are not affiliated with Palio nor do they endorse or sponsor Palio, its products, or its communications." Palio • 260 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 • T 518.584.8924 • F 518.583.1560


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