Interview: The Co-op on Using Social Listening to Influence Decision Making. Interview

By Hannah Tregear on May 23rd 2017

As Customer Marketing Manager here at Brandwatch, I love nothing more than talking to our customers. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days earlier this month with over 300 of our customers at our Now You Know Conference in Denver.

If you weren’t there (you missed out!) you can catch up on all that went on here and here.

As a global company, Brandwatch has customers all over the world, from Costa Rica to New Zealand.

I love hearing how our customers from every corner of the world make use of Brandwatch, so when I saw this fantastic blog post: by our client the Co-op: How listening to social media could influence decision making, I reached out to the author Sophie Newton, social media community manager, to interview her for our own blog.

The Co-op Group is a British consumer co-operative, meaning it is an enterprise owned by consumers and managed democratically.

It has a diverse family of retail businesses including food, electrical, insurance, legal services and funeralcare, with over 4,200 locations across the U.K.

The business has long established itself as an ethical retailer, allowing women the same democratic rights within the society as men since its founding in 1844 and was the first major UK retailer to champion Fairtrade.

As a pioneering organization – the Co-op now takes that spirit into digital and has built a team to spearhead creativity and progression in the digital space lead by Mike Bracken, formerly of the UK Government Digital Service”.

In this article we find out how the Co-op is using Brandwatch to understand what is important to its customers and members and to keep at the forefront of key conversations.

Hi Sophie, can you tell us a bit about you?

I’m one of Co-op’s Social Media Community Managers. We engage and utilise social conversation across the business working with Food, Insurance, Funeralcare, Legal Services and Electrical.

Our team sits within Co-op Digital. Co-op Digital are working on the digital future of our Co-op; we’re agile, we iterate and we’re open.

We’re creating new digital products, services and platforms, helping our existing businesses make the most of digital and pioneering new ways to co-operate online.

Thanks Sophie. What challenges were you looking to overcome by using social listening?

We wanted to know what was important to our customers and members. Listening to their views on our products, policies and ways of working.

Using social listening intelligence we could find patterns in conversation and present these findings back into the business.

Can you talk a little bit about a specific project where you’ve used Brandwatch Analytics?

Our Food policy team wanted to know what our customer, members and colleagues thought of our current policies.

They had key themes that they wanted to monitor; agriculture, sustainability, safety and legislation, diet and health, and ethical trade.

The idea behind the collaboration is that we’ll make more informed policy decisions the more we listen.

With this campaign in mind, what end goal did you hope to achieve by using Brandwatch?

Being able to communicate our members’ views to the relevant people within the business is our main aim.

Brandwatch helps us to identify and then create content that we know our members will find interesting or that might help clarify things they’ve not understood.


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How does the Brandwatch platform help you work better?

Using Brandwatch Alerts we’ve been able to recognise recurrent themes, issues, and questions, as well as being on the forefront of conversation.

Using Brandwatch Analytics we were able to analyse campaign data.

The data in our food policy dashboard found that during #FairtradeFortnight in March, Co-op represented 50% of the conversation around ethical trading while our grocery competitors combined made up the other 50%.

This was due to individuals getting behind our commitment to 100% Fairtrade cocoa in all own brand products from May 2017, clearly a policy that was well accepted with our members and a better way of doing business.

What are your future plans for using Brandwatch? How will the insights help with your future work?

We will continue to use Brandwatch to monitor, engage and amplify social conversation across the whole business.

We’ll be making changes when needed and improving our use of reactive content. We’re also excited to use Brandwatch Audiences for influencer outreach.

Thank you for talking to us Sophie. If you’re a customer who would like to share your Brandwatch story, please get in touch, we’d love to talk to you. For more info on the social media team in Co-op Digital please see their blog posts here: https://digitalblog.coop.co.uk/category/social-media/.


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