Archive for August, 2011
Okay..we’re guilty! Ever since Social Media became mainstream, we research boffins have been spending way too much time on Facebook and Twitter…all in the name of ‘R&D’. At least we’re doing it in an open and gentlemenly manner, without the dodgy fake moustache, trench-coat, and binoculars. That’s just way too creepy!
Recently, we’ve been experiencing a huge shift of focus towards listening to Social Media..diligently, reactively, in an engaging manner, and pouring over the numerous analytical touchpoints which are now shaping ‘Research 2.0’. At Pulse, we are continuing to push the digital envelope on where and how we see the industry evolve..Here’s a sneak-peak;
First of all, we all understand the value of ‘early-adopters’, ‘connectors’, and ‘influencers’…brand ambassadors that can make or break a brand. Some of our analytic tools focus on how we can pin-point specific ‘influencers’ as such, allowing us to quantify an ‘influence score’ while also identifying that individual based on algorithms that calculate their following, and retweeting power.
The example below illustrates such an inluence score by topic, which applies to all platforms, and across all languages…a very useful method of identifying such lead-influencers to drive your ‘brand message’.
The example below in contrast, illustrates the clout of a brand itself, based on the Star-power it possesses in attracting ‘mentions’, ‘likes’, and ‘comments’. The amplifier effect allows a brand to understand if their messaging is fully-optimised, and whether or not they are being advertised on the right mediums. Such analytics now apply across the board to media-buying, planning, product placement, research and so on.
Competitive Analysis and Profiling 2.0
Most importantly, analytical tools which provide a clear positioning of your Social Media presence amongst a competitive-set is key. In the ‘old’ days, this would be called ‘Competitive Analysis’.
Previously, the real challenge for Research 2.0 was profiling any form of measurement with actual profile data, unless a very sophisticated and usually costly consumer panel was established…somewhat still a challenge for the Internet Measurement agencies using cookie based applications. This said, we are now able to access very deep levels of profiling..especially on platforms such as Facebook etc. where users are extremely open in discussing their preferences, profile, dissatisfaction etc. Such profiling matched with the ‘digital stream’ has enabled market research 2.0 to flourish.
So, next time you log onto a social network..remember that someone may be stalking you. Hopefully without the creepy binoculars.
What has Pulse been up to recently?
We’ve recently reached a sixth year milestone, which in a traditional technology life-cycle means that we’ve finally reached some level of maturity…I call it ‘reaching puberty’. The Market Research landscape has evolved significantly over the past 6 years, seeing huge adoption towards online research as a mainstream technology, experimentation with Social Media research and measurement, mobile and location based research etc. etc. All of these activities underpin our own evolution as a ‘Research Process Outsourcing’ provider, to a full-fledged ‘Digital Research Agency’.
How have you managed the evolution?
So..we’ve basically grown pretty rapidly, and had to navigate and reinvent ourselves several times to remain relevant, and ahead of the curve. We have attracted different levels and types of talent along the way which is integral, but also externally project ourselves as a leading-edge technology provider, identifying new methods of collecting and measuring insights, then pairing such solutions to the right clients. Previously it was the other way around.
How has Social Media impacted Market Research?
Massively! While we consider ourselves experts in this space, we are also grappling with the numerous possibilities that Social Media presents to us, and more importantly our clients. Facebook for example has shifted our panel recruitment and engagement mode fully towards a platform which reaches n=750m highly engaged consumers, as opposed to the traditional ‘Online Panel’ engagement which was the ‘norm’ only a few years ago.
To put this concept into reality, we have built numerous applications on top of Facebook, to fuse our www.planet-pulse.com survey community, with Facebook, effectively allowing us to reach a much larger pool of respondents globally. The example below is our Facebook API called ‘Pulse Connect’;
Pulse recently launched ‘Pulse Labs’ to focus on innovation, can you explain more?
Pulse Lab’s is the result of a dedicated need towards R&D in the area of future solutions to our industry. We believe that we’re paving the way with such innovation, which will hopefully keep us ahead of the pack. Being smaller and more nimble helps, allowing us to invest in the right technologies, IP, and people to ensure we develop futuristic, profitable, and highly relevant solutions moving forward.
It seems that Pulse is now also focussed on building Branded Communities or MROC’s (Market Research Online Communities) for some global brands. Can you share more?
Yes, this is true. We believe that we have had a six year head-start in this area, first with building our own MROC which is widely known as www.planet-pulse.com . Such expertise helped us expand such knowledge and geographic reach into assisting large global brands to build MROC’s of their own throughout Asia.
The beauty of such a solution is that we power the entire end-to-end process, from portal development, recruitment, to ongoing research…allowing our clients to focus on what they do best, while reducing their overall outward research investments over time. Most of the largest Fortune 500 brands have established some form of MROC in North America and Europe, and we are in a unique position of assisting them for their Asia-Pacific segments. We anticipate that this activity will be a major contributor to our revenue moving forward.
We believe that this is the direction in which the industry will continue to evolve towards, where crowdsourcing, netnography, tribal swarming, location-based mobile research, and data visualisation etc. become the analytics models of tomorrow. Branded communities are really where the future lies, as the industry shifts from an emphasis of asking (monologue) to an emphasis on listening and collaborating (dialogue). We feel strongly that such community based research is only beginning to achieve its true potential and will continue to see explosive growth in the years ahead. We anticipate that this activity will be a major contributor to our revenue moving forward.
What other products are you anticipating to be ‘hot’ in the Asian research landscape over the next 12 months?
Well, besides the obvious..MROC’s and Social Media Measurement are extremely hot right now. We are bolting-on the latter with almost every research program we are engaged in. Clients need to hear what their consumers are saying and thinking about them online, and reacting to such ‘buzz’ very quickly. This is the digital world that we live in today, and this is also an indication of the evolution of research. We are no longer in a situation of simply driving surveys down a consumers throat, but more so opening a dialogue with them, and an interaction with the brands that we represent.
We have launched a portfolio of products to fulfil the entire digital eco-system.
Secondly, with the huge adoption of mobile smartphones in the region..there is no doubt that mobile related research will start to take shape. Location-based, NFC, Facebook Mobile Groups etc. will start unfolding and presenting new opportunities to the research industry. It’s just a matter of how innovative and imaginative we as researchers are willing to be.
What is your ‘feel’ on the global economic outlook for 2012, and Asia in particular?
So, it’s no secret how badly some of the largest economies are doing at the moment. The Euro is in tatters, and the US economy on the brink of a major disaster. We are fortunate to be focussed on Asia, a region which has proved to be extremely bullish throughout various depressions..rebounding very quickly from the numerous challenges thrown our way.
I am still extremely confident that Asia will perform strongly throughout 2011 and 2012, regardless of what happens to the Eurozone, and/or the US economy. I say this without necessarily skewing my confidence on the larger Asian economies such as China and India, but also the next tier Asian Miracles such as Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. ‘We are currently in the right place at the right time’.