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Customer Story


Four ways Co-op uses Brandwatch across different time frames

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Customer StoryCo-op

We spoke to Senior Digital Engagement Manager Jordan McDowell about how one of the UK's largest food retailers uses Brandwatch to glean actionable insights.

Learn how Co-op uses Brandwatch's suite of products in circumstances that require both immediate action, and long-term research.

Immediate insight

A crisis averted

The term “crisis” means different things for different organizations. While some companies may pride themselves on never having encountered one, for food retailers every negative mention has the potential to turn into a full scale Twitter storm. Given the nature of the industry, customer safety and satisfaction is hugely important.

That’s why when Jordan’s team received a Brandwatch Alert relating to danger at a store last year, they acted swiftly.

The team had set up custom Brandwatch Alerts to let them know immediately when certain terms were mentioned alongside the brand so they could respond as soon as possible. This means that high priority mentions aren’t left to be discovered in social inboxes behind all the other posts.

In this instance, a fire broke out at a Co-op store in Wales in September last year. The team was alerted at 2:15pm local time, immediately after this tweet was sent.

@dailypostwales just seen that the @coopukfood in Pensarn, Abergele is on fire.
— @alanjones2004

This enabled the Co-op Digital Engagement team to act quickly, and they were able to get the situation under control within an hour.

“Getting anything done in under an hour is pretty amazing...the fastest part about this whole element here was Brandwatch because it told us instantaneously. It's then down to people power to make cogs move within the business.”
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op
Brandwatch image

Medium-term: Reacting tactfully to a story about a competitor

Sourcing food ethically is a hugely important part of Co-op’s business, and the Food Policy team is particularly concerned with the ethical issues that Co-op’s members think are most important.

Subjects like sustainability and ethical trading are tracked constantly by the Food Policy team who work with farmers and regularly review and rewrite policies surrounding the food Co-op stocks.

The team will access Brandwatch dashboards on the go, independent of the Digital Engagement team, to temperature check public mood surrounding different ethical subjects and build those insights into their own work.

"The devil is really in the detail and the detail which we’re able to derive from Brandwatch is so much richer and so much clearer and so much more useful, we think in Co-op at least, than that which we’re able to get from other listening platforms."
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op

Co-op also monitors conversation surrounding these ethical topics in relation to their competitors. “We’re able to compare all of those different conversations against our own and understand the differences and nuances between how people talk about the individual retailers and all of these topics, which is really, really important,” says Jordan.

In the summer, the Co-op team found an opportunity within that conversation. The team’s Brandwatch Alerts and Signals surrounding ethical trade were buzzing as a competitor generated a lot of conversation after declassifying their own brand tea from Fairtrade. Many took to social media to express their disappointment.

The team realized this was a good opportunity to re-tell their own Fairtrade story, as a subject their members care a lot about.

The team used Brandwatch Audiences to identify influencers who were interested in Fairtrade, simply searching for people with “Fairtrade” in their bio on Twitter.

They then reached out to those influencers with a blog post on the campaign written by their Fairtrade Strategy Manager, simply saying it might be something they would be interested in. The shares they got contributed to the campaign’s incredible success.

While it only ran for a short time, between July 31 – August 7 2017, it reached 23.5 million people.

"By being a bit crafty and jumping on an opportunity that’s been presented from Brandwatch, utilizing the power of Audiences – not just the product, but audiences in general – we were able to really pack a good punch at a key time to help tell a specific story that was important to Our Co-op."
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op
Brandwatch image

Long-term: Researching, implementing and tracking a successful campaign

So far we’ve shown how Brandwatch has uncovered insights that have led to both immediate action within an hour and the starting of a new campaign within a month. But what about the longer term projects Co-op is interested in?

One example is Co-op’s multi-award winning #ReverseAdvent campaign, in which participants were invited to fill a box with items for those in need each day leading up to Christmas.

Jordan had found out about the idea in August – in fact, he got it from his mom – and began to explore whether Co-op could get involved. He set up a query for #reverseadvent and related terms at the end of August and was surprised by how many mentions were appearing considering how far off Christmas was.

The amount of conversation Brandwatch was surfacing around the idea showed the team that this could be “a big thing.”

"We utilized custom Alerts and Signals on this query so that we were being kept abreast of any developments. The main thing I was looking for in this instance was that no other grocer was being associated with the trend at this point; I didn’t want any of our competitors being in there, because we wanted to be the only one, or at least the leading one, if we were able to actually activate a viral campaign."
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op

The team also used Brandwatch Audiences as early as September to identify key players in the conversation, making a note of them so they could get them involved when they started to activate their own campaign.

As the campaign started, the Co-op team sent out boxes, vouchers and pamphlets to help people make the most of #ReverseAdvent. They kept in touch with those participating by sending them prompts, asking what would be going in the box that day and who they were intending to give the box to.

"We were able to leverage these additional opportunities to stoke the flames of the viral conversation based on what Brandwatch was telling us around the trajectory of where the volume was going, which was really, really important, especially for a campaign that was supposed to last and did last as long as this one did."
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op

In the end, the #ReverseAdvent campaign was one of Co-op’s most successful campaign’s ever, with 75 million earned impressions as well as, Jordan says proudly, 278 smiley emojis.

Jordan said: “We were also able to calculate our version of a return on investment. For those of you that work in marketing or advertising, cost per mille or cost per thousand impressions is a really useful way to benchmark your media spend against one another. A £5 CPM on general Facebook and/or Twitter campaigns is quite good. Here we’ve got one for 18p based on earned hashtag impressions.”

Brandwatch’s ability to help with quantitative insights was key to measuring the success of the campaign, but the qualitative insights were also hugely important for telling the story of how people got involved in the campaign.

"Whilst the 75 million earned impressions is the key stat that excites people in the business, when you tell them the individual stories about how a certain mother may have taught her daughter about giving back to her local community...those stories really do transcend the other analysis and that’s what Brandwatch is able to provide us with."
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op

The campaign lives on, not just in memory but also through the team’s use of Brandwatch Image Insights, detecting their logo in online images.

A year on from the campaign, Jordan says the team still sees #ReverseAdvent boxes in the background of photos, the logo being picked up by Brandwatch.

Experimenting with Image Insights has surfaced a whole legacy for #ReverseAdvent that the team didn’t expect.

Instant and always: Co-op + Vizia

The Co-op teams have been using Brandwatch Vizia to distribute insights across their head office in Manchester; these insights go beyond social data.

Initially, the screens were displayed by the Digital Engagement team.

But one day, the CMO noticed them and asked where else they could be displayed. Fast forward to today and Vizia greets everyone in the foyer as they come in. They also serve up data to key teams across the organization on different floors and departments.

Having multiple screens means the central team can display relevant data and information continuously to each of the environments where the screens are located.

Vizia screens on other floors show campaign metrics to help teams understand how well their latest campaigns are doing, as well as membership data to show how many new memberships are being sold and how many members have been active over the last few days.

Brandwatch image
Brandwatch image

They’re also looking to expand Vizia’s potential further to create stronger links between the data science team and executives who often find it hard to spend enough time together, and to give the PR team valuable access to Vizia’s BuzzSumo integration.

“Our aspiration is to learn more about what colleagues need to see on these screens and iterate more visualisations. We also want to help specific teams realise their own visualisations, specific to their industry or profession, in a way similar to how our Social Media team make use of Vizia in our Social Command Centre set-up,” says Gail Lyon, Head of Digital Engagement at Co-op.

Vizia makes it possible for insights to be shared instantly and continuously across the business, helping to improve communication and to drive faster decisions based on the data.

Brandwatch Vizia has allowed Co-op to share beautiful data visualisations with thousands of colleagues right where they work, to help with their work.
— Gail Lyon, Head of Digital Engagement at Co-op

Insights at speed and insights in depth

Whether its reacting to potential crises, tracking competitors and reacting tactfully to stories about them or doing some long-term research for a big campaign, Brandwatch’s family of products have been helping teams across Co-op for three years.

"There's no other system that is as flexible or as in tune with not only how a social media team might need to understand business insights from social media, but also enables you to easily translate those insights into something tangible for teams that aren’t social savvy."
— Jordan McDowell - Senior Digital Engagement Manager, Co-op

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