Monday, May 5, 2008


Capturing Authors' Perceptions

One of the nice features SM2 provides is the ability to gain visibility into what authors are thinking when they post about different brands. SM2 is able to do this by looking at the tags and categories associated with the posts. Identifying how content has been tagged or categorized allows us to gain insight into what the authors are thinking and care about.

For example, let's take a look at an SM2 Author Categories Cloud generated for the company E*Trade and see if we can identify any patterns.

This is a standard cloud, presenting terms in alphabetical order while using relative font sizes to indicate the frequency the term is used. The larger the font, the more common the tag is.

Note the themes we see in the E*Trade cloud:

- Variations on "Super Bowl" demonstrates some buzz around E*Trade super bowl commercials.

- Multiple references to Commercials, Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, and Affliate programs.

- References indicating cross-industry posts, such as tags for Ameritrade (strongest correlation) and Bank of America.

- Many references to industry terms such as finance, broker, banking, and money.

- Several references to hi-tech companies such as Microsoft and Google.

Now let's compare this to a similar SM2 Author Categories Cloud generated for "Ameritrade".

In the Ameritrade cloud, we see many similarities to E*Trade's cloud:

- Cross-references to other financial companies such as Washington Mutual, Charles Schwab, Merril Lynch, and Goldman Sachs.

- Fewer references to high-tech companies.

- Similar industry terms such as brokerage, stocks, and trading.

Even with the similarities, you can also see some slightly different characteristic surfacing between the two different companies. With E*Trade, we saw a little more association with high tech companies. With Ameritrade, we saw more association with other financial companies.

Finally, let's compare those two clouds to an Author Categories Cloud for "Charles Schwab".

With this cloud, we see a very different picture portrayed:

- References to charities, an advisory council, and other movements.

- Similar cross industry references, but some different names, such as JP Morgan and Citigroup.

- Many references to leadership, empowerment, partnerships, and education.

As you can see, SM2's Author Categories Clouds feature provides insight into the personalities and public perceptions of a brand. In these cases, our sample size was fairly small. The larger the sample size, the better able you'll be able to identify different perceptions.

Once you've gained some understanding of the perceptions around your brand, you can begin working shaping your brand's personality as well as those perceptions into a reflection of the brand you want to be perceived as.

Get started investigating your own brand by signing up for an SM2 Freemium account at

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Good info - this stuff is essential for marketers/branders nowadays.
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