Customer Experience Magazine in conjunction with SpectrumInsight are conducting a three month study, using SpectrumInsight’s revolutionary new realtime consumer insight methodology.

I met Mark Westaby and Karen Williams, co-owners of SpectrumInsight at the most recent Cranfield Customer Management Forum at the School of Management in November. Mark made a passionate presentation about the vivid nature of the feedback that is available if you can tap into the Twitter streams of followers of companies. How the information that Twitter provides via their insight methodology provides very accurate real time information about the performance of an organisation from one hour or day to the next. With the high volume of tweets that are made online, the amount of data available is vast compared to normal sample sizes.

In their own words…

“All of the decisions consumers make, including purchasing, are guided by emotions and the ‘personality’ of a brand. This is strongly reflected in social media where consumers are ‘speaking’ naturally and spontaneously without the restraint or influence of participation in a research study.

As a result, the words people use in social media can reveal far more insight into real personality and social status, known as the ‘natural self’, than the ‘projected self’ consumers typically portray in focus groups, or the cognitive responses they give in questionnaires.

SpectrumInsight has developed its own ‘dictionaries’ that enable us to analyse the words used by consumers in social media, which we can track against the ‘basic’ emotions defined by Dr Paul Ekman, one of the world’s leading emotion psychologists. The analysis itself is based on well-established and validated work by practising academics including Prof James Pennebaker, the world’s leading expert in the relationship between natural language and social behaviour; and Prof Martin Seligmann, the world’s leading expert on positive emotions.

In addition, using a methodology developed with and validated by Cranfield School of Management, again based on our own dictionaries, SpectrumInsight can track the ‘personality’ of brands and consumers associated with them through social media analysis. ‘Brand personality’ defines the set of human characteristics associated with a brand and is widely accepted both in practice and academically as a powerful force that attracts and develops a strong, positive bond with consumers.

A major benefit of SpectrumInsight’s approach is the ability to track emotions and brand personality in real- time, enabling us to determine not only the impact of individual marketing activities but also how they are changing over time; and using social media to do this enables us to remove the need for time-consuming – and expensive – fieldwork associated with traditional research methods. ”

Here is a sneak peak at the initial results, which I’m sure you will agree are quite startling.


When we were discussing this we had no idea, just how different perceptions would be, of the brands and the sectors. When you think about how long McDonald’s has been vilified in the press and the media over its alleged contribution to obesity, marketing to children and poor image as an employer, McDonald’s comes out of this surprisingly well.
Over the next three months we will publish data from the insight study and provide an overall summary of our findings in April. Clearly the frequency of Customer Experience Magazine doesn’t support the immediacy with which the data is available, but we will bring that out in the study – retrospectively.

Author: Neil Skehel
Neil is a business leader and innovator who has achieved significant results in roles of up to £100M direct P&L responsibility in both multi-nationals and small businesses. With over 25 years’ spent delivering business operations, change, growth and improvement he has significant experience in identifying and managing the expectations of senior managers, operations teams, corporate functions, suppliers and customers.

Post Views: 686