Ode to Brandwatch
I was at Social Media London Live a few days ago and I saw Ben Hackett, a great guy from a company called Brandwatch. Now, you may have heard of Brandwatch before, especially if you work in social media, digital marketing, or if you've been following this blog for some time. I'm a sucker for great tools, so it's no wonder that I’m a strong advocate for Brandwatch (and I guess you could even call me a “Brandwatch ambassador”, but that sounds somewhat pompous). Although marketed as a “social listening tool”, Brandwatch is a lot more than that. See, there are social listening tools. Then there are social monitoring tools, offering you live monitoring of a specific topic or subject, a keyword, a brand, a hashtag - you name it. With the plethora of tools and features that Brandwatch offers, it doesn’t just fall in a singular category, but it sits on top of several categories, and does it well.
Brandwatch understands that just having a social media team in your company doesn’t make your brand social. Brandwatch understands that to be a social brand you first need to be socially intelligent. Brandwatch advocates and provides that social intelligence with a string of tools all tied in together - you have your social listening on one side, then your social monitoring, then your social integration with other tools (e.g. Hootsuite for engagement), then your live social visualisations to help you put social media front and center in your business (not only for those in your social media team, but for anyone who wants your business to succeed via social media).
Another reason why I’m a strong advocate for Brandwatch is that they don’t make any unnecessary “first” claims. You know those claims:
- “we’re the first people to do this,” or
- “we’re the first people to have implemented this” .
Ok, that’s all well and good, and I’m happy for you, but what does that mean for me? Those “first” claims remind me of people who comment “first!!!” on YouTube videos. I don’t know about you, but I personally couldn't care less that you're the first one at doing something if you're not the first at doing something well.
Brandwatch don't sell tools - they offer solutions. They don’t use technical jargon and they don’t try to wow you with technical nonsense, despite having a lot of “technical features” that they could wow you with, e.g.:
- adaptive industry-standard sentiment analysis systems;
- excellent topic analysis (so frequent topics of conversations are continuously highlighted within each query’s recent mentions, highlighting new or growing trends among the query’s online coverage - this is a lot smarter and more reliable than ‘word clouds’ );
- intelligent location tracking to identify where mentions come from to the country, state, region and city level;
- advanced language detection for mentions, natural language processing and sentiment analysis in 27 languages (covering 97% of the world’s population);
- open APIs (Brandwatch is designed to allow usage of its data elsewhere, either through 3rd party integrations, e.g. with Hootsuite, Spredfast, Clarabridge, exporting of data or via the Brandwatch APIs).
However, despite all of that, all of the Brandwatch features and filters are in plain English, making the platform easy to use for anyone, whether they’re an analyst or not. (In other words, Brandwatch is manager-friendly, analyst-friendly, data geek-friendly etc. - you get the idea.)
Now, I’m not going to mention the thousands of reasons why I love Brandwatch in this post - I’ve already written a thorough product review on G2 Crowd which covers the main points (here), but you can also check out other reviews from other Brandwatch users here.
However, I can’t end this article without mentioning what’s really at the core of Brandwatch: the people. Ben, who I mentioned in the beginning, is actually a really friendly guy who sounds so enthusiastic about what he does. I asked him "so what do you actually do at Brandwatch?" and I saw him light up, almost instantly. He was all fired up as he was telling me about the ins and outs of his job, how its job has evolved over the past 12 months and how there’s always something new going, something fresh, something exciting (particularly thanks to their active feedback loop). I could see that fire in his eyes, that eagerness, that passion.
That fire is enthusiasm to do what he wants, what he loves, what he does best. That same fire is what fuels the people working at Brandwatch. That same fire is what makes these great people even greater, and greater people create great solutions - not tools, not 1s and 0s, but actual solutions. And that's how I genuinely feel about Brandwatch.
That aside, keep an eye on Will’s blog (willmcinnes.com): besides being a great Tweeter and a great speaker I personally look up to, he’s also an incredible writer: he wrote “Culture Shock”, ‘a book about a movement of revolutionary businesses that are emerging into the 21st century and radically changing expectations about how businesses should behave, that are addressing some of the biggest problems of our time, and doing so in exciting, subversive and powerful new ways’.
Brandwatch is the answer to a lot of questions in social media, the solution to a lot of problems in digital marketing. Brandwatch is not a social listening tool - no, Brandwatch is a social intelligence solution.