Online marketing agency, Quirk eMarketing, has launched BrandsEye, an online reputation management (ORM) tool, which allows companies to track and quantify their reputations on the Web. With an accurate picture of how they are perceived online, companies can then make business and communications decisions to protect and enhance their brands.
"Online monitoring is vital in today¹s age of consumer generated media," says Rob Stokes, Quirk's CEO. "The use of social media, such as blogs, forums and sites like Facebook, has essentially given anyone with access to the Internet a voice. Combine this fact with the research from Edelman's 2008 Trust Barometer that
showed that the most trusted source for modern consumers is 'people just like me'; and you realise that the Internet can and does have a massive impact on how a brand is perceived by its consumers."
A Gartner report on online reputation management predicts that businesses that depend on positive Internet reputation will have little or no choice but to manage their online reputation explicitly.
Gartner analyst Jay Heiser says: "The Internet is like a bad-news Petri dish: negative information multiplies and spreads with frightening speed and becomes virtually impossible to erase."
Stokes adds: "The first step in managing anything is to measure it and this begins by discovering exactly what is going on through accurate and objective monitoring," says Stokes.
BrandsEye was developed to search through key components of the Internet systematically and analyse a company's growing or declining popularity online.
"It picks up and rates every mention of your brand on the Internet so you know, on a daily basis, how your brand is perceived. BrandsEye provides information in real time which helps business leaders set their online reputation goals, identify negative hotspots and determine the most appropriate way to respond to negative and positive comments on the Internet, as soon as they appear."
BrandsEye scours the net, seeking out relevant brand mentions. It also moves beyond just web pages and into forums, blogs and even Twitter. Then, going one step further, it allows users to tag each mention according to a set of meaningful criteria such as the sentiment of the mention, credibility of the author, age of the mention, inbound link data, traffic volume and page prominence.
This data is fed into an algorithm which produces a single score, reflecting the state of the brand's reputation at that time. BrandsEye then plots a graph of the change in your reputation score over time, giving companies an accurate picture of the fluctuation in their brands' online reputation.
As well as reputation scoring, BrandsEye also allows companies to generate customised reports across all facets of their reputation. For example, a user can create a breakdown of all negative mentions that were made by credible bloggers over any given period. This information can then be used to target these bloggers with initiatives to improve their brand's reputation.
Where BrandsEye differs most notably from other ORM tools is its integration of technology with a human element. To date, technology is not capable of making reliable subjective decisions around tone, sentiment and credibility. However, by combining the statistical power of learning algorithms and the judgement of human intelligence, BrandsEye ensures meaningful results are always delivered.
"The traditional brand maxim if you can¹t measure it, you can¹t manage it remains the same whether you are talking about traditional marketing tactics or online ones. Until now, the tools available to assist marketers in understanding how the online environment was impacting perceptions of their brand were limited. Today, with tools like BrandsEye, you can access all the data you need to make informed, effective and opportune decisions," says Stokes.