Fleishman Hillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence division unpacks crises and topical issues like inequality, climate change, and trade, all using hard, real-world data. How do they do it?
TRUE Global Intelligence is Fleishman Hillard’s research arm, tasked with highlighting the intelligence capability of the agency to clients and stakeholders. We recently sat down with Matt Groch, SVP & Partner, Global Analytics and Innovation Lead at TRUE Global Intelligence, to discuss his team’s work, and how he uses NewsWhip to help deliver their insights.
One of the problems faced today by Fleishman’s clients and other global brands, is tracking issues that affect or might impact their business, but are not necessarily core to it. This means they need to be aware of societal and cultural trends more broadly, beyond just what they presume matters to their businesses.
Matt explains it like this:
Corporations have a pretty good handle on the issues that pertain to their industry. Traditionally their blind spot has been the issues that pertain to society at large, cultural issues, things of that nature. And that runs from gun rights to reproductive rights, anything that can precipitate risks to reputation, from outraged consumers to employee activism.”
Matt and his team help their clients overcome those traditional blind spots by integrating NewsWhip data into a broad intelligence platform referred to as TRUE Scape.
“TRUE Scape is intended to bring forth data analytics that can help clients ‘see around corners’ on these issues. In fact, better yet, they can have data analytics that would help them anticipate what’s coming around the corner for these various issues so that either by default they can mitigate risk to reputation, or depending if it’s the right opportunity, they can take some form of leadership stance or proactive action to build on reputation.”
That’s where Fleishman and their use of NewsWhip comes in. Matt and his team use NewsWhip to track engagement and attention around a set of societal issues, both in real time and over a longer historical timeline.
Obviously we gain access to all of the online content that comes through NewsWhip. And then we also use the analytics to enrich that dataset. So given a link to a story, we want to know how much social engagement it has experienced to date, to give a sense of how strongly it may or may not be resonating on major social networks.”
“And then of course we’re making use of the predictive analytics that come through NewsWhip. That shows us that based on what’s happened over the last couple of hours, here’s a projection on how viral this particular story or storyline may be.”
“These are elements that are part of a larger whole within the TRUE Scape platform to deliver intelligence on societal issues we’re interested in.”
Matt and his team have also made progress on using historical data from NewsWhip to help them predict the future. Prediction within the platform is useful for seeing the future trajectory of a trending topic and can “help clients sift the signals from the noise, so that they can react to the things that they legitimately ought to react to, and ignore everything else”.
Using historical engagement data on societal issues such as climate change, reproductive rights, sexual harassment in the workplace, racism, and others, TRUE Global Intelligence can establish benchmarks for how those issues have been engaged with over time and spot when engagement consistently rises above those benchmarks. With this data, they can begin to predict what they refer to as “tipping points” in narratives by understanding the context in which they arise.
In the issues space, we’re thinking about tipping points in a very particular way. The question is, how do we know when an issue has hit its tipping point, or better yet, how do we know when it’s approaching its tipping point. We define tipping points as issues where, for example, public opinion has suddenly shifted significantly or there’s a notable increase in regulatory or legislative activity”
One of the issues that was an example of this was that of gun rights in America, which was especially scrutinized after the Parkland shooting in 2018.
“We made the call at that point that a tipping point had been reached in the issue of gun rights and we were able to gather various pieces of evidence, or proof points, to corroborate our forecast.”
Following this model, Matt and his team are continuing to build out a workflow to provide the best data for their clients.
“What we’re doing right now is amassing all of that data across dozens of different societal issues. As that dataset gets richer, we can have more sophisticated modelling that gives us long-term, more precise forecasts about when issues are approaching or hitting tipping points. And we can see the different factors driving that.”
These efforts by Matt and his team are supported by NewsWhip data, in the form of the API and Analytics, giving a bedrock predictive capability to far-reaching research and advice.
If you’d like to explore putting NewsWhip to work for your brand or agency, please get in touch with us here.