Towards the Future of PR and Brand Management
In the analog state of PR, people would have to manually check out how many times a brand was mentioned in newspapers by hiring a bunch of people to clip out the actual articles from the newspapers. If one’s clippings were really great that week, they’d have a big stack of paper.
Clipping New Media
Some of the first industries to capture digital data real-time were hedge funds and other financial firms. They used something that resembled an intelligence dashboard — where different streams of data were needed to make complex decisions. The dashboard allowed users to see many different stocks at once, and companies were able to create a sort of proto-feed that showed many different ecosystems of data at once.
Intelligence Feeds Today
Now, services like Netvibes and Yahoo! pipes can be mixed together to offer companies real-time intelligence feeds that show what their competitors are posting on their blogs, what people are saying about them on Twitter, and their overall online presence — all in one place.
Making these intelligence dashboards takes time and research, but the value added (not to mention the time saved) by the implementation of a centralized data source is immense. Also, it’s powerful enough for agencies that manage multiple clients, because the entire system fits into one browser window with a series of custom, labeled tabs.
All brands have an analog version of this, and some have a digital one — but all brands need it. Google Alerts is a temporary solution that is gritty and granular. It does not have the customization capabilities that Yahoo! Pipes and Dapper have. Intelligence dashboards are capable of handling the data generated by global and local brands as well. They can monitor Flickr photos, news items, blog posts, ect. Basically, any piece of dynamic content that moves online.
One of the best brand managers out there is Portland’s Dawn Foster. She has a collection of excellent resources (like Yahoo Pipes and RSS Hacks) on her blog, Fast Wonder. She’s actually the first person who introduced me to Yahoo! Pipes.