What do your competitors know about you – and what should you know about them?

Digital, Media Intelligence

Purple 20 Apr 2018
5 mins

How can Media Intelligence give you a jump on your competitors? We asked Sarah-Jane Dabarera what businesses need to know about monitoring their activity —  and that of others.

Unless your company has been hiding under a rock, you will know there’s been a revolution in data in recent years. With regards to your organisation’s digital presence, information now exists on everything from instant analytics on your reach per tweet, to better alerts when your business gets a mention in the press. There is a wealth of information available which we call media intelligence.

But data without analysis is just numbers — and it can be confusing for some businesses to know just what they should be looking for, or what monitoring they should undertake.

So we asked Media Officer and media intelligence specialist Sarah-Jane Dabarera what businesses should be considering when evaluating how to get the best results from media  monitoring.

You work with a lot of businesses to help them understand how their brand is performing in the marketplace. What kind of monitoring do businesses often seek?

We find some companies still come to us in search of traditional media monitoring, which is surprising given the current media landscape.

But increasingly businesses are aware of the importance of monitoring digital and social media regularly.

Timeliness is often a critical factor in our clients’ media monitoring requirements. Clients need to get reports as early as possible when something happens, whether it be to keep their staff informed of industry news or to keep track of emerging issues as they evolve.

The other trend we are noticing is the pivot away from companies who only want to monitor for brand mentions.

We’re increasingly seeing that businesses want news relating to their industry, their sector, or even their operating locations.

Companies want to know what is happening with their competitors both locally and in the global market, and track the issues that are keeping them up at night.

I think we will find companies move to monitor more than just company mentions.

If a business isn’t watching how other people talk about them online, on social forums or in the media, what are the risks?

The risk is obvious; you simply won’t know what people are saying about you.

And this isn’t about not knowing what the media’s opinion is; we’re talking about the people who really matter to a business – clients, customers and stakeholders.

Social media is where they are most likely to share their most candid opinions.

If you’re lucky, all you’ll miss is an endorsement that could have been an opportunity for a positive engagement.

If you’re unlucky, though, it could be something less than complimentary, which has the potential to come back and haunt you.

The risk of underestimating the importance of social media monitoring is that you will ultimately end up on the back-foot in a crisis.

Back in 2010, Alan Joyce was quoted saying Qantas didn’t realise there were rumours that one of its A380s had crashed until their share price dropped. With social media monitoring, they could have quashed rumours much faster.

Who has said something questionable about your performance on a social review site? What about an angry customer who misspells your name?

At the end of the day, social media is the voice of your customer and where many people go these days to vent frustrations or sing your praises. So, the question companies need to ask themselves is: Do you really want to miss out on collecting that data?

If someone cares enough to say something online you really should be listening.

There are a host of tools out there for businesses that want to monitor their behaviour. How do they decide?

I’d suggest starting with a detailed scope of what you hope to achieve from your monitoring.

You need to have a granular understanding of what you want monitoring to tell you.

Are you looking for a company scrapbook of traditional media mentions?  

Do you need timely reports on industry developments from niche, digital publications?

Are you in crisis management mode and need hourly reporting on all comments and coverage on all platforms?

Or are you looking for tell-no-lies data like share of voice analysis, sentiment scores or figures about your audience reach?

We can even set up tracking and monitoring of what your competitors are doing – showing a spike in job ads on LinkedIn, for example, or looking to recruit someone in a new market, which might suggest they are planning to expand.  

Once you have a solid understanding of what you want monitoring to achieve, it becomes easier to find the tools that will help you meet those goals.

Purple’s Media Intelligence service is incredibly flexible and we use up to half a dozen different tools depending on the context and needs of a client so we can provide companies with a unique monitoring product that provides the right insights.

What sorts of changes should raise a red flag if a company is monitoring online, social and traditional media?

Knowing what might be triggers of damaging activity depends on the client.

For our regular clients, thought, I can spot something a mile away that doesn’t look right, thanks to becoming familiar with their business, their usual coverage and their priorities.

It is one of the advantages of having a dedicated specialist working for clients every day. Often I will know more about what’s being said about our clients than they do.   

When you are looking at mentions or monitoring data, some significant warning signs would be spikes in reach or sudden falls in sentiment.

These are both red flags that something could be boiling up and heading your way. These can be very sensitive measures, however.

For companies with limited social and traditional footprints, even a few mentions can suddenly muddy your reputation.   

Social and online media is where the storm brews, and by the time it hits traditional media you’re probably already in crisis.

Lastly, how can a business use media intelligence to grow their client base?

Data, data, data.

It’s your friend – especially on social media where it can be extremely revealing!

Without the data provided by media intelligence, how would you know you have a massive audience on Instagram snapping pictures of your product?

Or would you realise that one of the top sources of digital mentions for you is a niche blog with a big and influential following?

Would you know your competitor has started putting hundreds of dollars into Google ad-spend for a new service?

Having the data that reveals these kinds of insights empowers you to transform your strategy and maximises your ROI for the money you invest in communications and marketing.

I mean, what’s the point of pouring hundreds of dollars into Twitter if your audience is actually tagging you on Facebook?

Media intelligence not only provides better data but it can inform vital strategic decisions.

Sarah-Jane Dabarera is the Account Services Co-Ordinator for Purple’s Design and Digital team and has communications experience in the legal, property and innovation and technology sectors. She is  IAP2-certified in community and stakeholder engagement. Contact Sarah-Jane.

Purple’s specialised media intelligence services give you the data, detail and insights you need to drive business decisions. Find out more.