Monday, January 7, 2008

PR's New Spin...Radian6 and the Like

I’m always fascinated by the territorial battles that take place in online media management. How many middlemen does it take to manage an online media presence, who takes care of search, what about PR?

With social media monitoring tools like Radian6, Visible Technologies, Cymfony, Umbria and BuzzMetrics, entering the landscape, there are many opportunities for agencies to jump in and offer the new version of PR (reputation management) to their clients.

Fredericton, NB based Radian6’s social media monitoring solution had a distinct design formula that led to its current success as an industry leader “Design a product that's built by PR and advertising professionals for PR and advertising professionals.”

While the product may have been designed for PR agencies, a number of disciplines are flocking towards providing this type of solution to their clients. Digital agencies feel that they "own" the clients’ online media presence while traditional agencies consider themselves brand stewards. Traditional PR agencies have been struggling to get a piece of the online action and now, reputation management has fallen from the skies and landed on their laptops.

What is it

Radian6 offers a monitoring and analysis solution for PR and advertising professionals so they can understand and manage their online reputations.

The system monitors blogs, top video sharing sites, forums, opinion and review sites, image sharing sites, microblogging sites, online mainstream media and other sites as they become available. The process works around the clock 24/7 and pushes data to the dashboard in real-time.

Benefits

The solution allows agencies and brands to know immediately which content is making an impact and what needs to be managed.

The hottest trend in social media metrics is identifying influencers and the systems does this by general topic or any other criteria given by the brand (agency).

Basically, the system allows marketers to listen and learn more about these influencers and decide on a path of engagement while tracking the steps taken along the way

Thoughts

This type of solution will be invaluable in the digital space.

The major partnership announced in November between Radian6 and IPG is an indicator of how widely used this tool will be. InterPublic Group agencies include heavy hitters like McCann, Lowe and Wahlstrom. Weber Shandwick, its PR agency has already implemented the tool.

Last September, WPP got involved with Visible Technologies when it invested $9 million into the Seattle based company. The partnership paves the way for Ogilvy, JWT and any of the other 2001+ offices it runs.

It will be interesting to see how the tool gets integrated within these media conglomerates. I’m also curious to see where the service will ultimately land.

Richard McInnis, Sales Director at Radian6 also commented on the dilemma of ownership but feels that the solution will have mixed usage. Richard explained “PR teams are using our solution to monitor discussions about their clients and identify the key influencers to begin building relationships with and ad agencies are using our solutions to find out what is being said about brands and identify the key influencers to which they will direct there advertising as well as identify the sites for their ad spend.”

The question as usual is not whether tools are available but how effectively they are used. PR agencies will now catapult themselves into the rich media so closely tied to social networking and now, they’ll be responsible for managing this space. YouTube can be a brand-breaker but when you have ownership in SpotRunner (WPP), spinning out of a bad rap may be easier than out sourcing (many pure play digital shops).

However this ends, advertising agencies will now be under a microscope as clients see a real time report card of how their brand is thriving or diving online.

3 comments:

social media collective said...

Sonia:

Thank you for the mention in your post. You raise some interesting points.

Many agencies and clients are still in varying states of comprehension and adoption related to social media. Should they care about social media as a listening device, an influencer identification vehicle, a word-of-mouth management/promotion area, or simply understanding the voice of their customers?

The bottom line for clients and agencies is seeing and realizing ROI from social media campaigns and monitoring investments.

Blake
VP of Marketing
Visible Technologies

Sonia Carreno said...

Thanks Blake,

In a lot of the conversations I've had so far, it looks like there's a fear factor. Big brands are still somewhat hesitant to "let go". I think that truly harnessing ROI from Social Networking is still in its infancy. I'm sure it will get there.

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