Gini Dietrich’s take on media monitoring in the age of “Instant Everything”
Media monitoring and online reputation management are the pillars of crafting a successful PR strategy. And when not done correctly... it can lead to a disaster of epic proportions. Think Pepsi, or Adidas or more recently the Dallas Mavericks.
And Gini Dietrich takes crafting successful PR strategies to a whole new level. Founder of PR firm Arment Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks and co-host of Inside PR, Gini is one of the most successful and prominent women in PR today. Earlier this month, we were fortunate to grab a few minutes of Gini’s time and pick her brain on media monitoring and online reputation management. Keep reading for her take (and ours) on online reputation management!
Gini, in a few words, tell us what online reputation management (ORM) means to you? How much time in a day do you spend on media monitoring and ORM?
Gini: Online reputation is the perception that people have of you or your business — particularly in how you present yourself online. We all have friends who complain about work or suffer from maladies constantly—and their feeds are overrun with these complaints. Even though those people might not be that way in person at all, their online reputation leads others to believe they're Negative Nellys. Because I run a communications firm, we spend the majority of our days in media monitoring and online reputation management — both for ourselves and for our clients.
And we totally agree. Media monitoring and ORM is so much more than what people are saying about you - especially in today’s day and age when one out of control tweet from a disgruntled customer can make or break your reputation, you can never be too careful about what you say or do.
You’re a seasoned pro who’s seen many a PR crisis. What are the red flags that indicate to you that a crisis could be on the way?
Gini: A crisis could be on the way if there are more than the normal number of negative brand mentions, if people are throwing bombs into your social networks, or if the media calls to say they're working on a story. This is why it's increasingly important to monitor everything said about you, your executives, and your organization.
That’s true. Here’s a spike in mentions for Pepsi last spring when they released the infamous Kendall Jenner commercial. You can see that it’s their biggest spike over the last 13 months but it’s also the portion associated with the most negative sentiment... And the stock prices show that Pepsi is still recovering from it.
~2.5 million mentions - the bulk of which are negative.
What’s your version of the ideal reputation management tool? What are the characteristics you’d like to see?
Gini: Sentiment is one of the most important — and it's the one thing most get wrong. I also really like to see a trends report that shows me both historical data and predictive information — can you tell me if something is going to blow up, based on what's happening globally?
We’re definitely on the same page here. Sentiment analysis can be a key indicator for reputation. That’s why we spent the better part of the last few years developing AI powered sentiment analysis technology to be able to help brands flag negative mentions early – and accurately.
For example, Donald Trump may get significantly more mentions, but his sentiment is still very similar to Hilary Clinton's.
You’re a guru of sorts when it comes to media monitoring, social listening, and PR. And we’re a social media analytics company, so we both agree on the importance of media monitoring both online and offline. But to brands who still need a pointer or two on this, how would you say social listening helps with your first responses to a crisis?
Gini: It helps us monitor to see if anything seems off or if there seems to be something negative brewing. It allows us to monitor for potential issues and plan for them.
In other words, social listening can help you predict with reasonable accuracy when all hell breaks loose… before it breaks loose. And that means that if done properly, it can help you at least contain the crisis even if it doesn’t avert it completely.
Here’s something interesting. September, October and November were great months for “Tide Pods”. People were talking about them and saying mostly good things. If you look at the graph below, you can tell that sentiment was largely positive around Tide pods till about end November, after which the whole eating Tide Pods scandal broke out.
The most engaging post before the whole Tide Pod eating fiasco broke out suggested that this could indeed be on the way.
i hate small talk. let’s talk about tide pods. let’s talk about why i “can’t” eat them. let’s talk about oh my God literally what would happen if i ate one like just say u don’t want me to be hap— caila🌸 (@NlGHTMOTH) November 30, 2017
Maybe Tide would have been better off directly tweeting to @NIGHTMOTH and his fans about the fact that eating tide pods, in fact, was a very, very bad idea?
Which brings us to our next and final question for Gini.
Can you give me an example of how technology and media monitoring helped you protect your brand’s online reputation?
Gini: The ability to monitor in real time and predict what could be coming is priceless.
Social media has become a game changer in so many ways, but for those in the PR business, it’s a double-edged sword. News… any sort of news – good or bad- spreads at the speed of light via social media. 20 years ago, without social media, brands and companies had time to react to a crisis – put out statements, make decisions in emergency meetings. Now, it’s about making split-second decisions because just 1 minute can make or break your reputation online.
Or in NBC’s case 30 seconds.
The media giant experienced technical problems while broadcasting the Super Bowl this year and viewers ended up with a blank screen for 30 seconds (dead air). Using Talkwalker, we found out that the net sentiment for this was in the red at a whopping 73% negative. No surprise there.
So social media, combined with careful and sustained media monitoring can make or break any brand… in just a few minutes. Which is why, we, at Talkwalker keep an eye on your brand, so you don’t have to.
Check out Free Social Search. We promise it’s worth it. 😉
Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, coauthor of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She is also the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.