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Published January 11th 2017

Interview: Talking Metrics, Election Lighting and Success With Renegade

We speak to Drew Neisser, Founder of Renegade in today's interview, and discuss their enlightening campaigns for the Empire State Building

In our first interview of 2017 we speak with Drew Neisser, Founder and CEO of Renegade. Drew is a published author, his most recent book “The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing,” features interviews with 64 of the brightest minds in marketing.


Hi Drew, lovely to talk to you. Can you tell us a bit about Renegade?

Renegade has a 20-year history of helping clients find innovative ways to cut through, not just the proverbial clutter but also the processes that can inhibit innovation. We are particularly proud of the work we do for our long-time client the Empire State Building, enhancing their social presence across all social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, TripAdvisor and Yelp).  

In addition to strategy and content development, we act as community managers, spearheading social initiatives for the world famous Empire State Building and the parent organization, Empire State Realty Trust. Social media plays an important role before, during and after a travel experience, especially one as unique as visiting the Empire State Building observatories.

What led you to seek a social listening platform in the first place? What challenge were you looking to overcome?

There were several reasons for having a social listening platform.

First, the Empire State Building generates thousands and thousands of social comments every month and we wanted to be able to track both the volume and nature of the comments being shared.

Often these comments are associated with particularly events orchestrated by the building like special lightings at the top of the building and celebrity visits, which we need to be able to report on separately. Brandwatch allows us to be nimble and thorough in our reporting process.


Second, given the high profile of the Empire State Building, we needed the ability to receive real-time notifications on specific key words related to things like the customer experience, security and breaking news. Using Brandwatch, we can quickly determine if a particular news item or comment is gaining traction on social media and then figure out the appropriate course of action.

What are the specific challenges you face using social listening?

One challenge is tracking organic conversations on Facebook. Since most users keep their posts private, we can’t really pull mentions from the platform.

Another challenge we face is gauging the effectiveness of Snapchat. How do we measure the value of an account’s Snapchat followers? The available metrics are a bit limited at the moment.

What end goal did you have in mind by using Brandwatch?

We had a number of goals related to the use of Brandwatch. First, we needed to be able to show the client the impact of their social activities in terms of overall reach, engagement and sentiment.

Second, we needed to provide specific reports on the performance of various special events at or involving the Empire State Building.

New York City skyline

Third, we needed the ability to sort through the thousands of mentions a day and identify the ones that required urgent attention.

How does Brandwatch help you work better?

We’ve been able to track mentions for specific topics. For instance, during the election, the Empire State Building projected the results on to the building. By using Brandwatch, were able to track how many mentions on the lighting were showing up on social media. We found that all of the mentions about the election lighting garnered hundreds of millions of impressions. This kind of information was extremely useful in determining the effectiveness of the lighting.

What features within Brandwatch do you find most useful?

We find it useful to be able to segment mentions geographically. For instance, when we did the election lighting for the Empire State Building, we identified three countries outside of the US that were talking about the election the most. These kinds of insights are helpful in determining target audiences and related content.

Another useful tool is the Tag creation feature. We often create Queries that we’ll need to re-use in the future. Creating Tags allows us to save Queries and use them again in the future.

The sentiment analysis tool is also directionally helpful particularly when it comes to tracking attitudes over time.

Are you able to share any results or insights you found using Brandwatch?

  • Continual demonstration of the exceptional reach achieved by the Empire State Building’s social media activities.
  • On-going identification of opportunities for real-time engagements with visitors and prospects.
  • Faster and more effective customer service via social channels.

What does success look like to you and how do you measure it?

Success, first and foremost, is a happy client, which typically correlates with the length of the relationship.

Renegade has been the social media agency of record for the Empire State Building for five years and counting. Part of this success can be linked to our ability through Brandwatch to show continuous improvement in terms of overall reach, engagement and brand sentiment.

What are your future plans for using Brandwatch?

We look forward to taking advantage of both current and new features Brandwatch plans on introducing especially those that improve our understanding of our target, the content they consume, their geography and their evolving demographics.

A big thanks to Drew for speaking with us. This interview is one in a series with industry experts.

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