Companies intent on protecting their reputation turn to IBM for an automated approach to monitoring the electronic grapevine
A 2005 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit noted that 269 senior executives responsible for risk management cited reputational risk as the most significant threat to business, and many experts agree that a company's reputation is its most valuable asset. However, the proliferation of electronic bulletin boards, forums, blogs and other digital communications channels represents a challenge to firms intent on tracking brand and reputation awareness among consumers. With reputation protection a top priority, businesses are looking to new advances in information technology to provide a timely alert to any issues affecting the brand and assist in counteracting any negative PR before it spreads.
In response, IBM Research and IBM Global Business Services (GBS) are working together through IBM Research Services to give GBS clients a fully integrated end-to-end solution for identifying threats before the media or the competition become aware. IBM Research's COBRA (Corporate Brand and Reputation Analysis) system was developed to help companies keep a finger on the pulse of millions of daily electronic postings, providing businesses a way to collect and filter massive amounts of structured and unstructured data, receive near real-time problem and event alerts, and visualize the results via user-customizable dashboard reports. COBRA builds on the advanced data mining capabilities of IBM Research's Business Insights Workbench (BIW) tool to provide an end-to-end solution for companies intent on protecting their corporate reputation.
Because the requirements for reputational monitoring vary from company to company, COBRA is fully customizable, beginning with Configurable Alert Models that can be tailored to specific needs in real-time, showing the effect of proposed changes to models and allowing the client to fine-tune the technology's capabilities. COBRA's Near Real-Time Alert allows the client to monitor any topic, such as brand, industry issues and competitors, by specifying facts about the topic. An Alert Visualization feature allows the user to view a summary of the reputational alert, along with the words and phrases that generated it, and a Sentiment Visualization allows the user to view a summary of the positive and negative sentiment for each of the user-generated models. System Generated Alerts enable the user to visualize significant topics and emerging trends detected based on an analytical analysis of relevant words and phrases. Finally, the User Defined Dashboard uses real-time alerts to provide insights at multiple layers of analysis. Users can control the depth of content, timeframe, models and topics to analyze. COBRA's flexibility and customization features mean it can be used to monitor any product or issue that might be of interest to a company. For instance, in one recent engagement, a candy producer recently worked with GBS to use COBRA to gauge consumer sentiment regarding chocolate.
With a plethora of media channels available for public commentary, businesses intent on a proactive approach to protecting their reputations must remain ever vigilant to the chatter of the electronic grapevine. IBM's COBRA solution provides companies an automated way to do that, in a customizable format that allows users to dictate the topics to monitor, the type and level of alert required, and a means to understand historical trends and patterns that can help spot opportunities that provide a competitive advantage over rival enterprises.
To find out more about the research and explore innovative ways to add the COBRA solution to your portfolio, contact IBM Research Services today.