AttentioAs part of the international theme this week, I'm having as many conversations with people at social media monitoring companies outside the US as I can. This morning, I talked with Simon McDermott, CEO of Attentio, a social media monitoring and analysis company focused on the European market.

The conversation came about because of Simon's follow-up note to their sample buzz report on selected brands and childhood obesity (Pepsi, Kraft, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Unilever, P&G, Danone, Kellogg’s and Nestle appear in the report). Entertaining headlines make it easy to focus on what I'm starting to think of as defensive social media monitoring (the activity that alerts you to issues that require a response—what I called micro a couple of months ago). This is a different kind of analysis, more focused on what people think of your brand. It gets at questions you might ask in a survey or interview, but it has an almost ethnographic feel of capturing the unprompted associations people make in the real world.

Measuring brand associations
Attentio chartThe basic methodology is to compare the correlations between brand names and topic keywords in search results. For example, count the number of posts that contain McDonald's, child, and obesity (and variations on each term) and compare with the results for other brands or keywords. The result is presented in charts that compare brands, show the variance by subtopic within a brand's results, and chart the associations between brands and specific subtopics.

Another sample from the Attentio site charts buzz over time. You can see how you might combine the time element with keyword correlation to see how your brand associations are changing. While defensive monitoring is arguably a PR function, this kind of research could be used to measure the results of any kind of marketing campaign in any medium.

Focus, Proximity, Languages
What's different about a European company? First, Attentio focuses on the European market, so they're attuned to the different social media trends among European countries. Their Brussels location gives them proximity to clients. They have multilingual capabilities, which not only help with monitoring and analysis, but also enable them to deliver reports in multiple languages. Good reasons for a company that needs global coverage to work with local specialists for a clear view of each region.

You can hear more from Simon on the Attentio blog and in an interview with Philippe Borremans from June 2006.


About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
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