The field of reputation monitoring seems to be on fire. By all accounts a hot, hot, hot category to watch. The reason is simple: most businesses don’t really know what is happening online and they are scared. So they pay for a company to make sense of the millions of interactions going on globally around their brands. They monitor products, staff, competitors, slogans, IP… in fact they let the reputation monitoring experts tell them what they should be monitoring! This is about the same as asking your army’s general what new weapons he needs. Expect a long, complex and detailed list of very expensive stuff.
Don’t get me wrong. You do need to monitor what is going on online. And with the right partner you might even learn a lot about the field. But it is extremely important not to lose track of the real world of influence. Which, for most businesses, is not yet completely online. Traditional media like TV, radio and print exert massive influence. Heck I have waged fax mailing campaigns that blow the socks of anything online! The fact that they don’t provide metrics as easy to produce as the online stuff shouldn’t marginalise them.
It does of course in a twisted Catch 22 scenario: online metrics are easier, so we spend more time with them, so we disregard older media, so ad spend decreases. The solution is pretty much what Google did with their Analytics. TV companies should buy monitoring systems and give them away to customers! In Greece for example there is a truly excellent company, www.qualia.gr which offers not only solid technology for speech and content recognition, but intelligence in it’s analysis. And social media is included, so you can get an overall and balanced view. (If I was the TV company buying Qualia I would tweak the algorythms a bit I think…)
It is all about interface. If I get you looking at my monitor of information I control what you think.