Charting the Blogosphere

How Consumer Conversation will Transform Business
PricewaterhouseCoopers white paper
Jan. 29

Forward-looking companies are recognizing, and trying to harness, the digital conversations being conducted about their companies.

Executives at those firms recognize that 75 to 100 million blogs are active today, in addition to 10 to 20 million discussion groups. Any one voice creates yet a new community online, and those conversations can create real risk to companies as self-appointed critics, which may or may not actually be customers, spread news of company misdeeds.

According to this study, major companies are increasing their expenditures on web and customer relations management analytics in order to map the “voicescape” of the consumer conversation.

Technology has been developed to analyze written and spoken conversation to map the volume of words, repetition of phrases and their frequency of use. Proper analysis could tell companies what consumers really think about firms and offer keys to their future needs.

As an example, the report mentions the factors that went into the development of a new soft drink by The Coca-Cola Co. Analysis of consumer conversations indicated the terms “diet” and “light” were negatives for part of the potential marketplace. That’s why the new product is Coke Zero.

Attention to digital media can act like a company’s early warning system, heading off consumer satisfaction and preserving a firm’s reputation, if a company can correctly interpret the data and has the agility to act upon it, the report said.