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In Category: Converseon News

On August 16 Converseon  announced an important partnership with Twitter to infuse the Firehose – all 80+ million daily tweets – real time in to our Conversation Mining platform. You can read the release here.

Twitter logoIt’s a significant advance, and a big commitment. But it is also critical:  if you care about social CRM or near real time social engagement, you simply cannot operate without access to the full Firehose. As Forrester Research said in response to the announcement, “ultimately, this is a big step in the listening platform market…”.

And indeed it is a big step.  In our experience, general API Twitter data represents only a fraction of tweets (those limited to “high velocity) and Twitter is continuing to limit that data stream.  Just last week, reports surfaced that Twitter is limiting historical searches to four days. The plain truth is that there are currently significant blind spaces abound even for those companies who may be using paid listening services if they don’t have Firehose access.

At Converseon, we take pride in bringing a healthy skepticism to new platforms and technologies. In the early days, we too were a little skeptical about the growth potential of Twitter.  However, it indeed has evolved into the heartbeat of social conversation.  As author and technology observer Steven Johnson wrote recently in Time Magazine, “Twitter is looking more and more like plumbing (of the web), and plumbing is eternal.”

We’re proud today to plug this plumbing into our Conversation Mining solutions to finding meaning and insights – and action – in the immense stream of data to help brands harness the power of social across the enterprise. Effectively managing the vast amount of data is one challenge since in addition to Firehose we mine blogs, newsgroups, and more. Finding meaning in the data is the other.  This requires a lot of technical horsepower, advanced text analytics and human intelligence.

But we’ve been preparing ourselves for this for quite some time.  And the benefits to brands are myriad; they include demand/lead generation, customer service, real time social engagement, and, ultimately, using active listening as an engine to transform brands into social organizations with real time intelligence flowing across the organization for action and competitive advantage.

Let the Firehose begin.

In an industry where it is more and more difficult for brands to separate fact from fiction and understand the differences between Listening platforms, Forrester Research, led by Zach Hofer-Shall, recently published their review of Listening Platforms: “Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010″, and you can download a complimentary copy from Converseon.

Forrester Wave Listening Platforms Q3 2010

In order to identify the category leaders, Forrester evaluated offerings from nine companies according to 76 criteria, including data sources, textual analysis, functionality, consulting and analysis services, strength of management team, and corporate and product strategy.

Based on performance across these dimensions, the companies were then grouped into four categories: Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders and Risky Bets (see image above).

Converseon, we are pleased to report, was recognized in the Leaders category as one of three vendors that “combine the best offering and go-to-market strategy.” Also, Converseon scored highest for text analysis and the second highest for its consulting and analysis services, strength of management team and corporate strategy. A free copy of the report can be downloaded from our website.

According to Forrester, “Converseon offers a leading product with its “customized for your needs” mentality. There is no standard Converson installation, (Converson) builds a tailored dashboard for its enterprise installation and offers professional services around every step of the Social Intelligence process. Converseon’s model of starting with technology and adding human analysis makes for highly effective data quality, leading custom reports and strong functionality.”

We are especially proud to be one of the very few listening platform providers to remain independent. Our approach enables us to iterate quickly, partner deeply with our clients, and move fast to meet marketplace needs.

We understand the category is still quite young, and that leading brands are looking for solutions not just for today, but for the next years as Social Intelligence evolves and becomes more deeply integrated into the DNA of enterprises. This is an area where Converseon excels.

We focus on designing listening solutions (beyond simple “tools”) to help infuse listening across organizations, for multiple use cases, and to help large enterprises redesign business processes to make the intelligence actionable. This includes governance, policy, infrastructure, training and more.

Perhaps most profoundly, we believe that social media listening is the first step in effective business redesign. All too often, once social intelligence is flowing through an organization, there is a moment of realization: “These are great insights and intelligence but we’re simply aren’t designed to act on this.”

Real-time intelligence requires business process redesign to enable agile movement for competitive advantage. That’s why Converseon remains the only leading provider of Conversation Mining with robust management consulting and activation practices.

Of course, we see others in the industry moving into this space too via joint partnership or rollup/acquisition, and we believe that our strength lies in organic evolution. We are proud that our team is rapidly evolving and our solutions growing. I am also quite excited because some of the most interesting technology and solutions have yet to emerge from our R&D work.

We appreciate the industry recognition for our work, but won’t for a moment rest on our laurels. We have a 24-hour rule here: even with good news, we allow only 24 hours to pass before moving on. And we agree with the general observation of the industry: the best is yet to come.

You can obtain additional information from Forrester.


The Forrester Wave is copyrighted by Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester and Forrester Wave are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. The Forrester Wave is a graphical representation of Forrester’s call on a market and is plotted using a detailed spreadsheet with exposed scores, weightings, and comments. Forrester does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in the Forrester Wave. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change.

ChrisBoudreaux2 Welcome Chris Boudreaux
As the arteries of social media intelligence continue to grow and infuse across organizations, increasingly there is a recognition that most enterprises are not designed effectively to act quickly and with agility on that intelligence.  It’s a moment many large enterprises who have engaged in listening have come to at some point – how do we redesign what we do to make this work?  As one senior executive from a major automotive brand wrote to me: “this social media listening has unearthed many dysfunctions that we had happily buried away, but have now been surfaced.”  This is positive transformation.

At Converseon, our Conversation Mining technologies are segueing rapidly into business process redesign.  This is an important differentiation for us in this space.  We are the only leading provider of Conversation Mining with robust management consulting and activation practices.

The Social Media Management practice has grown very rapidly  under the tutelage of Mike Moran, Constantin Basturea and others.  Today, we make a very important announcement that will significantly strengthen this practice – the addition of one of the leading thinkers and practitioners in this space, Chris Boudreaux.

All too often in the social media world, self styled “experts” are quick to throw around shallow commentary wrapped in the guise of knowledge. The social world is full of flashy largely meaningless commentary (see BusinessWeek’s Beware of Social Snake Oil) which simply muddies up the industry and distracts from the important work the leading practioners are doing.

That’s not Chris.

When I met him I was refreshed by his modesty. As I dug deeper over time, I discovered layer upon layer of depth of knowledge ranging from governance to management theory to data integration and business intelligence. His approach represents what we value most at Converseon: substance over style; modesty where our work (and clients) speak to our excellence; a focused intelligence about the deep meaning of what we do (ranging from the social sciences to computer science and beyond) and where we all work with great collaboration and respect towards the greater mission. Where we put clients needs above our own and we focus on the transformatory nature of our work.

We view business consulting melding closely into social intelligence strategies.  It will become a key driver in business redesign.   Our Social Media Management together with our listening technologies and activation practice, enable Converseon to provide a unique “end to end” solution designed to help brands fully leverage the power of social across the enterprise.    This practice – which encompasses governance, policy, infrastructure, training and  more – helps drive and facilitate internal transformation to make social listening actionable and help drive business results for our clients across the enterprise.  Of course, this requires an “inside-out” approach encompassing deep expertise in change management, data integration strategies and more – the very skill set that Chris brings.

I met Chris through his work and reputation.  And as I got to know him, I realized even more so that he brings a level of incredible substance and “get it done” attitude that is refreshing in the social business space.   Like much Converseon’s evolution, our meeting was serendipitous.   But it is serendipity of the kind that brings the best and brightest together to forge new solutions and help drive the industry forward.

Today, I welcome Chris to Day One of his new mission. Here’s our release announcing his appointment. And here’s a link to Social Media Governance – Chris’s site that I’m sure you will agree is an important contribution to the discussion on social media management.

Onward.

Categories: Converseon News

After most of his young professional adulthood at Converseon, we’re very proud that our own very Paull Young has taken the position as Director of Digital Strategy at charity: water, a cause that has been a passion of his for some time. In that position, Paull will be helping to utilize social media to generate support for their efforts to provide clean drinking water in impoverished areas around the world.

It’s a noble cause and one we’re enthusiastic to support.

At Converseon, we have always believed that what we do transcends who we actually are. We hope the causes we nurture, the ideas we help spread, our role in helping to transform and inspire go far beyond our walls. We believe in this era, social purpose matters on many different levels.

We take great satisfaction in our people going on to do great things, even as they remain part of our family. Paull will continue to be part of Converseon spiritually and physically (and not just because of the lunch crumbs he left on his desk ;-) ). He has been named a Converseon Fellow, which is awarded to individuals who have made great contributions and represent the spirit and passion that we work hard to embody here and will continue to consult with us and clients.

We’re all quite excited for Paull since outside of Converseon (and the Australian Rugby League), charity: water is his great passion. I’m also proud that Converseon’s team can contribute to important causes greater than ourselves. His legacy of Australian slang, his passion for the business and to make a difference of the world is exactly the type of person we want at Converseon. And as Paull can attest, there’s great room here for the best and brightest to join the Converseon family and become a lifetime member of the tribe.

Categories: Converseon News

Today Converseon is pleased to announce the launch of CHORUS™, the first measurement solution designed to holistically track and measure the relationship between online and offline word-of-mouth.

At Converseon, will have long recognized the need to integrate other measurement approaches to capture not just an individual’s digital persona, but also their offline dimension.   After all, Word of Mouth is an online and offline phenomena.  It is incumbent on brands to understand both these worlds and the interplay.   As such, we are proud today to announce another industry innovation that we have been working on for the last few months.

As a first in its field, CHORUS™ comprehensively fuses advanced social media listening and analysis together with offline word-of-mouth tracking, in partnership with WOM analytics company ChatThreads.

“Until now, online social media listening and offline word-of-mouth tracking have essentially been two parallel universes,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon.  “While an increasing number of brands are measuring online conversation, there has been a significant void in the measurement of online’s impact in offline word-of-mouth, and vice versa.  CHORUS™ solves the problem of how social media conversation impacts the proverbial offline kitchen table discussions.  For the first time brands can clearly understand and measure word-of-mouth in all its forms.”  Key notes that even with the growing proliferation of online social media conversation, an estimated 80 percent of word-of-mouth occurs offline.

Converseon’s proprietary Conversation Mining™ technology, together with the mobile-enabled touchpoint tracking developed by ChatThreads, bridge a long recognized chasm between what is put forth in multi-channel advertising and marketing campaigns, and what enhances brand affinity, stimulates word-of-mouth discussions, and drives purchasing decisions.

CHORUS™ combines, organizes and reports data gleaned via these two methodologies to create unique actionable insights to improve media and message optimization. This product now gives marketers a deeper understanding of what media fuels consumer discussions and decisions.

More details about the announcement are available at http://bit.ly/chorus-solution

SMW_logo_newyork_web_wide Social Media Week-The Road from Listening to ActivationNew York was certainly a destination for those in the social media industry this week. There were a host of amazing events during 2010′s Social Media Week making it hard to choose which ones to attend. Converseon was happy to be a part of two of them.

Yesterday, amid crepes, mimosas and business card exchanges, a sold-out crowd of people, ranging from self-proclaimed “social media newbies” to seasoned social media practitioners, descended on Converseon’s headquarters for a morning of listening and of course, conversation.

Rob Key, CEO, kicked off “The Road from Listening to Activation” panel with a reference to an ancient Buddhist proverb (isn’t that how all the events kicked off this week?) “If you see Social Media on the road, kill it” challenging those in this quickly growing industry to think bigger, deeper and broader about the possibilities of the social web.  Rob went on to say that “the Year of the Social Media checklist is over,” (2009) “and that 2010 is the Year of Enterprise Activation.”  How does “Enterprise Activation” happen exactly?  That’s precisely what the panel discussed.

Rob then introduced the panel made up of Jon Burg, Emerging Channels Specialist at Digitas; Craig Daitch, SVP of Activation at Converseon and Andy Von Kennel, SVP, Growth Director at Rapp to discuss the role listening plays in social media activation.  Here are some of the highlights… (Tweet-style per @PaullYoung’s great twitter notes!)
IMG_0221-300x225 Social Media Week-The Road from Listening to Activation

“Most brands think  ‘What can I do on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube?’ not ‘What do people want us to do for them?” @jonburg

“It’s not just about mining conversations, we need to think about & analyze what people are doing with Search” @avthinks

“If I listened (re: traditional methods) to my customers, they’d tell me they wanted a faster horse”  Henry Ford quoted by Rob Key

“Time to stop talking about what social media is, and start talking about what it can do” Rob Key

“A prospective customer doesn’t care what part of the company you’re in – they care about whether you can solve their problem” @cdny

@JonBurg: Just because you have ski poles, doesn’t mean your in the Olympics (Just b/c u have data, a FB Page, Twitter, etc…)

“It’s not the technology that matters, it’s the human intelligence behind it” @cdny
(also echoed by Jeff Doak, CTO of Converseon, in a presentation earlier in the week about the Science of Social re: listening technology and the importance of humans in listening)

“The SM Monitoring technology field is still the Wild West and what most vendors claim to do, they still can’t do” @jonburg

@avkthinks “We were able to use social media with a client to figure price and a new flavor. Social media was used as a means to do market research”

“The connections in social media is like ‘dark matter’ in the universe – we know it’s out there but we can’t quite see it all yet” Rob Key

@cdny: “Agencies look at listening as validation, but often miss the rich context that informs deeper planning”

“The big challenge is taking large volumes of online conversation & dragging out the insights that can inform your business” @jonburg

“Clients are more sophisticated on listening: word clouds & volume don’t cut it” @avthinks

@jonburg: “You can use listening for everything: call center structure, media strategy, product design & naming”

We were also happy to hear that yesterday’s panel “…was the most insightful event of the week” from Dani Klein. Thanks Dani! And thanks Amanda, for sharing your thoughts on yesterday’s panel as well. Sounds like the crepes might have been your favorite part! :)

It would be incredibly difficult to summarize the event not just because so many topics were touched on but because different people take away different things.  For me, I’m passionate about watching industry evolve. Companies that are listening to their consumers, actively listening through some of the amazing technologies available to us today, will emerge triumphant over the next several decades because they’ll have recognized the transformative possibilities for growth when their consumers, through the digital expression of their likes, their wants, their needs; actually determine the future of their business.

Categories: Converseon News

We are proud to announce that last night we were named the winner of ‘Best Social Media Agency’ at the first ever SAMMY Awards.

The SAMMY Awards, hosted by DigiDay, were planned to reward “overall excellence and breakthrough achievement in Social Advertising, Media and Marketing”. The strength of competition at the awards was shown through our fellow finalists in the best agency category Buddy Media and 360i. We extend congratulations to them for their great work and to the other award winners including Pringles (for their creative banner ad), the New York Yankees, Kellogg Company, Oakley and Jim Beam.

Best Social Media Agency: Converseon - 2009 SAMMY Awards

It is a great validation for us to win this award because we’ve been conducting great work in this space since 2001 (before social was “social”).

Thank yous go out to our team and the Converseon supporters in this space. A very special thank you goes to all our clients – many of whom have been working with us for several years and taking the social media journey alongside us. We hope to further reward your continued partnership with us. We’d also like to thank the judges who recognized that we provide the only complete “end to end” social media solution, matching proprietary Conversation Mining technology with full organizational consulting and award winning engagement services.

We’ve seen the industry change a great deal in our near decade in this space and we know this is just another step in our evolution. Thanks to all who have helped us make this happen.

UPDATE 21 September: Here is a link to a media release announcing the news.

Categories: Converseon News

Early this morning New York time Converseon partner Vivaki launched their Real Social Suite for the EMEA region in London.

Converseon is proud to be at the core of this service offering alongside brands like Facebook and strong Publicis agencies such as Digitas. Converseon’s UK lead was in attendance at the London event and we’re looking to provide more updates about our continued expansion in EMEA throughout the year, be sure to subscribe to the blog for updates.

Brand Republic covered the launch in depth, here’s the highlights from their report:

LONDON – Vivaki, the Publicis Groupe strategic media unit, has partnered with a number of social media firms, including Facebook, as part of its launch and plans a range of tools of its Real Social Suite launch.

The launch of the Real (Reach, Engage, Amplify and Listen) Social Suite brings together social media firms from across Publicis Groupe and in the wider world.

The social media partners, including SocialMedia.com, BzzAgent, Converseon, GoViral and Techlightenment, will combine with a number of Publicis Groupe agencies, namely Denuo, MS&L, Digitas, BlogBang and Performics, to help clients engage with social media and work out how best to talk to consumers.

At the heart of the Real Social Suite are the three steps (reach, engage, amplify and listen) each of which focuses on a specific step in social media.

The various partners will each plug into one of the three steps other than Facebook, which will work with across all three areas through its Facebook Ads system and marketing tools.

The three steps of the Real Social Suite:

Reach – Publicis agencies will tap into the mass reach of social media across brand and performance marketing, and working with partners to expand both CPM and CPC buys.

Through partnerships with Socialmedia.com and Techlightenment, VivaKi agencies will have the ability to access social performance media at scale for their clients.

Engage and Amplify – The VivaKi partners enable clients to participate directly in the social web through the development engaging social experiences.

Techlightenment and Digitas develop social campaigns across social environments that it is hoped will increase and extend a brand’s reach through consumer engagement.

BzzAgent, Performics and MS&L will seek to deliver outreach services across the blogosphere and other consumer generated content.

Through partnerships with GoViral and BlogBang we are also able to offer highly effective video seeding in social environments.

Listen - Using proprietary tools developed in partnership with Converseon, Vivaki will frame social media content alongside search, traditional media and UGC data.

Nick Burcher, VivaKi’s social lead in EMEA, said: “We are effectively helping to build the social media marketplace with the help of premier social media partners and some of the top thinkers in the space.

“We will continue to welcome other social media leaders and pioneers, as we continue to create solutions that allow for engaging conversation with consumers.”

We are proud to announce that Mike Moran, our Chief Strategist has done it again. This month he and co-writer Bill Hunt published the second edition of Search Engine Marketing, Inc which you can purchase on Amazon here.

The second edition edition of Mike’s highly regarded book address some of the changes seen in the search industry in the last few years along with increased focus on social media. Already, the book is on the Top Ten List for retailing books by Amazon.com and has received good press and dozens of positive reviews

This week, our Fall intern, Lindsey Loughman, sat down with Mike to get his input on the book, the future of search and his role here at Converseon:

If you like to skip ahead to a particular question (although we recommend the entire interview), here are the show notes:

0:00 Intro
0:12 What is the Book About?
1:30 What Updates are in the New Book?
3:44 Who Will Get the Most Out of the Book?
5:00 Why is Search Important ?
6:35 What is the Future of Search Marketing?
8:51 How Are You Using Search at Converseon?

PY – This weekend Constantin Basturea and I are attending the superb UGA Connect conference for the second consecutive year. To mark the occasion, I asked our Fall intern Lindsey Loughman, a UGA Graduate and Connect attendee last year, to write a guest blog post about the conference.

Connect 2008 is a conference that is near and dear to my heart. Connect is an annual event at the University of Georgia, that brings together professionals and educators under the banner of social media education.

A little background, Connect 2007 was a student campaign lead by Dr. Karen Russell. Dr. Russell and others at Grady College, UGA’s journalism school, realized that social media was changing PR and there was a growing gap between PR education and practice. Connect was one way that they could try to close that gap.

It provides an opportunity for industry to exchange notes. Educators bring with them emerging studies on the effects of social media and results of best practices, while practitioners bring the experience of case studies and social media techniques. But, at its core Connect, is about building relationships in the real world, boosting the plethora of online venues where students, practitioners and educators are connecting like PROpenmic.

Connect is also a big part of my story and how I came to Converseon. Last year I worked in a class under Dr. Kaye Sweetser to provide live coverage of Connect. There, I feel in love with social media and met Paull and Constantin for the first time. It was a perfect match; all at once I had found an incredible new field of PR and some of the most talented (and very cool) people who practiced it everyday.

My Connect story has played out, but I can’t wait to see what new stories and relationships that will be formed this year. And you can too if you follow their blog, Twitter, and Flickr accounts.

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