By the time you finish reading this sentence, over 50,000 tweets would have been published worldwide. Billions of users are sharing their opinions about services they have subscribed to or products they bought. This conversational data is a gold mine for consumer-facing brands, particularly as empathy and relevancy have become the differentiating factors for every brand marketing strategy. Nevertheless, only a few companies are acting on this data, and turning it into true business intelligence.

Brands with a global presence have long depended on targeted surveys, focus groups, or other market research techniques, to better understand their customers. However, each has its own set of limitations. Sampling size is somewhat limited and is impacted by preconceived biases and notions. Also, sorting and analyzing the data takes a tremendous amount of time, which means it becomes outdated -- especially in the digital space. Lastly, consumers often say one thing during a focus group (could be due to peer pressure) and then act differently when they’re making a purchase.

The objectivity and clarity provided by conversational data offer market researchers an unprecedented view to discover unmet consumer needs, unravel opportunities, and conduct competitive analysis.

Brands that prioritize social media listening develop a competitive advantage by getting better data that they could act on quickly, something which ultimately catalyzes their growth on all fronts: marketing, product development, sales, and customer service. We are now at the cusp of embracing conversational intelligence that empowers brands with real-time market behavior data, who proactively translate the data into better bottom-line results.

Social listening: Innovation’s best friend

With that said, brands could also leverage social listening to accelerate their innovation processes. Whether it’s a startup or a multinational company, teams are often laser-focused on their daily tasks and could easily fall into the trap of missing the big picture. Your end-consumer should be your first priority and here’s why.

When a consumer decides to come up with a DIY hack that looks easy and practical, it could be because they’re enjoying the social clout that comes with that type of content. However, it could also be a way to vent their frustrations about your product. Ask any quality assurance or tester and they’ll tell you that consumers always find unforeseen ways to utilize your product. Ergo, even if your company has a dedicated innovation team, it could use the added benefit of conversational data to identify whitespace opportunities, address failures, come up with a solution that people want, and test consumer sentiment beforehand. Think of all the time, money, and effort that you will be saving. Ultimately, your customers are telling you exactly what they want instead of you having to guess.

Secondly, today's innovation landscape has become increasingly difficult to navigate, especially within tech companies. Incorporating social listening into your innovation strategy guides your product development team as it adds or removes features. For example, developers might want to hold on to a certain product update knowing that the market is not yet ready or might have certain negative sentiment towards it. These strategic decisions around products and services allow teams to better employ their energy and innovate exactly where needed.

Moreover, looking at data in a vacuum would only provide you with a narrow and distorted representation of what’s actually happening. You could definitely use social media listening to track trending hashtags or popular content in real-time, however it’s the ability to connect these broad topics that would provide you with business intelligence. For example, if you are the innovation manager at a beverage company and you realize that your consumers are posting pictures of your can at the beach, then perhaps you should test a new limited-edition can which is more heat resistant, and therefore provides a better customer experience (a cold beverage) to your brand ambassadors.

With that in mind, if you put the customer at the core of your innovation strategy, then you’re guaranteed to have accelerated adoption. There are several examples of products or services that were born and fueled by social media, and that’s normal in this day and age where brands are capable of pinpointing their target audience, maximizing their reach, and perfecting the timing of each product launch. Conversational intelligence, over time, gives brands the validation they need to continue innovating and therefore impacting the market.

To clarify one thing, an innovative mindset is not something that can be easily cultivated within a company. It requires constant evaluation and optimizations at every level. Social media listening, on the other hand, will only allow you to generate impactful innovations if they align with the overall strategies of the company.

I would like to introduce you to Talkwalker. Talkwalker helps world-leading brands activate the voice of the customer in real-time by making sense of consumer & customer feedback across all channels. Going beyond social listening, Talkwalker’s AI-powered conversational intelligence platform connects the dots between what customers feel, say, and do. Enabling customer-centric companies to drive revenue, increase retention and reduce costs.

With offices in Luxembourg, New York, San Francisco, Frankfurt, Singapore, Paris, Tokyo, London, and Milan, Talkwalker provides best-in-class service to over 2000+ clients across the globe. For more information, please visit

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