Digital Marketing Research for Reputation Management at Amway

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Social marketing research, social media monitoring social media analytics have become essential tools for companies seeking to identify issues and correct misperceptions in real time. 

Reputation management on global scale requires a combination of social media monitoring software and human intelligence.

Online issues management and sentiment analysis may depend on instant analysis of Twitter conversations around keywords, but human common sense is needed to interpret emotion, sarcasm and slang.  

Social networking research tools represent the latest evolution in the offering of Dow Jones Enterprise Media Group (@DowJonesInsight), a descendant of Factiva media monitoring service, according to Martin Murtland, vice president and managing director of Solutions for Communications Professionals at Dow Jones Enterprise Media. 

Dow Jones today offers a suite of high-tech, customizable analysis function, including social media monitoring   Issues management is also nothing new for Cindy Droog (@cindydroog), APR, senior public relations specialist in Corporate Communications at Amway (@Amway) a Dow Jones client using its services to field an ongoing reputation study in 19 markets per quarter. Amway, along with other direct sales giants like Avon and Mary Kay, have long battled against misperceptions, including that they are akin to illegal pyramid schemes.

What has changed is that Amway now instantly learns of negative conversations in the fifty countries it does business in, and engages with factual arguments in hopes of changing minds in a public forum. They also have learned the value of going beyond reaching out to “influencers” with 1,000 followers in Twitter to engaging those with ten followers, if they think they can win that person over. Cindy and Martin sat down with us in DC at the PRSA International Conference.    

Show Notes:  

2:41 Media monitoring is just the first of four product elements built by Dow Jones for marketing and PR customers that fall under the acronym MADE (for communications success).  M is for media monitoring (Factiva tradition), A for analysis (Dow Jones Insight, listening platform covers social media research and analysis), d for discover (research-on-demand services for issue discovery) and E for engagement via internal communications (a newsletter publishing platform called Editorial Workbench) and external communications (Dow Jones Media Relations Manager, a news-enabled media contact database).  

4:39 Reputation management forms the core of Dow Jones’ value to its client Amway, which uses the Dow Jones product suite to run a reputation study based on real-time conversations in Russia, China, Japan and Germany. Social media strategy for the company is then shaped by observation of the human-technology mix and culture in each market.  

5:54 Web 2.0 research now represents a main method by which Amway achieves opinion mining in the search for brand misperceptions. As the “grandfather” of direct selling, Amway and its PR function are continually grappling with the traditional misperception that the company represents a “pyramid scheme.” The later phrase continues to represent a central keyword in Amway/Dow Jones complex searches along with strategic qualifiers.   

7:23 Sentiment analysis efforts must be efficient to be valuable, a fact that has required Dow Jones technologies to become ever better judges of relevancy.  Without combining the technology with real people in each country, especially as a company seeks to listen to conversations in several languages, true relevancy cannot be measured. Google Translate and Tweetdeck’s translation tools have value for a topline read, but nuances will be caught by native speakers, Droog says. Social media engagement at Amway is shaped by its decision to  empower affiliate PR staff within each market. In Russia, for instance, this approach has helped the company to temper its response to posts with negative, attention-grabbing headlines, but that then go on to praise the company.     

8:54 Social medial monitoring achieves relevancy incorporating human intelligence, even within the tech-driven Dow Jones Enterprise Media Group.  The company tailors each analysis program based on in-depth client conversations, analyst review of a clients’ business objectives, key issues, competitors and markets to determine what they want to measure and why. Text mining technology is then brought to bear as analysts create complex Boolean search strings in the native languages to catch local nuances. Media monitoring packages are then put through a quality assurance processes in Dow Jones labs, and finally, field tested by the client.  Even then, quarterly updates often swap out search ideas, and situations call for on-the-fly searches.  

10:46 Rich text analytics, when automated, can achieve no greater than 60 percent accuracy in terms of determining sentiment, according to some industry sources (see January 29, 2010, podcast featuring Converseon CEO Rob Key). Murtland agrees, but argues that automated analysis is good for is determining broad themes within sentiment and for identifying the highly positive or negative. Dow Jones helps clients improve on those results with services that let clients take and score their own random sample sets, or that enlist Dow Jones to do so when precision is a must.  

14:25 Social media influence measurement is an emerging field, and Dow Jones is tinkering with how to help it mature, says Murtland.  Influence measurement tools like represent a good first step for the industry, but Dow Jones hopes to soon offer tools that navigate tricky questions like whether or the most chatty social media users are the most influential (mentions data from “E-labs.”  Could not find). Under way in Dow Jones labs are efforts to incorporate context into measurement of a blogger’s influence, and to arrive at better measures of an outlet’s combined online and offline influence.  

16:00 Social marketing research helps Amway make the most of its human capital, says Droog. The company began its social media analysis effort with the goal of unearthing global trends, but found it was more important to identify local trends. Social media communities form locally, and most effective conversations are held by real people sharing their passion in each market. Amway was able to steer some local reps away from one-way, declarative marketing messages (we are the best in the world) toward statements more likely to start conversations.  

17:46 Social media policy and related training are among the biggest opportunities, and challenges for the companies.  When effective, both elements can empower a local sales force, but policies crafted at corporate headquarters often do not translate perfectly for 50 local operations.  As a result, Amway has moved toward “trans-creation” of training and policy, working with local offices to shape local versions.  

18:50 Social media listening is the future of customer service, according a blog post by Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst at blog called Web Strategist.  Companies will find clients   with the problems and solve them long before they call customer service.  Amway now fields joint PR/customer service teams that huddle to deal with problems in each market. What has changed is that the teams must solve within minutes customer service problems that they used to have days to think about.   

20:23 Social media analysis tools enable Dow Jones’ clients to reduce signal-to-noise ratios in client monitoring efforts.  This helps them to spot potential risks and opportunities more quickly, with algorithms that catch, not just keywords, but also temporal spikes in their use, and in context.  

23:58 Social media monitoring and analytics are only useful in real time, which makes latency of information a serious challenge for companies like Dow Jones. Murtland’s team speeds things up by using algorithms that decide on which information should be processed at what speed.  A site updated once a week will be less likely to be processed as quickly as one that updates several times an hour. Business intelligence gathering speed at Dow Jones is also accelerated by the company’s experience in delivering trading information into clients’ black box trading systems in a matter of milliseconds.    

29:33 End Podcast    

Show notes optimized by Greg Williams (@gregscience).

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