Businesses, be it big or small are like nation-states in the world of business, while there are no wars as such, there is competition and it is fierce and affects any business’ bottom lines. The best way to grow a business and its profits is to stay ahead of the competition. Competing well while conserving resources is the key to success.
In order to compete well, it is necessary to have a good plan, and in order to have a good plan, a business needs information. Just like how nation-states collect information regarding their neighbors, aggressors, and how the world views them, so do businesses, this is known as Business Intelligence.
Business intelligence is the insight into the background check for what your competitors are doing and planning for the future, where your industry is headed, what are the new developments and how you fit into all of this, and how you can improve your position using this information to compete better with everyone.
Business Intelligence begins with Brand Monitoring. Knowing how your brand is positioned in the business world is the first thing a business should know. This process allows a brand to collect and monitor all information pertaining to what is being said about the brand in the business world.
What is Brand Monitoring
Brand monitoring is the activity of continuously monitoring multiple media channels and collecting all relevant information regarding mentions about the brand for further analysis. In simple words, this process is about trying to understand where and what your audience is talking about your brand.
Additionally, you can even track and monitor new developments in your industry to have a better idea about where the industry is headed so your business can better adapt to incoming industry-wide changes with a future perspective.
Image Courtesy – Wishpond
Brand Monitoring makes it possible for the business to have an accurate idea about how their customers, audience, competitors, industry, and the business world as a whole views them. This insight goes a long way in helping a brand plan about what changes it needs to make to grow and improve its position in the business world.
Brand Monitoring serves two purposes, Marketing, and Public Relations function. Brand Monitoring is not solely about tracking and collecting data. Owing to the active nature of brand monitoring, you have real-time information about where and what is being said about your brand and this is beneficial in many ways.
Having access to such real-time information allows you to make the most of any marketing opportunities that arise due to positive mentions about your brands and help eliminate any arising PR crises before they become too big to handle and affect the business in a negative manner.
Thus, Brand Monitoring is multidimensional and could benefit your business in different ways if you incorporate it into your business and digital marketing strategy. Thus, it’s become one of the fast-moving trends in the B2B Marketing space.
Why is brand monitoring important?
Managing Brand Reputation
Having real-time access to information pertaining to what people are talking about your brand helps you in two ways. Firstly, if good is being spoken about your brand you can use it to your advantage and share positive customer testimonials about your product and services on your social media and marketing channels.
Secondly, if there are negative mentions about your brand, regarding product or service shortfalls or issues, you can tend to these complaints to ensure they are resolved at the earliest and do not spiral out of control and turn into some PR Crises.
Understanding the Sentiments of Audiences
As a business, you have to make various decisions from time to time which ultimately affects your bottom lines and customers and audiences in the process. There rebound to be decisions that are welcomed and appreciated by the customers and audiences while there will be some that will not sit well with either.
Having a brand monitoring setup enables a business to monitor these spikes and dives in consumer sentiments which enables better decision making. In case a decision is made that isn’t received well by the consumers, a business can roll it back before it damages the consumer sentiment and ultimately a business’s bottom line.
Knowing what is being said about your brand in the online space enables you as a business to become a part of the conversation and engage with your customer base. This is not just healthy for your brand but helps in retaining customers and attracts potential ones. It helps a brand create a loyal customer base. Another way that can help boost online engagement is to increase physical customer touchpoints and direct the offline customers to your online space. You can do this by generating QR codes and placing them at customer access points, this helps create a “Phygital” environment for your brand, helps you leverage an interactive customer acquisition and provides quality brand engagement for the customers.
Keeping an eye on Competitors’ Movement
Knowing what your competitors are up to helps a business make changes in terms of their business, marketing, and product strategy consulting one can use in order to compete better with the incoming changes and improvements from the competition.
Having knowledge about rumors regarding what developments are underway with the competition helps a lot to a business in adjusting their offerings or changing their stance in the market to ensure they do not suffer as a result of being caught off guard.
Here are some tips to help you get started in the right direction
Choosing the right channels to monitor
There are numerous channels out there and it can become overwhelming if you decide to monitor all of those. Not only is it difficult to track every one of these channels, but the sheer amount of data it will produce will be difficult to handle, process and attain some insights and value from.
A business needs to monitor only those channels that are most relevant to them, meaning, channels where the majority of the consumers and audiences are. This will usually depend on the type of business, the industry, and geographical location.
Here are some common channels you can choose from –
- Print Media – Magazines, News Papers, Research articles, Periodicals, etc.
- Online Media – News Websites, Publications, Media Houses, Blogs, YouTube, etc.
- Forums – Reddit, Twitch, Quora, Tumblr, Discord, etc.
- Social Media Platforms – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
- Online Review Sites – Yelp, Google My Business, BBB, Yellowpages, etc.
Choosing the right keywords to monitor
Now that you know which places you need to monitor, the next step is to know what exactly to monitor. Keywords are what the monitoring tools lookout for and you will have to tell the tool which keywords need to be monitored.
The first thing you need to do is make a list of keywords that include your brand, names of your products and services. Then add to this list the keywords that are a variation of your brand names, be it misspells, acronyms, or nicknames/informal names that your audience may use while referring to your brand.
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You also need to mention the social media handles of your brand, be those global ones or regional ones, to ensure you don’t miss out on any communication directed towards you via any channel.
The last step would be including the hashtags you’ve used for any ongoing marketing campaign or a promotional offer to understand how the campaign or promotional offer is generating a response from your customers and audiences.
Monitoring Individuals associated with your Brand
These can be the CEO, CFO, Founder, Co-Founder, Spokesperson, Partner Influencer, Brand Ambassador, etc. Any individual who is considered a part of or synonymous with your brand.
Monitoring their social interactions and what statements they make in the public domain is a necessary function of both PR and Marketing. No business would like any of its executives mistakenly revealing anything about their ongoing developments or any spokesperson or ambassador taking a controversial stand that may damage the brand value and reputation.
In case such events occur, the business can swiftly act in order to mitigate damage to a minimum. In case of a positive event involving these above-mentioned individuals, the brand can capitalize and promote itself in the business world using this.
Listening to what is being said about your Industry and Competitors
Information regarding current events is crucial, for individuals and businesses alike. Being up to date with what is happening around the world and a business is important as it makes planning for the future more effective and enables a business to have good contingency plans in case things are speculated to go wrong.
Industries and Business Sectors are subjected to constant changes in technology, techniques, and government regulation. Monitoring the entire business sector or industry as a whole allows a business to know about incoming changes so they can adapt to survive or take up opportunities to profit when the changes kick in.
Knowing what your competitors are doing is crucial to any business in a free market economy. Having information regarding what the competition is doing in terms of pricing, offerings, marketing, etc. can allow a business to counter their competition with a new strategy or by making changes in the current one.
Best Tools for Brand Monitoring
Google Alerts is the best tool if you’re a beginner and just started your online business. It is easy to use and understand and offers all the basic information one might need for brand monitoring. Google Alerts, however, does not monitor social media.
Image Courtesy – Google Alerts
It is completely free to use which is a good thing. You can learn all the basics on this platform and experiment with everything. Once you’ve learned everything there is to know, in terms of Brand Monitoring and brand awareness, you can upgrade to a paid service provider for advanced brand monitoring and business growth requirements.
Using Google Alerts is fairly simple, all you have to do is make a list of keywords you want to monitor and enter your email address. Google Alerts will track those for you and aggregate the data. Then it will send you the results periodically. However, the lack of advanced analytics is a downside to Google Alerts.
Brandwatch is an advanced tool that was designed to cater to the requirements of big businesses and enterprise-level clients. This is evident in their plan pricing and the level of features they offer.
Image Courtesy – Brandwatch
Real-time reporting, historical keyword data, advanced analytics, custom reporting, and powerful algorithms are some of the highlights of their offerings. Their monitoring covers everything from social media to offline sales data available in the public domain.
Using all these features properly grants you a lot of useful information which can be used to accurately speculate over future trends and market movements.
Essentially a Social Listening tool, Awario has all the features required for Brand Monitoring. Their affordable plan pricing has made them a valuable option for small and medium-scale businesses.
Image Courtesy – Awario
Awario monitors the entire web for mentions about your brands and tracks every keyword you ask it to. They offer an elaborate set of filters to make your brand monitoring more accurate.
They offer advanced analytics and even offer insights regarding demographic and behavioral data about the people discussing or mentioning your brand and keywords in the online space.
Twitter themselves provides you with a brand monitoring tool known as Tweet Deck. Though it solely focuses on Twitter, it is an important tool for brands who have the majority of their audience base occupying twitter space.
Image Courtesy – Tweetdeck
Moreover, Tweet Deck being the official brand monitoring tool from Twitter offers exceptional value in terms of business intelligence. The insights are robust and reliable.
It offers advanced search with a set of useful filters that will help you obtain the most accurate and relevant information. It enables a user to create a stream of keywords they want to monitor and the results for mentions and keywords are displayed in real-time.