In a previous article, Hacking the Psyche, I presented the security and privacy implications of capturing feelings of individuals using on-line mechanisms for good use as well as abuse and manipulation. Whenever controls around individual privacy are called into question, there is always, on the other side of the coin, a clear business opportunity.
Corporations often use indirect data such as demographic information and sales statistics to measure the health of their brand because the direct data, i.e how the public and their customers actually feel about their brand, is not available for capture. In this article, I want put forth a case study to demonstrate how capturing feelings on the social web can allow companies to measure the reputation of their brand.
In September 2008, Microsoft reportedly paid Jerry Seinfeld $10 Million dollars to star in it's recent TV commercial campaign. In this article I want to provide evidence to facilitate the hypothesis that Microsoft, in addition to paying Seinfeld, suffered the additional cost of damage to its brand from the commercials. On a positive note, the I'm a PC commercial that followed seems to have up for the damage.
Here are the TV advertisements:
September 4, 2008: Shoe Circus [starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates]
September 11, 2008: New Family [starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates]
September 18, 2008: I'm a PC [not starring Jerry Seinfeld]
Now, let's turn to Twitter to measure the feelings expressed towards these commercials during the month of September 2008. Using the Emotion Dashboard tool I presented in Hacking the Psyche, I was able to visualize how people on Twitter felt about these commercials. Here's a video of the tool in action:
- Most people disliked the first commercial (Red bar indicating overall negative feelings). The most common word used to express feelings towards the first commercial was "WTF" as indicated by the word cloud and the video demonstration.
- Feelings on the Microsoft brand started to pick up to a positive state only to be re-plummet once the second commercial was aired (Red bar).
- The third commercial, I'm a PC, devoid of Seinfeld, was generally liked and appreciated, helping feelings towards the Microsoft brand return to a positive state (Yellow bar indicating 'happy' feelings).
There you have it: a powerful method to use feelings expressed in social media to measure a corporation's brand and marketing efforts.
Brand reconnaissance is not the only effort that can be leveraged from feelings on the social web. If you are interested in this topic, I invite you to consider my upcoming talk the O'Reilly Money Tech Conference titled Emotion Dashboard: Harvesting Feelings on the Social Web for Powerful Decisioning.