Perspective

Data doesn’t lie: Read how top brands use data to spot trends, read minds, and improve products

Used well, social listening can be the key to a successful product launch.

For brands and marketers, customer data is like oxygen – nobody survives very long without it. And there's no richer supply of customer data than on social media. Used intelligently, this data can help shape campaigns, inspire new products, and drive business strategy.

Few organisations understand this better than Brandwatch (). Headquartered in the south of England but with offices from Stuttgart to Singapore, Brandwatch provides social intelligence to some of the largest companies in the world. When American Airlines, Dell, Whirlpool, or Walmart want to know what their customers are thinking, they turn to Brandwatch.

The Brandwatch Analytics and Vizia platforms collect and analyse millions of conversations each day from all over the public web – sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube, plus thousands of forums, blogs, and news sites. These tools allow brands and agencies to see not only who these people are and what they’re talking about, but also how engaged they are with a brand and how that sentiment changes over time. Forward-thinking organisations can use this data to pinpoint new markets, identify key pain points, reduce consumer friction, and improve product design.

From creating new service offerings based on customer feedback to tracking conversations about baked goods and TV shows, here are three ways Brandwatch is putting data to work for brands.

LateRooms offers custom customer care.

The difference between merely adequate service and superlative customer care online often boils down to data. By parsing real-time data from thousands of Tweets and forum posts, brands can understand what customers want and respond in a timely manner.

LateRooms.com (), a last-minute hotel booking service with more than 65,000 properties across the UK and Europe, deployed Brandwatch's tools to monitor what travellers were saying across Twitter, looking for keywords associated with travel, as well as purchase intent.

By conducting topic extraction and sentiment analysis, LateRooms was able to identify relevant conversations from people looking to book a holiday, then step in with advice and tips. This was the genesis of the LateRooms Concierge (), a personalised travel recommendation service.

Now, when travellers Tweet to the Concierge, looking for a property with an on-site gym or a room on the Left Bank for under €50 a night, they get an immediate response with suggestions.

Of all enquiries to the brand's Concierge service, a substantial 30% go on to become sales. With this stat alone, the LateRooms team proved social data can lead to a solid ROI.

Grupo Bimbo discovers new markets.

Grupo Bimbo (), a $14 billion baked goods company based in Mexico City, is behind some of the most beloved brands in the world. If you've ever enjoyed a Sara Lee brownie or an Entenmann's doughnut, you've eaten a product made by Grupo Bimbo.

But in mid to late 2015, Bimbo had a problem. One of its most well-known products, Marinela's Gansito cake, was dropping in popularity. Using Brandwatch Vizia, Bimbo's agency Vector B noticed a steady decline in Gansito's share of the social conversation surrounding baked goods.

At around the same time, Bimbo had introduced Gansito Red Velvet, a variation on the traditional recipe that had remained unchanged since 1957.

Bimbo released the new cake flavour in the United States but not in Mexico, fearing a backlash from lovers of the original recipe. Instead, Vector B discovered that Mexican consumers were outraged that Red Velvet was available in the US but not at home; it even became a trending topic on Twitter.

Vector B proposed a simple solution: introduce Red Velvet to Gansito's loyal fans south of the border. But Bimbo hadn't budgeted for a new market rollout and didn't have enough of the new cake in production to meet demand. So Vector B had to get creative – teasing the new product heavily on social media and sparking conversations in the limited markets where Red Velvet would be sold.

The strategy worked. Gansito's share of the online conversation rose from just over 29% in December 2015 to nearly 32% by the following March – receiving nearly 10 times the mentions of competing products.

And despite being available only in Mexico City and Guadalajara, Red Velvet boosted Gansito cake's overall sales by 7% in just eight weeks. The brand had recovered, thanks to the careful application of social data.

"The Vizia platform is instrumental in helping us turn complex information into something easier to digest," says Patricia Medina, head of strategic planning for Vector B. "That allows the data to have an impact on both brand communication and the business."

Viceland hones in on its audience.

Launched in the US in March 2016, Viceland TV was an immediate hit among its target audience of mostly male millennials. But how would its mix of obscenity-laced, marijuana-friendly programming translate across the pond when it landed in the UK?  

Vice Media () asked Brandwatch to find out. Using data from Twitter, the company's analysts first identified readers of the Vice website, then compared them against millennials and the general public. It also analysed the social conversations of US Viceland viewers.

For example, visitors to Vice.com talked about MTV (47%) more often than the general public did (33%), and were more likely to discuss "Game of Thrones" (31%) than other millennials (22%). This data helped Vice Media to optimise its marketing and promotion efforts.

For all three groups, Brandwatch discovered that using short memorable hashtags (like  for “Celebrity Big Brother”) boosted conversation volumes for each show, inspiring Viceland to create and promote similar hashtags for its shows.

It identified the show US Viceland viewers talked about most ("Gaycation," an LGBTQ-themed travel show), which Vice.com used to shift its editorial focus, creating more content around the “Gaycation” hosts, Ellen Page and Ian Daniel. Brandwatch also discovered that increasing Twitter conversations between show hosts and viewers helped Viceland find new audiences.

Overall, the social data allowed Vice Media to create a profile of likely UK viewers of Viceland that differed in significant ways from US viewers, allowing it to choose which shows to emphasise and the best ways to spark conversations around them.

“At Brandwatch we're passionate about the power of social data intelligence and the impact it can have in the process of smarter, faster, more customer-focused decision-making,” says Pat Phelan, global EVP of customer success. “We've built a global organisation that is obsessively focused on ensuring our customers are getting the best out of their Brandwatch relationship and helping them truly embrace the wealth of insight that social data offers.”