Here's what happened (or, more appropriately, how the cat was let out of the bag): The client uncovered a YouTube video from a user who was making derogatory statements about their product. The "Cat Lady," labeled for her collection of cats that often made cameo appearances in her daily rants, was no ordinary user. She was passionate and angry, and drove our clients to a state of panic—so much so, in fact, that the situation became the focus of the marketing department. Neutralizing the Cat Lady's impact was of paramount importance.
This situation raised a whole range of questions and issues that the client was unprepared to answer: How do we assess the impact of this user's statements? Who and what else is out there eroding our brand and sales? How can we assess global online sentiment toward our brand? What steps can we take to counteract negative brand sentiment that exists online? What steps can we take to leverage positive sentiments?With the emergence of user-generated content produced by any Joe or Josephine who happens to blog, Twitter, or participate in online forums, these questions are on the minds of companies in and outside of pharma. The universe of competing brands was crowded before, now it's populated with individuals who fight with companies for mindshare. But there's something you can do.
Assessing Online Buzz
The first step toward influencing Web consumers is keeping your finger on the pulse of online attitudes. In other words, find out the buzz around your brand and category so that you can answer questions like: How does a particular group consume media? Are there unmet needs? How do consumer attitudes about your product compare with your competitors?
While controlled studies can provide answers to these questions, an online buzz assessment will be cheaper, faster, and more accurate. Here's a two-pronged approach to help get you started.
D-I-Y Buzz Assessment
Online conversations and user-generated content have made it easier than ever for marketers to tap into consumer attitudes. To dip into this rich pool of insights, here are some do-it-yourself techniques for assessing the buzz from your desktop.