Meltwater Acquires Sysomos

We are thrilled to announce that we have been acquired by Meltwater, a pioneer of media intelligence and now Outside Insight. With nearly 20 years of experience analyzing data, Meltwater continues to be a financially stable company serving over 26,000 clients with dedicated, personal service built on the local expertise of 55 offices across six continents.

Over the years we have worked to make Sysomos the leader in social analytics and engagement. The addition of Sysomos to Meltwater enables organizations to analyze social media, news and other human-generated content in one platform, furthering Meltwater’s mission to give businesses the insights from outside data, helping them stay ahead. To read the full press release, please click here.

Sysomos will become the Social Analytics division of Meltwater. Our focus will be to deliver timely and relevant insights to brand and marketing teams. We will support Meltwater’s mission to give businesses insights from external data. We plan to leverage Meltwater’s rich data sources to enhance the Sysomos Platform so brands can collect more meaningful insights across their earned and owned social channels.

We are grateful for the trust so many of you gave us over the years to get us to where we are today. Our team is focused on a common goal of giving you the best social media management and analytics tools to empower you to make smarter business decisions faster, and that will not change. Our commitment to that is stronger than ever during this exciting time. We are looking forward to building an even better platform with the support of Meltwater.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of PR

By now, you’ve probably at least heard about how artificial intelligence, or AI, is on the rise. Depending on what kind of “experts” you listen to, you’ve also probably heard bold proclamations about how AI is either going to save the world or become our future overlords. 

There’s no reason to fear yet… except for these Boston Dynamics robots.

In reality, you don’t need to wait long to see how AI can improve your personal life. From calling a rideshare to arrive in minutes or getting an answer from Siri, AI is already saving us all time and money while making our days more convenient.

But what about when it comes to our work?

When it comes to transforming industries, AI has (so far) received a bad rap for its potential to replace humans and take away jobs. And in some industries, this may very well be the reality. But in public relations and communications, our prediction is that it will be actually the opposite—that AI will pair with you to make you far more data-driven, streamline your workflows so you can focus on what you do best, and help you amplify your message at a scale far beyond what is imaginable.

Let’s take a look at three ways AI will enhance public relations, with a few you can already start using to make your work faster and more effective:

1. More Targeted, Dynamic Journalist and Social Influencer Outreach

We all know that the way we currently reach out to influencers (both social and news media) en masse leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a two-sided problem: PR professionals don’t have enough time to curate hyper-relevant lists or tailor their messaging to each influencer directly, so influencers often get hit with a barrage of generic pitches that they end up just ignoring.

 

Imagine a world where using an AI technique called natural language processing, we can analyze the messaging of the PR professional’s pitch to find out that it is a new product launch about golfing targeted at millennials. In the meantime, we can also analyze previous articles written by social and news influencers to find those who write often about product launches, golf, or millennial consumer tastes. We can automatically curate a list of these specific influencers to coordinate a much more relevant match and, thus, a much higher likelihood that the influencer will be interested in covering this story. Over time, as you maintain relationships with these influencers, the AI can even sort out which influencers have higher open and response rates to your pitches and suggest them for future, even more effective campaigns.

For an overview of how you can already use natural language and pitch analytics to automate pitch personalization, watch our webinar on media outreach best practices.

2. Image Recognition Software

It’s no secret that our information world is becoming more and more visual; it’s rare these days to find important news or social posts that don’t contain images or video. In fact, think about the number of times your brand, product, or service may appear in an online photo without the article or post explicitly tagging you!

Cutting-edge image recognition technology cannot only automatically detect objects, scenes, and faces in images, but actually name the people, brands, and products within. Take this photo, for example:

Image recognition can ensure that in addition to monitoring text mentions on social media and news, you are capturing visual conversations about your brand. This is particularly helpful for visual mediums like Instagram and Pinterest, where consumers may be posting photos about highly positive or negative experiences with your company that you currently may not be aware of!

3. Automated Reporting with Smarter, More Accurate Sentiment Analysis

Today more and more PR pros are looking to make data-driven decisions based on campaign performance, social listening, and competitive benchmarking. However, building reports on these activities can require wading through data from a variety of sources, building spreadsheets, and turning charts into easily digestible graphs. Media intelligence tools are already here to automate these process. But what about the analysis and lessons learned. By detecting patterns and changes over time, AI already lets us translate trends into words, as in Meltwater’s new Insight Reports Builder (in just 15 minutes, we can give you a personalized tour!)

A key tool for understanding brand perception in any modern PR report involves looking at audience sentiment. Sentiment analysis, already an important part of any PR professional’s media intelligence toolbox, lets you gauge how customers are feeling about your product, service, or brand as a whole. However, traditional methods of sentiment analysis either rely on a ton of tedious manual work or inaccurately gauge an article based on its cumulative sentiment (think of it as essentially summing up all the positive and negative words in a document).

Not everything is as positive as Leslie Knope.

Luckily, new advancements in natural language processing will make sentiment analysis more accurate and actionable. We can now drill down to each specific person, product, place, or company in an article and analyze the surrounding sentence for how this writer feels particularly about this entity.

Consider a simple sentence like this:

“That Subway commercial was annoying and too long, but the Doritos ad was amazing.”

Older techniques would consider this sentence negative, as there is one positive word (“amazing”) and two negative phrases (“annoying” and “too long”). But if you managed communications at Doritos, a negative tag on this sentence (if buried within one of many long articles) would’ve made you potentially miss a great endorsement and throw off your reporting. The next generation of sentiment analysis would discern that this sentence is actually positive in relation to Doritos (and a win for your team!).

Don’t Fear AI, Embrace It

As you can see artificial intelligence is an extremely helpful enhancement, not a mysterious looming threat. When we let the machines do the heavy lifting—the counting, the categorizing, the detecting—it frees us up to do even more of the strategic and creative work we signed up to do in the first place. Let’s look forward to the amazing developments to come in this field in 2018 and beyond.

5 Best Health Social Media Campaigns

Social media has changed the way we learn about what’s happening in the world. For consumers and businesses alike, it is a source of truth, a place to find and share authentic content, and a channel to spread the word about a product, service, or movement.

For health organizations, social media is an organic channel to address their issues, raise awareness and start a real conversation. Here are the 5 best health social media campaigns which have done that through the power of social media.

5 Best Health Social Media Campaigns

1. #Movember: The Movember Foundation

The Movember Foundation focuses on something that isn’t often talked about: men’s health issues. They commit to saving men’s lives by tackling prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.

Their annual social media campaign, #Movember, proposes an enticing challenge to ditch the razors and grow out a mustache for the month of November to raise awareness and funds. Conversations about men’s health issues are started organically: “Why are you growing out your mustache?”.

These conversations then spread through social channels that grow traction and engagement. They tell the brand story and spread awareness in an authentic way. The Movember Foundation grasps the impact that social listening has on their community.

Movember Campaign.png

2. Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS Association

Powerful social media campaigns have the tendency to go viral over the internet. An incredible example of this is the ALS Association ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ social media campaign which raised over $115 million in August 2014 for ALS research. Here’s how it went down:

Three men living with ALS posted a video of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on themselves. Then they each called out one person to perform the same challenge. Before they knew it, 17 million people had uploaded their videos to social media over a span of one month. Over 400 million people watched these videos 10 billion times.

The Ice Bucket Challenge social media campaign leveraged word of mouth marketing to spread awareness about ALS and the community. It brought millions of people together, was fun and easy to do and therefore had a viral impact on the world.

3. Know your Lemons: Worldwide Breast Cancer

The Worldwide Breast Cancer organization designed an image illustrating the twelve signs of breast cancer. This image is of 12 lemons sitting in an egg carton and it spread like wildfire over social media.

The campaign that backed up this image was called #KnowYourLemons and it taught women and men to easily recognize the 12 most common breast cancer symptoms. It also inspired the world to break the taboo and fear of this disease.

Using a friendly and approachable visual to explain breast cancer is what made this social media campaign so influential and shareable. Within seconds of looking at the carton of lemons, someone was educated on the signs of breast cancer without having to deal with a lot of text or any unpleasant images.

health social media campaigns

4. World Health Day: World Health Organization

World Health Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness and an understanding of universal health coverage. This year the World Health Organization created a dedicated ‘campaign essentials’ page that armed everyone with the necessary tools to support and share the facts about World Health Day.

This page included a fact sheet, an infographic, an official hashtag, downloadable social media squares and videos. The goal was to motivate people to share at a local level in order to reach an international audience.

health social media campaigns

Having accessible, shareable content is crucial for a social media campaign to spread and gain credibility. Followers and supporters of a cause are the backbone to the success of a social media campaign and need to be armed with the right tools to spread the word in a simple and effective way.

5. #IDEFY: Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood launched #IDEFY, a social media campaign that inspired young people to use social media to share with the world what they defy – racism, homophobia, slut-shaming and beyond. They were asked to participate by posting an image of themselves on social media with the word DEFY written on their fist and a caption using the hashtag #IDEFY.

What was special about this social media campaign is that it was launched with a Facebook Live event at the same time that other related activations were taking place around the country.

It went live on January 22, 2017, on the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and one day after the Women’s March.

Defy Campaign.jpg

Planned Parenthood aligned with activations related to their cause and timed their campaign launch very purposefully. This strategy brought a deeper, holistic meaning to their movement.

Leverage Social Media to Launch a Successful Campaign

These five campaigns prove that social media is a powerful channel to start conversations, spread the word, and raise awareness about the health issues they support.

The various strategies that these organizations leverage to make their campaign a success set the stage for other organizations looking to build their own social media campaign to raise awareness.

To learn more about the power social media can have on your next campaign, download our e-book on social listening.

PR and Advertising Agencies Use Twitter to Connect with Audiences

PR and advertising agencies understand how to position a message, how to broadcast it, and how to measure its impact. On Twitter, however, the rules of communication have changed. People can now use Twitter to connect, directly interacting with companies and their agencies, something that has disrupted corporate communications.

Modern consumers want to align their consumer dollars with values that they hold dear. In this regard, Twitter allows direct communication,  no matter if your brand is B2C or B2B.

We’ve analyzed the Twitter accounts of well-regarded PR and advertising agencies to see how they use Twitter to connect.

Making the Workplace More Human

Young professionals are increasingly attracted to working with mission-driven businesses. Thus, agencies need to compete on salary, perks, culture, and how they develop talent.

Twitter allows agencies to highlight their colleagues and their interests. By putting faces behind the brand, they’re humanizing their interactions with their community and wider audience.

Edelman, the world-renowned PR agency uses Twitter to highlight their employees, so the public can get to know the account managers and publicists behind their award-winning campaigns.

TBWA London shares the insights of their Chief Strategy Officer about the importance of supporting dads on their parenting role. This may not seem like the kind of topic a large PR agency would talk about, but that’s why it works: it focuses on the values on which the people inside the company stand.

FleishmanHillard, a Missouri-based PR agency, highlights employees volunteering for GLIDE, an organization that works to “break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.” Like TBWA London, their social stream isn’t always related to their work as an agency but showcases their company culture as a place where people with strong beliefs work.

Sharing Their Expertise

Since these agencies are world-renowned for their advertising, marketing, and publicity work, it’s no surprise that they take any opportunity to broadcast their expertise. We see them sharing the latest articles they publish on their blogs, their earned media mentions, the awards they win, and the conferences in which they participate.

In this example, Ketchum shows a photo of the time when they won the prestigious PRWeek Campaign of the Year Award.

Publicis shared the following tweet when they won a new account with the Campbell Soup Company:

Wunderman shows how their executives participate in important events, like the Paypal’s Global Marketing Summit.

Being Transparent and Personal

Consumer trends tell us that people don’t want to be sold to anymore; they want to buy from a company that they feel aligned with. To show consumers that your brand values share their consumer values, introduce transparency in your communications. Don’t show only the good parts—the wins, the successes—but include mentions of the failures and problems as well. Being transparent makes a brand seem more human, and therefore, relatable.

J. Walter Thompson, the New York-based marketing agency, decided to close an executive role for internal reasons. Instead of letting that slide below the carpet, they decided to show their process and how that related to their company culture.

Havas London has adopted a casual tone on Twitter and tweets more like an individual, and quite not like an agency. Their casual caring tone resonates with their community. The following tweet epitomizes their strategy, focusing on the human side of their business and underscoring their brand values.

McCann follows the example set by Havas London and tweets in a personal voice. They don’t shy away from humor, making their Twitter account stand out among accounts from other agencies of their caliber.

Takeaways

Reviewing these large PR and advertising agencies we see that though the work they do is B2B, agencies use social media to attract new talent, highlight colleagues, share their work and be transparent about what goes into it, express thought leadership, and broadcast brand values.

Corporate speak never engages on social channels that’s why these agencies use the first person voice while tweeting. In the end, these agencies want the public, their community, and their potential clients to connect with the individuals behind the agency. And, in so doing they reveal brand values asking their audiences to engage with a truly human organization.

If you’re interested in connecting with audiences, consider downloading our ebook on Social Media Marketing.

Start a Trend with This Essential Ingredient

Let’s Start a Trend

Not just any trend. Not a fad, or a fly by night kind of trend, but a trend that soars, that’s successful not only in product sales or market recognition, but one that becomes part of the cultural conversation. When we’ve seen it happen, it occurs to us, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Then we start looking for the next big thing. Hoping to hit it big ourselves, but when the excitement wanes or the process becomes overwhelming, we tend to push our ideas aside and replace them with more practical notions and seemingly “achievable” goals. Then it happens again, someone comes up with another idea that shakes the global community, and our eyes widen with envy once more.

In a bygone era, trend evolution had a top-down trajectory. Innovators, product developers, and idea people came up with concepts. The good ones stuck and gained momentum. Ideas, as well as a physical product, were then handed over to marketers who with some savvy media manipulation attracted the appropriate consumer base. Well, gone are the days of the top-down marketing trajectory. Bottom(s) up as we say in the fashion industry! It’s time to let the consumer lead.

Easier Said Than Done

The big gun advertisers and marketers don’t want to give up the front line so easily. They are continuously waving cool shiny objects in front of our eyes, hoping to distract us from the critical task at hand, listening to the consumer and letting insight (not hype) drive the creative process.

Let’s get a few things out of the way; AI, VR, IoT, sharing economy, cloud migration, crowdsourcing, FinTech, social media trends, fake news… so shiny!

Don’t jump on a trend because it’s there. To initiate a trend, a new cultural zeitgeist, it is necessary to look at the big picture of how trends evolve. Then, see how that fits into your business and speaks to your audience.

In our current socio-cultural landscape with trust seemingly out the window and new shiny technological advances appearing around every corner, it seems the consumer may want something familiar and safe to hold. Respond to your audiences’ emotional needs and tell a story that connects past and future in a succinct, linear, and comforting way. And while I stand behind my advice to avoid the hype, it should be clear that scanning the cultural landscape both near and far can help you see how changes in society can impact how new ideas are accepted and what becomes a trend.

Let’s Take the Experience Economy as an Example

You don’t have to dig too deep to discover that consumers are currently interested in community building, experiences, and lifestyle over brand-specific messaging. They desire both entertainment and experiences that say something unique about them. They are eager to get offline and go out and meet like-minded people including those who love the same brands they do and are happy to share these experiences via social media.

Savvy companies are figuring out how to change the brick and mortar environment in response to this need. While the giants are failing, smaller players are figuring out how to reinvent the store experience for the 21st century, focusing on authenticity and community while, in many ways, thinking about sales second. Stores are becoming brand meeting places and touch points. Whatever your business, there is an opportunity to create a comforting experience for your audience. After all, experiences help shape identity and create lifelong memories. This evolution is a win-win for strengthening brand loyalty and creating buzz.

Take a look at one of the most innovative viral campaigns in history from 20 years ago. The MasterCard, “Priceless” campaign launched in 1997 and highlighted the priceless human connection between a father and son. The tagline was: “Real conversation. Priceless.” Before social media there was social (a.k.a. word-of-mouth). The campaign went viral without the Internet. Fast forward to today, though the campaign has evolved to include curated “priceless” experiences, the basic premise has remained the same is stronger than ever.

The MasterCard “Priceless” campaign is still going strong two decades since it’s creation. It’s so successful that it is the foundation of all of MasterCard’s campaigns, both domestically and internationally.

Consider This, Consumers Are Looking for the Familiar and the Safe

So, how do you think they feel about the overwhelming choices we have? Personally, it makes me feel very anxious and confused. Bombarding consumers with too many options instead of honing in on what they really want is counter-productive. While our intention may be to simply give people choices, what is actually happening is the opposite. Analysis paralysis due the paradox of choice is a reality. The danger of this phenomenon is that the consumer may decide to react to this feeling of paralysis by deciding to opt out of the (consumer market) experience altogether.

If we aren’t able to take a step back from the market-driven race, focusing on trying to keep up, we might be missing the whole point. It’s something I think of as “clutter” (as opposed to choice). Why not decide to be the brand or company that simplifies the clutter? Curate heavily and speak not only to your audience’s emotions but also to their core values.

Brandless.com, which launched in July of this year, is making an effort to take the reigns of the simplicity trend in the food and household product category. They’ve addressed their customer’s core values of good products that work and simplified their product offering. This philosophy is reflected in all aspects of their visual identity. And, by using the direct to consumer model, they have taken out the middleman, offering consumers great value at $3 for every product on their site. Focusing on quality, simplicity, and value is not a bad trend to take a closer look at in our overly cluttered marketplace.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 2.27.26 PM.png

Brandless.com has simplified their product offering and the consumer experience.

People Want What Is Familiar

If you are looking to create the next big trend, find something that people can relate to. Endear them. Base your strategy on core (global) human truths and values that evoke emotion. Don’t be a storyteller, be a story maker, and most importantly, listen to the people who have already made your business a success.