Here's how the need for consumer intelligence has evolved
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Here’s how the need for consumer intelligence has evolved

Here’s how the need for consumer intelligence has evolved

With a significant change in consumer expectations, Tod Nielsen, CEO at Talkwalker shares his insights on why consumer intelligence is crucial for brands

How has the need for consumer intelligence evolved? Do you see any new trends currently?
Consumer intelligence has always prioritised data and technology, leaving human insight behind. Of course, it is necessary to have a vast array of data sources, but it isn’t sufficient. It would help if you had artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to process this massive amount of data.

We are now seeing a growing need for the human analytical side of consumer intelligence. Brands need insights experts that can help translate that data and intelligence into actionable strategies. It’s very easy to treat data as numbers, but the world can not be captured in just 1s and 0s. There are humans behind each data point, each with their personal stories and opinions, and brands need to recognise them.

When it comes to trends, I think the biggest we’re seeing is that consumer intelligence is breaking out across the enterprise. At one point, this function was seen in the realm of marketing, as they were the closest to consumers and were able to act upon insights through their channels. But now we’re seeing more and more departments, like product development, sales, and services, turning to this new form of consumer intelligence to drive consumer-led actions across all aspects of the business.

Why do you think consumer intelligence is crucial for brands? Why should brands adopt AI-enabled consumer intelligence?
The consumer determines the value and strength of every brand. They decide how your latest product performs, and their opinions get projected onto your brand. They choose the tone and messaging that is picked up in the community. In other words, they decide if you grow or fail in 2022.

Consumer intelligence enables brands to understand these dynamics and be proactive. Without it, you are making decisions in the dark, trying to develop and sell products without knowing what people want. Trying to fix brand problems without really knowing what they are.

Without consumer intelligence, you’re widening your brand’s consumer closeness gap.

And why AI? Every brand should look towards growth and scalability. That means growing your audience, devising more touchpoints, increasing client conversations, and ultimately, creating more brand data. While having human touch is critical, handling billions of data points would be impenetrable without the support of artificial intelligence.

AI helps signpost the elements that need developing further. For example, our sentiment analysis will help you understand what consumers feel about your brand. A sudden peak in negative mentions would mean there’s a brand crisis striking. You can then dig deeper into what is causing the issue and quickly take action to resolve it.

AI will also lead to predictive brand actions. Instead of waiting for a peak, it will help identify and track the signals of a crisis, enabling the brand to accelerate its reaction time and take action before an issue ever gets close to the headlines.

Tell us about your company and how do you help brands plan their strategies?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a significant change in consumer expectations. They want faster, better, more personalised service, but brands are struggling to adapt to meet these demands. This creates a real gap. We call this a ‘consumer closeness gap’ – a void between brand and consumer that, without action, will continue to grow.

We help close that gap. We provide technological and human intelligence to help brands make sense of this fast-changing digital world. We allow brands to harness the never-ending mass of consumer data and distil it into thought-provoking insight stories.

As this consumer closeness gap is closed, brands can put the consumer at the heart of their strategy. This enables data-driven decision-making across their business, allowing them to embrace smarter innovation, create more successful campaigns, and provide enhanced customer experiences. We help them to be the best brand that they can be where it matters most, in the hearts and minds of consumers.

What are your plans for the year ahead? Do you have any expansion plans?
Talkwalker is constantly expanding. In 2021, we made two acquisitions. Reviewbox, to help us grow our product review capability, and, to build upon our human expertise. We also opened offices in London and Sydney.

In 2022, we want to remain ahead of the market and continue to grow. That means investing further in technology, broader data sets, our already advanced AI, and in our people. We’re also getting closer to our industry, strengthening relationships with clients, agencies, partners, and industry professionals to ensure our platform consistently exceeds market expectations. This will lead to further expansion, deepening our roots and building genuine connections with consumers in numerous regional markets.

Read: Human error in data analytics, and how to fix it using artificial intelligence

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