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Published November 13th 2022

How Brandwatch Empowers Carnegie Mellon University Students With Experiential Learning

Distinguished Service Professor Ari Lightman tells the Brandwatch blog how he equips his students with the skills they need to succeed in market research

Brandwatch’s Classroom offering is about offering students the chance to get started in their careers with confidence in using the tools of digital consumer intelligence and knowing how to leverage consumer insights.

We recently spoke with Professor Ari Lightman of Carnegie Mellon University to understand why and how he teaches his students how to use Brandwatch products in his multi-disciplinary, experiential Measuring Social class.

Powerful and insightful

Professor Lightman’s course is open to everyone at the university, so his class has to cater for students focused on disciplines as varied as design, business, data analytics, policy, computer science, and traditional management. His students are headed out on a whole variety of career paths.

And that’s why he loves Brandwatch. His students can pull powerful insights quickly and simply, and those insights can relate to almost any field.

“We have used several different social listening and intelligence platforms in the past but have found that Brandwatch provides the combination of a powerful social listening platform with tools and features to uncover sentiment, trends, and images to create comprehensive stories of online consumer conversations.”

They’ve used the platform to create some incredible work.

They’ve done the basics, like assessing how effective advertising campaigns have been on social platforms, and working out how to implement more efficient targeting.

But they’ve also gone much further. Professor Lightman’s class developed a set of algorithms using social data pulled from Brandwatch to discover the likelihood of one of the world’s largest car rental agencies running out of stock.

Getting students on board

Professor Lightman told us that students find searching for data simple on the platform.

“Students find the platform intuitive and easy to get up to speed with to run complex queries to find pertinent social information.”

In particular, his students value the platform for its flexibility. He said: “Students really enjoy the intuitive features found in Consumer Research, especially Custom Classifiers and tools that help identify how online groups are responding to campaigns, brand messaging, and social sentiment”.

He continued: “Students also use the topic wheel as a means to identify affinity between different audiences and build personas associated with online groups to understand engagement and interconnectedness.”

In practical action

Each semester, Professor Lightman’s class works with a variety of multinational companies. The goal is to help students really understand how consumer insights inform brands.

Working with an international food brand helped open students’ eyes to the power of Brandwatch. One student said: “Brandwatch was daunting at first with none of us having used the platform before. It was fascinating to see the power of the tool in capturing so much data with simple basic queries.”

“The inbuilt Iris function was very helpful in understanding sudden peaks in the volume of social media mentions for a particular diet. The intricate mapping to individual tweets and posts based on emotion and sentiment were very helpful in understanding the cause behind the particular emotion or sentiment.”

It’s only the beginning

Professor Lightman is very optimistic about the future of the students who take his class.

“I think we are still at the beginning of assessing how social data can be operationalized within an organization and combined with other data to provide real-time assessment of consumer sentiment.”

In the future he hopes to use social data in his classes to empower public services. He said: “As we are looking to use social data to uncover societal trends, we are looking to Brandwatch as a trusted research partner to help our students and researchers uncover the data required to develop effective analysis.”

Get involved

Students, brands, and professors have all gained valuable insights from the platform. But more importantly, Brandwatch for Classroom helps equip those starting out in their careers for a business world that’s increasingly fueled by digital consumer insights.

Find out more about Brandwatch for Classrooms here.

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