Challenge: Update an Out of Date Brand Image

A leading consumer advocacy group needed to rebrand itself. Everything about their market had changed dramatically – new competitors had appeared, their mode of publication was becoming dated, and their brand name was associated with this dated perception.  Their competitors offered similar, yet less accurate, information for free. Their significant history as a print publication indicated that their current demographic was aging, and they needed to attract younger members. In other words, they needed to adapt to survive.

In order to tackle the issue of rebranding as a trusted source for consumer research for all demographics, they needed a clear picture of the current state of the perception of their brand. However, they ran into a problem when it came to measuring the impact of their earned media.

The group produces a large quantity of owned media for their members and affiliate websites. Their earned thought leadership was picked up and respected, but their efforts at reporting on that impact lacked precision. Previous monitoring tools worked best for brand mentions, not topics, so they primarily found their own content rather than earned media articles. Without an accurate analysis of which outlets trusted and shared their research, they couldn’t pitch new ones, and without new outlets, they had no hope of updating their audience demographic. 

A compounding factor is that their media coverage spiked rapidly. Their thought leadership was mentioned heavily the day it came out, but was always the first thing cut out of news stories. As soon as they published a finding, they needed to immediately start tracking mentions. Any report that wasn’t created instantly and updated constantly would be borderline useless.

Solution: Accurate and Fast Analysis as Needed

The team chose the PublicRelay solution because it allows the group to cut through the noise of earned versus owned media easily. The group generates analysis around their current news story topics by focusing on third party mentions. Detailed demographic data is provided for each of those outlets and the team can also search for additional outlets to pitch based on similar demographic criteria. 

Their research topics are very broad, covering nearly all sectors of the consumer market. They use industry-specific tags for each article, giving them insights into which specific industries and the accompanying outlets that value their thought leadership research. With these benchmarks in place, they can create specific media outreach plans for each market segment.

With the granular nature of the analysis by topic, industry and demographic, they have access to an incredibly deep and specific set of insights. They are no longer hampered by noisy data clouded by their own articles, or by the fact that their brand does not get mentioned often as the brands noted in their research.

These reports are ready as soon as the group’s research is finished – before it is even published anywhere. As soon as the findings are made public, the reports begin measuring every single brand mention, creating accurate data for the group in near-real-time.

Result: Measuring a New Name, New Audiences, Increased Trust

The rebrand had three major components: launch a new brand name, reach new demographic audiences, and become the trusted source for consumer product research. Their new earned media measurement and analytics program enables the team to not only analyze the progress on each of these core components over time but also make more strategic tactical decisions along the way. 

First, to manage their name change, they set up a view that alerts them whenever their previous name is mentioned. They then contact the authors and outlets who referred to them incorrectly. Not only does this allow them to effectively supervise their name change, it also gives them access to reporters they may not have had reason to contact in the past. 

Second, to manage their demographic shift, they needed to see who they were reaching. The PublicRelay solution appends detailed demographic data to outlets so the media relations team can understand where they are hitting the mark and where they need to find additional outlets to target. For example, they published research relating to childcare. The research was picked up by a number of new outlets that reach an audience of millennials. Those outlets  have a relatively small audience and had not been on the team’s radar as it had been calibrated to audience size, one of the few data points they had access to previously. Now they can easily find all outlets with the demographics they need to reach.

Finally, armed with insights about how their earned media is impacting their brand perception, the group began focusing on sign ups to their paid service. By integrating their existing Adobe Analytics with the PublicRelay solution, they are now able to view a direct conversion pipeline. They can see where their thought leadership is mentioned and backlinked, see who clicks through to their site, and finally see if that person converts and signs up for a membership

Overall, the consumer advocacy group has access to a deeper level of data and insights than they ever had access to before. Modernizing their earned media measurement program has enabled them to modernize their brand. The teams are better informed about how their work is impacting the broader business goals and are continually optimizing their programs.

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