Attensity Blog

  • Social Media: How to retrofit the bridge that links social behaviors and your brand

    ThoughtLeadershipLightbulb 300x3001 Social Media: How to retrofit the bridge that links social behaviors and your brandNot that long ago we had to rely on our memory, address books and day planners to keep our social circles in order. Not anymore. Social media is advancing not only myriads of personal and professional connections instantaneously, but offering ready to use tools to manage networks and disseminate concise messages to help businesses grow.

    Regardless of its ease of use and pervasiveness, social media needs to be managed. The answer to how depends on the goals of each user. In order to stay current or get ahead, it pays to be familiar with certain social behaviors that will help grow your personal brand, as well as your bottom line.

    We will explore where most personal agendas originate and how they expand to more complex levels of organization with a wider reach and increased scope.

    1. Focus on Content. Social media is a great leveler in that it includes everyone who has access to the Internet and the desire to be a part of a network. In an ever-expanding world of data (almost 3 quintillion bytes of data are created each day – that’s 1 followed by 18 zeros) filled with pools of ideas, opinions, reactions and overreactions, it is easy to imagine how your stellar tweet or award winning blog can get lost in the deluge. Thus, the quality of the piece, and the relevance of what it conveys, grows in significance. For that, self-awareness and clarity of mind plays a role in helping define the purpose of sharing. Now, even a quality piece with good intentions can fall on deaf ears, or blind eyes, if the author forces the audience to read it. Therefore, it would be wise to break your message down into high quality, easy digestible bits and share them in a way that catches a readers attention

    2. Share with Integrity. “Know Thyself,” reads the stele outside of the Temple of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi. The Greeks had it right. Self-knowledge brings immense value, as it is the first step towards mastery of information and relationships, both of which arise from a rooted sense of authenticity. How are we to choose if we don’t realize what’s important to us? There is no need to worry about how viral our tweets become when authentic sharing ensures that the right people will find us at the right time. The generated resonance will foster genuine connections, breed generosity via sharing and result in the creation of spontaneous communities. Thus, be authentic, present your best value and your people shall find you!

    3. Build Trust. According to a report by Gartner, 43% of marketers surveyed say that social marketing is a top activity that contributes to marketing success. But for 2014, Gartner believes that it will be the moment of trust for decision-based dialogue between companies and customers, providing them with paths for purposeful connections. Thus, facilitating dialogue via quick and concise engagement, offering customer support and using feedback to fine tune marketing campaigns, product launches and general brand perception will yield significant payoff to those who do pay attention and know how to locate and respond to relevant data. As a stakeholder in a commercial enterprise, you will greatly benefit if you recognize that investing in social media tools that foster engagement is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Each time you lend a hand to a customer that struggles with your product or service, or reach out to provide clarity, you build trust. And that, we all know, is priceless.

    4. Trend Towards Prescription. Since the dawn of commerce, companies and organizations have been focused on collecting and analyzing descriptive metrics on their clients. Whether it’s using a Sumerian clay tablet to chronicle the number of sheep sold or using Wall Street data charts to display the average spending of various populations, aggregating data is as much a part of business as the product itself. In the post-modern world of big data where the metric yields are particularly high and easier to crunch, the question of “what?” no longer suffices. The “so what?” grows in value as companies seek new ways to compete by identifying gaps within their enterprises, zooming on specific problems and isolating trending events that if left alone could potentially spiral out of control. Thus the technologies that surface actionable insights become our digital gatekeepers that help shepherd their application.

    5. Seize the Conversion Opportunity. The use of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook ads to reach targeted audiences is gaining momentum. So is the proliferation of hashtags and location based social media like FourSquare and Yelp. Automatically issuing coupons or promotions for customers on social networks has been a great way to reward clientele willing to lend their social reach via check-ins and showcasing their brand loyalty. For consumer brands, using image networks such as Instagram and Pinterest to peak interest in the products, uploading videos and blogs and connecting with online influencers has proven to be of great benefit to overall marketing spread. Still, the viral replication of content can only gain in tangible value if a company is able to reach out and connect directly with its customers. Such personal touch has the power of turning distant brands to relatable entities to “friend.”

    Generating quality content and sharing with authenticity should always be at the center of a sound marketing strategy that will lend itself to a moment-of-trust dialogue and perhaps even lead to decision-based insight. Borrowing from the concept of paying-it-forward, I’d like to end by emphasizing the value of social media generosity. In other words, if you want your reach to grow, spread the word of those who share your vision!


    ezwonarz Social Media: How to retrofit the bridge that links social behaviors and your brandContributed by Ewa K. Zwonarz

    Social Media Marketing Analyst


  • Social media isn’t going anywhere, and that’s a good thing.

    ThoughtLeadershipLightbulb 300x300 Social media isn’t going anywhere, and that’s a good thing.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – customer data is of the utmost importance, and businesses can no longer ignore what their current (and future and past) customers say and think about them.  Listening to customers seems like it should be an obvious priority, but not all organizations actually put this into practice. There are some best practices that need to be put in place for organizations to really understand the data they receive based on customer insight.

    Recently, I was invited to support one of our partners, Big Data 4 Analytics, in an event to showcase how organizations can use social media analytics to understand their customers. While there, I shared my thoughts on best practices and the tools available to listen and engage with customers who use social media. I noticed there were many questions about why organizations are investing in these social initiatives and what their objectives are in analyzing customer data.

    More and more, Attensity is seeing organizations invest in social initiatives to monitor customer sentiment toward brands, products or services. It allows them to accurately discover what their customers like and dislike, as well as, compare their own performance to that of their competitors. Through these programs and initiatives, they create a means of making information and analytics  relevant and available to their business, brand equity and differentiation. Extracting consumer insights allows organizations to see the data coming in, and most importantly, understand why certain topics are trending to highlight product features and other dimensions. Analysts are also examining the difference between employee and real-world brand perception.

    There are four stages of Brand Equity that can help companies develop social programs and objectives for analyzing customer data. Measurement and Engagement are key at every step. Here are a few things organizations should keep in mind as they go through each stage:

    • Brand Awareness – Follow the numbers (but not too much). Don’t be too concerned about how many likes, retweets, etc. you get. Instead pay attention to the comments and the customers taking the time to express their likes and dislikes.
    • Brand Associations – Know your influencers. Research and find out who is influencing your space and industry. By understanding their content suggestions, reach and impact you can leverage their insight much more efficiently.
    • Perceived Quality – Track and understand sentiment. It’s important to know what drives customers’ sentiment, but it definitely shouldn’t be the only factor that determines response. Know what drives sentiment, the root causes, impact and how to improve.
    • Brand Loyalty – Monitor trends. See what is being talked about the most and recognize the spikes. Are they coming at a certain time of day? Certain time of year? Organizations can recognize (and sometimes predict) the trends that influence their customers and create successful campaigns and loyalty programs around them.

    It’s never been more important to utilize social media for customer insight. For brand integrity and bottom lines, knowing the needs and wants of your customers is of utmost importance and I believe social media is the perfect channel for managing the four stages of brand equity. In the future, we’ll see social media being leveraged in different ways and it will be necessary for companies to know how to use their data and utilize these resources to contribute to their sustained success and innovation.


    PKanda Social media isn’t going anywhere, and that’s a good thing.  Contributed by Perdeep Kanda

    Account Directory



  • Without Context, Content is Irrelevant

    ThoughtLeadershipLightbulb 300x300 Without Context, Content is IrrelevantThe enormous influx of written data has brought the necessity to analyze language to the forefront. In order to find relevant information in the ever-growing sea of words, companies have invented ways to model and crunch the data in a meaningful way. However, the complexity of analyzing languages has made it a difficult and time-consuming task to accomplish. More often than not, the process leaves you feeling like you are killing flies with a cannon. But is there a way to dodge the complexity? Would lists of words sprinkled with statistics and trends suffice for conducting thorough sentiment analysis? I’d say not quite.

    The English linguist John Rupert Firth authored one of my most beloved quotes on linguistics: “You shall know a word by the company it keeps.” In text analytics, almost everything is context, at all levels. For example, depending on its context and position in a sentence, the word ‘left’ can be a verb as in ‘I left home,’ an adverb in ‘I turned left,’ or be used as an adjective in ‘my left foot.’ Syntax determines the class a word belongs to, which sets a blueprint for combining words to convey meaning in a way that makes sense to the listener.

    But it gets even more complex. Compare ‘left foot’ with saying you ‘left luggage in Paddington.’ ‘Left’ is used as an adjective in both cases, but their meaning is entirely different. Welcome to the fascinating world of semantics! Indeed, the world of linguistics is much like a carnival experience, where nothing is what it seems – we must look beneath the levels of the obvious, past the masks and surface illusions.

    From here on, our linguistic cavalcade brings us to the house of mirrors where we take a peek at the words that are their own opposites. Here ‘left’ can be ‘the departed’, or ‘the ones remaining’, like in ‘the gentlemen left, and only the ladies were left.’  On another level, ‘awful’ sounds bad, but to make an ‘awful lot of sense’ is what I’m trying to do here. And while a ‘cheap’ handbag might be worth acquiring, is it still worth having if it looks ‘cheap.’

    Moving to a bigger textual context, such as a news story, let’s take on a relatively recent piece of news:

    “Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman, the company’s board and former CEO Leo Apotheker were sued by an investor alleging that mismanagement and botched acquisitions have destroyed shareholder value.”

    By context analysis, I learn that this story talks about two persons, Meg Whitman and Leo Apotheker, who hold or have held an executive position at Hewlett-Packard, a company with HPQ as its ticker symbol. I also learn that some investor sued them for mismanagement.

    When later I read: “Executives have failed “in their most fundamental stewardship responsibilities owed to HP,” resulting in a series of mishaps including bribery probes, the hiring and firing of Apotheker and an $8.8 billion write-down in 2012 of the Autonomy Corp. acquisition, shareholder A.J. Copeland said in a complaint in federal court in San Francisco.”  I learn that there is a shareholder, which is synonym of investor, whose name is A.J. Copeland that is complaining among other things about the acquisition of Autonomy Corp. (another company) by the sum of $8.8 billion.

    But can we get this information through text analytics? Yes, we can if we are able identify the actors and objects, classes, descriptions, facts, events and relations. But could you get to the same kind of insight by considering a document a jumbled bucket of terms? Again, I don’t think so.

    There is an even bigger context that transcends the document, akin to life itself, and just as elusive. To call ‘Chicago’ ‘Chiberia’ is both witty and informative, as it refers to the low temperatures that often characterize the city. But to know that it is witty, we must become aware of the play on words – to know that ‘Chiberia’ refers to ‘Siberia’ and then that Siberia has a reputation of being one of the coldest places on earth. But doesn’t it also have a reputation for being remote, isolated and having work camps for prisoners? Now what? We need to know that Chicago is experiencing very low temperatures before we can make the right connection. This is the hardest nut to crack – to add real world knowledge to a system. Words, expressions and whole ideas do not come alone and need context to fully understand.

    Reading comments on Twitter about a notorious low-cost airline company, I stumbled upon one saying that ‘It would be safer to travel on the back of a shark.’ I’ve also read about an amusement park being compared to the Tokyo Metro. Siberia is cold and isolated, the Tokyo Metro is crowded and sharks are unsafe for humans. Sometimes these associations are local or culture-related or shifting in time. It is hard to model this kind of knowledge, but who knows if one day we will have all these figured out as well?

    In sum, it is a long and winding trip in a text from A to Z, but if you want to take the ride, you better have good tools handy to analyze it and contextualize the knowledge you have acquired, or you might end up thinking you saw a white building in a quantity of one, when in fact you saw the Taj Mahal.


    carolinarubio Without Context, Content is IrrelevantContributed by Carolina Rubio de Hita

    Senior Computational Linguist AKA The Context Doctor


  • Attensity Receives High Marks in Latest Forrester Wave Report

    With the recent release of The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Listening Platforms, Q1 2014report, Attensity is proud to be considered a top contender in the enterprise listening platform space. The leading analyst firm Forrester Research evaluated Attensity’s Analyze and Respond solutions alongside ten competitors in the enterprise listening space and scored Attensity within the “strong performers” category of vendors to be considered when purchasing a listening solution. Attensity was chosen over 40 vendors as one of the market changers after meeting a strict set of criteria requested from the Forrester Consumer Insights Practice. It’s a positive outcome just to be included in a Forrester Wave. And to finish as a strong performer is something that the Attensity team is very proud of.

    According to the report, the social media listening market is less than ten years old, but its importance to companies across industries has grown at breakneck speed: more than 50% of marketers expect listening budgets to grow by at least 5% in 2014. As social media grows in importance to consumers, so too must the responsiveness of today’s enterprise corporations. The ability to have your fingertip on the pulse when keeping track of your customers’ sentiments and impressions is paramount if one is to succeed in today’s fast paced world.

    According to Forrester, Attensity’s Analyze and Respond products both deserve high marks, ranking top three in multiple categories, including:

    • Integration – Forrester stated that Attensity is well equipped to provide out-of-the-box customer integrations. We were commended for our customer relationship management and ability to feed predictive models like SAS and our integration with third-party applications.
    • Consultation and analysis services – The report pointed out how Attensity leverages Analyze out-of-the-box reports to answer client business questions and provide reports for brand, competitive and event (media) analysis.
    • Data processing – Attensity received high marks in sentiment analysis, languages and topical/thematic analysis. It points out how we use nine technology patents in NLP that combine “degrees of sentiment” with the ability to extract the “what” and the “why” behind an issue.
    • Data sources – Attensity was recognized for our social media coverage, access to mainstream social networks and alternative public social networks, and analyzing unstructured business data.

    Screen Shot 2014 02 11 at 2.27.35 PM Attensity Receives High Marks in Latest Forrester Wave Report

    In addition, Forrester cited that the strength of our “current products and legacy as a voice of the customer (VoC) offering makes it a viable option for marketers who want to augment their VoC analysis with social data.”

    We are also thrilled to have our dashboard functionality, data acquisition and research tools recognized as top performers, and to receive perfect marks in research tools, outreach tools, languages, mainstream social networks, and alternative public social networks. It’s a testament to the hard work of all Attensity employees that we were able to receive such high marks from Forrester.

    As we kick-off 2014, we look forward to improving our company and product offerings further. Attensity plans to release new solutions that provide our customers with the ability to identify potential issues before they spread, support the development of customer engagement programs, and streamline large-scale data analysis.

    To show what products Forrester reviewed, and how to differentiate them, we’ve included a table of Attensity Analyze and Respond below. The table shows what each specific product has to offer, as well as how each one can help a business monitor and analyze both social media and internal sources of corporate data.




    Analyze Online and Social Media Conversations

    Operationalizes Social Media Engagement at Scale

    Analyze Internal Conversation Sources

    One of the Few Applications Certified by Twitter

    Sophisticated Analytics

    Listen and Respond to Social Media Conversations

    Drag-and-Drop Visualization and Reporting Widgets

    Ability to Connect to Enterprise and Specialty Sources


    At Attensity, our most important asset are our customers. On behalf of the company, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank our customers for making our enterprise listening platforms one of the best in the industry.


    agoldstein Attensity Receives High Marks in Latest Forrester Wave Report

    Contributed by Alice Goldstein

    Senior Manger, Product Marketing



  • Making the Case for a VPA: She’s Here to Help!

    ThoughtLeadershipLightbulb Making the Case for a VPA: She’s Here to Help!3 a.m. in Antwerp, Belgium. The neighbor’s dog woke me up. I could have tweeted this bit of news, posted it on Facebook, informed colleagues at work of this ruthless interruption, thus adding yet another triviality to an ever growing ocean of data. Rewind to a few days back. Planning for a relaxing movie night, I decided to stream a flick. But instead of HD I got pixelated blocks moving across the screen. I was faced with three choices: do nothing, call customer support, or complain online.  Dismissing option one, I just had to complain; the question became which medium I’d use? Because calling customer support in Belgium is an adventurous undertaking (it is a known cause of acute cardiac arrest in my country), I chose to head to the web to file my complaint Gratification came two days later in the form of two free movies.

    Both of these instances made me wonder why these processes had to be so difficult and time consuming – it took almost an hour of navigating though complex set of links to file one complaint.  Why couldn’t the machines figure it out?

    Hence I make my case – every online user needs his/her own private Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA).

    1. VPA makes it easier to complain. Social media gives us the unique power of granting voice to the masses. Compare a single customer making a direct phone call or emailing to complain about a certain service to that same customer turning to social media, finding others with the same complaint and gaining support. Which strategy will be most successful? And which strategy is the easiest for the customer these days?

    2. VPA makes it easier to recommend the things you like to your social circle. I’m a bit of an avid biker. So quite often when friends or family are into a new bike they ask for my advice. As more “experts” join the advisory board this quickly turns into a discussion ranging from technical specifications to quality and value by which time the advice seeker would rather give up on biking altogether. While we are “old school” and often hold these discussions in person, more often these exchanges happen online. As a result, ten opinions turn to a thousand and then there’s still the question of where and how to buy that bike. Daunting indeed.

    3. VPA makes shopping choices for you. Following current shopping trends, there’s bound to be an increase in available products, services, offerings as well as review and price comparison sites. The whole online shopping experience will become increasingly tailored to the individual. I just did some cyber shopping in Hong Kong and the best feedback on the items I purchased came from the UK. Still it took some data wrestling time before getting to what I wanted. We are increasingly moving from local, closed group interactions to global, open group interactions. Be it just being social, looking for collaboration, finding recipes for your favorite dish, fashion, the latest coolest gadgets, tips and tricks on your hobbies or business intel, as individuals, companies or organizations we have the world at our fingertips but how are we going to manage all that?

    4. VPA makes the entire online experience unique to you. What comprises the main entry point to the web? For most it’s a search engine, one of them clearly owning the biggest piece of the pie.  A social media channel might be a good second. Still as a user we have a lot of data processing to do ourselves. Time for my VPA to take over. Customized to behave the way I want it, with plenty of fancy language technology and machine learning, the configuration should be smooth and straightforward. Now rather than others deciding what my “profile” is, I am in control.

    5. VPA keeps tabs on your privacy. Since your VPA would know your cooking, fashion or reading preferences intimately, it will guide you to the people, products, apps, companies and organizations that are relevant to you. With its help, you could link your private local data to your public data, creating your own knowledge base. This can be used to discover new things, gain insights, and get connected. With the new privacy law being voted in Europe this April, security is of increasing importance. Your VPA could prevent others from gathering info on you that you wish to keep private and warn you when you are showing interest in a product coming from a fraudulent source.

    Armed with my private VPA, I could have had my assistant complain to my cable company who would then have their own virtual agent react. I could’ve saved an hour of my life and the bots could’ve engaged in their own flame war, without disturbing my peace one bit.  I could have my VPA look for specific brake levers that garnered raving local reviews even if I end up buying them half way across the globe.  Now, just how do I tell my VPA to shut up the neighbor’s dog in the middle of the night? And if only I knew which movies I should rent next.


    egaytant100 Making the Case for a VPA: She’s Here to Help!Contributed by Emanuel Gaytant
    Senior Computational Linguist AKA Data Lifeguard




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