Navigating unpredictable events with real-time comms data — with Ford’s Michael Young

November 22, 2022

Written by Kimberly Monitto

In the 21st century, communications teams are responsible for so much more than just promoting a brand’s image. Analytics, hard data, and predictive insights are needed so that comms teams can measure what the media is saying about their brand and how the brand is being perceived by the public.

From a global pandemic to the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, political instability, and an ongoing supply chain crisis, one -of-a-kind black swan events have dramatically increased the pressure on data teams to have a real-time view of what’s going on and predict how it will impact their brand. Failure to do so could result in a mangled brand reputation and a lack of public trust in the company.

To that end, NewsWhip CEO Paul Quigley and Michael Young, Global Insights Manager at Ford, sat down with founder of The Social Intelligence Lab, Dr. Jillian Ney, to talk about turning live data into valuable brand insights. In this discussion, they cover these modern challenges, how best to use social and web data to identify threats and opportunities related to your brand, and what it means to be a modern-day analyst in the comms world.

When it comes to social data, it’s hard to get higher-ups to sit down and pay attention to its importance. Young states that this is because it’s a new concept. “20 years ago, analytics didn’t exist,” he explains. “It didn’t have a seat at the table, and measuring PR was considered a novel idea.” 

Back then, insights were based on traditional media. But, that’s unrealistic for 2022. Leaders today want to know what real customers are saying, and daily insights that measure the pulse of the conversation are important. “Earned media has a shelf life where paid can take over, but social media doesn’t stop,” says Quigley. 

Young went on to say that in order to get companies to invest in this type of technology, comms teams must get higher-ups to understand that “real-time” doesn’t always mean the data is going to be perfect. But, with technology like NewsWhip, the data can at least signal teams to watch out for events surrounding their name; which is exactly what happened to Young and his team at Ford back in February of 2021

“It comes down to credibility,” he says. “My team uses these tools to present the data and insights and say, “there’s a gap here, and though we can’t say exactly what’s going to happen, here is what our data is telling us.”” Chucking data at even the most accomplished leaders makes it difficult to understand, but distributing insights in a coherent way will build credibility and allow for real-time data to become a focal comms strategy from top to bottom.

A graph showing how human insight, real-time analysis, and decision intelligence interact, in Venn diagram form

One of the main struggles when it comes to real-time data and analysis is all of the noise that comes with it. News feeds can easily be polluted with misinformation, propaganda, and fluff, so it can be hard to know where to look. By offering users the opportunity to curate their dashboards to highlight what’s most important to them, NewsWhip makes it much easier to cut through the noise and focus on what is important. 

Live data is never going to be cookie cutter. But, by paying attention to its trends and recognizing the opportunities it provides, brands can turn it into valuable insights. Technology like NewsWhip only makes it that much easier for brands to stay ahead of the data as it comes in and capitalize on its influence. 

If you’re interested in seeing how your brand can turn real-time data into insights, request a demo here.

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