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Data Mining for Relevance

Insights from Marshall Manson (Brunswick Group, London) and Sheena Thompson (International Association of Risk and Crisis Communications) about living in a sea of data, but struggling to find relevant insights.

Data Mining for Relevance

I recently attended an online webinar hosted by Signal AI. The topic was “Reputation Risk and Mitigating Crisis”.

My company, Mettacomms, offers data-rich insights into future  “bubbling under” trends so that brands can get out in front of their consumers and reflect their real concerns. Mettacomms and Signal Ai are very different from each other, but they both use AI, so I was interested in finding out what Signal was doing on the media-monitoring side.

There were two speakers that I was particular keen to hear from – Sheena Thomson, representing IARCC (the International Association of Risk and Crisis Communications) and Marshall Manson, a partner at the Brunswick Group in London.

Societal Threats

Sheena Thomson’s concern was on how “geopolitical and societal threats can impact on clients”. She said it was vital that advisors had an ability to flag “a risk or crisis coming down the track”.

Marshall Masons example was a very interesting one in this regard. He spoke about the overturning of Roe-v-Wade in the USA and said that, while he was aware of the enormous interest in and backlash against the decision in the United States, he had not, initially, factored-in the impact of that decision for business. Every business operating in the USA immediately needed to review its healthcare policies for employees. The decision was seismic not only for women’s health but for corporate America as well. A perfect example of the ripple effect of one social issue impacting across social, political, personal and business environments.

Data that drives decision making

Marshall is currently a partner with Brunswick Group. He is ex Ogilvy and ex Edelman and lives, eats, sleeps and breaths PR and client-relevant data. He gave a great insight into the way the mind of a very senior PR practitioner works.

There were two things that he said that really caught me. He consumes information for a living. His job is to find the information and insights which will help him to advise clients, but he is challenged by the sheer volume of information coming at him. He said, frankly,  “I live in a sea of data, but I don’t know what matters”. Our own research has calculated that senior PR practitioners can spend up to 23% of their working time on client relevant research.

His second point was an observation that many companies are paying large subscriptions for data that shows, for example, how many times the company was mentioned on social media. This data is used to fill reports and marketing statistics, but what is the relevance, what insight are gained? Companies are paying for the data because they are told they need analytics, but this does not mean that it is being used to guide strategy. The data is available, but rarely interpreted to provide actionable insights. As Marshall said, “the thing I look for most, is data that will help me make decisions”

Although he didn’t know it, he was describing the Mettacomms platform and its value to the PR industry. Data analytics is moving from the world of general to the specific, from loosely applicable to focused relevance. This is the core vision of Mettacomms.

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