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nternet rumors - intercept and manage them.pdf

nternet rumors - intercept and manage them.pdf

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 Issue 9 VOLUME 1 NUMBER 9
In This Issue
Internet rumors: intercept and manage them.Expected value of additional intelligence.Driving results: integrating KM with CI activities.Consortium benchmarking of CI practices.Strengths, benefits, and features: not the same thing.BI professional skill sets.Brazil has opened its eyes to CI.Products and services.FYI: new and noteworthy.
May 16, 2002
In response to membership requests for a 'one-step' way to print out SCIP.online isssues, the newsletter now has a link to a PDF version located at the bottom of this page. Please note that the software that creates the PDF file from HTML is still in beta test phase. I am also expanding the FYI section to include information on the activities of SCIP members. If you have written an article, spoken at a conference, changed jobs, or been nominated for an award, please let me know and I will highlight your accomplishment.
Bonnie Hohhof, Editor
May 18, 2002
Internet rumors: intercept and manage them.Internet rumors: intercept and manage them.
Sundar Kadayam. Intelliseek
No one likes to be victimized by a rumor or sidetracked by bad information. But with growing frequency, certain products and companies are being flamed by falsehoods and scorched by potentially damaging issues or messages that spread quickly and widely on the internet. Millions of dollars can be lost from the impact of these rumors and issues, and this phenomenon – if handled poorly, incorrectly or too slowly -- can have disastrous effects on corporate bottom lines, crisis management, brand reputations, public relations, and well-planned budgets.You may be familiar with common examples. Women continue to receive an e-mail that falsely links tampon fibers with asbestos. Procter & Gamble's Febreeze odor-control product has been wrongly linked by e-mail to dying pets. Consumers continue to receive an e-mail petition blasting a Congressional bill that would tax e-mails, yet no such federal bill exists. And in late 2001, DoubleTree Club Hotel in Houston was thesubject of a PowerPoint presentation – this one true -- by two Seattle business travelers who were not happy with the service they received.Here's the good news: companies no longer have to be held hostage by information that is out of their control, and they don't have to be the last to know. In this internet-enabled world, companies that proactively adopt the technology and expertise to monitor internet information in all its forms gain a competitive advantage. Not only can they gauge the real-time pulse of consumer insight and opinion, they also have in place the necessary tools, monitors, and alert systems to avoid potentially damaging lawsuits, reputation-busters, brand meltdowns, recalls, safety issues, crises, and rumors. They can also use the information to their advantage, particularly if real-time knowledge of a competitor’s problems or a potentially damaging rumor presents a unique opportunity to sell your own product or enhance your own reputation.
Corporate responses: tactics, tips and timing
Companies lose if damaging online information is left unmonitored and unchecked. They are not able to identify and track information and to sandbag the effects of the information early in the cycle, when this action is most effective. They face the potential destruction of a brand, a reputation, a marketing campaign, or an image. They may face costly recalls, lawsuits, and public relations battles. They may spend thousands and millions of dollars mopping up the damage.True or not, this kind of information spreads more quickly and to a wider audience if it possesses any of three factors: credibility, severity, and salience (the likelihood of impacting a large number of others).
The proactive approach: four steps for taking charge
Monitoring, stemming. and reacting to e-mails and online information require a multi-faceted approach involving anticipation, prevention, management, and education.
Page 1 of 16
1. Anticipation
Rumors and internet issues can be tracked and detected, but companies must be committed to the process, and they must be constantly vigilant. Rumors thought long dead have been known to resurface on the internet months and years later. How can these rumors be tracked? Certainly, some technology firms espouse rumor-control benefits, but many of them do not have the capability to provide the full, 360-degree view of "content" on the World Wide Web. Companies must:
Adopt technology that scours the internet
 and its various discussion databases to monitor consumer "buzz" and track spikes in varied and disparate online discussion boards. Monitor changes over time, aggregate results, and stay updated on trends and issues.
Implement keyword-analysis technology
 to serve as an early-warning system when information begins to circulate. Today's "alerting"is a clear advantage for food manufacturers, auto companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consumer packaged goods companies to head off potentially serious product recalls, safety alerts, lawsuits, and negative public relations.
Adopt top-notch customer relationship management tools and integrate the data with all key departments/personnel.
Capture and analyze incoming feedback in real time to gain the upper hand when certain issues begin appearing or reappearing. Make sure yourown sales and marketing team is on board to take advantage of a competitor’s stumbles or problems.
2. Prevention
The best way to prevent trip-ups caused by bad information is to develop and nurture strong relationships with customers and consumers. Firm believers in your company and product can help inoculate you from online naysaysers.
Know your most active, talkative customers.
Involve them in product testing, promotional outreach, coupon programs, and loyal-buyer programs. Involve them early as a first line of defense against rumors and deploy them as goodwill ambassadors, rumor-squashers, and debunkers.
Diagnose your company's "hot spots."
Find out what consumers care about and what they care about most passionately. Match internal priorities with those of your most vital consumers.
Link your marketing, research, public relations, and product development departments with consumer affairs and technology-monitoring tools.
 Critical information must be shared and distributed widely. If consumers spread information freely about you within their circles of friends and acquaintances, your company also must do the same internally and in real time.
Your internal chain of command
 can no longer be linear. Information must be shared as soon as it is received. Unless you're one stepahead of the game – or at least IN the game – you'll be caught off guard.
3. Management
When problems arise, companies need to react quickly and use the same technology that can start rumors and misinformation. Today's companies need to:
Have crisis communications management plans in hand
, available and agreed upon by all, from public relations departments to quality control to customer service to safety to the executive suite.
Become fully internet-savvy
, from bottom to top. Use the internet and e-mail to track and stop troublesome online information about your own company or brand, and to monitor opportunities presented by a competitor’s problems, mistakes, or reputation challenges.UL>
4. Education
Being familiar with the internet is a critical key to understanding how to use it to your own advantage and intervene when information gets out of control.
Educate everyone in your company
(including customers) about internet rumors, how they get started, how they travel and become adopted, how they can be headed off with proper planning. Consider posting a rumor-busting link or page on your own Web site.
Use existing resources totrack down and verify or debunk existing myths, rumors, and information.
Companies familiar with what is circulating are in a better position to intervene and stem the flow of wrong, malicious, or bad information.UL>What's the financial impact? No doubt millions of dollars are lost from the collective effect of rumors and bad or unchecked information. Wary consumers switch to other products, costing companies millions of dollars in revenue and customer loyalty. Unanswered rumors become accepted as truth. One customer's lifetime value is no longer limited to that single customer, particularly if that lone person has the ability and tendency to influence other consumers with strong opinions and information. One customer's lifetime value can be multiplied by factors of 2 or 10 or 100, depending on that individual's circle of influence. Some companies promise solutions, but press clipping services and information-tracking services often fall short or deliver too little too late. Only a handful of services capture the full, 360-degree view of real-time consumer activity and informational pulse.
Page 2 of 16
Key tools for next-generation business intelligence
Intelliseek creates and delivers technology and software in the emerging area of New Business Intelligence (NBI), changing the way businesses think about, gather, and use critical information. The NBI provides a 360 degree view of insight into a company’s interactions with influencers of its corporate strategy, by combining and analyzing unstructured data as well as structured data from internal and external sources.Intelliseek delivers NBI platform technology and applications that gather, track, and analyze information from thousands of disparate sources to deliver targeted, relevant, and actionable competitive intelligence. Its PlanetFeedback division is a leading provider of online feedback services that help companies tap the power of wide-ranging consumer insights to make smarter, better decisions.
Sundar Kadayam is the Chief Technology Officer for Intelliseek, whose adaptable and cost-saving solutions are used by Fortune 500 companies and leading researchers to sort through huge amounts of information to find the critical data they need. Sundar is a technology specialist and software innovator whose accomplishments include leading the development of the first Windows-based communications product for Unisys and DEC enterprise systems and creating the first Universal Communications Architecture for machine-to-machine communications. During the past five years, he has focused his research and development efforts on internet information retrieval. Sunda’s outside interests include travel and cultural events. www.intelliseek.comCopyright Society of Competitive Intelligence ProfessionalsSCIP.online, volume 1 number 9, May 20, 2002
May 16, 2002
Expected value of additional intelligence.Expected value of additional intelligence.
Rich Mignogna, Technology Engineering Management Inc. richm@temi.com
Competitive intelligence analyses often turn out to be data intensive exercises. And, as with any complex problem that will require significant resources to solve, we may be asked to provide a justification for the research we are proposing. In an era of shrinking budgets, such a demand will be hard to refute. We know, perhaps intuitively, the value of what we propose. But do we always articulate a sufficent case to management to justify it in their minds? We can often tell them what it will cost. But, do we give them sufficient information about what it will be worth? A tool that can help with this problem is called a
Decision Tree 
. In addition to helping us determine the best decision, decision trees can also help us estimate how much we should be willing to pay for the additional intelligence that will enable a more informed decision. Probably the most commonly asked question after submitting any proposal to your superiors is
"What is this going to cost?" 
 But the question they ought to be asking is
"What is this worth?" 
 For instance, is it reasonable to spend a few tens of thousands of dollars or more to protect even 1% market share of a billion dollar market? Take, for example, when a major competitor is rumored to soon introduce a new product that can take some of your company’s market share. Your firm has several choices in this situation. It could introduce a next generation product of its own to combat the challenger. Or it could plan a preemptive marketing blitz to coincide with the competitor’s introduction of its product. Not to be overlooked is the option of doing absolutely nothing – after all, the competitor’s new product could be a flop. But, can you afford to take the risk? What would it be worth to your company to know more so that management could make an informed decision? And how can we articulate to senior management why it should be willing to devote funds to gather additional intelligence about thechallenger?The tool that decision analysts use to articulate the value of such decisions is the d
ecision tree 
. Decision trees solve a class of problems known as
Decision Making Under Risk 
. Generally speaking, decision trees are multi-stage problems in which a probabilistic event (such as success or failure or the state of the economy) follows some management decision (such as the decision to introduce or not introduce a new product, or the decision to expand plant capacity).Decision trees allow us to compute the
expected value of sample (or perfect) information 
. This is the amount of money we should be willing to spend to increase our confidence about the outcome of probabilistic events. For our purposes, we can consider this the value of obtaining additional
. A very simple new product introduction dilemma illustrates this concept.Assume that our firm is planning to introduce a new product into an uncertain market based largely on a presumed demand. Our track record
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