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Web Rep p Online Reputation Analysis

“Many big companies have been looking eagerly for ways to tailor their advertising to specific groups of consumers. They have found that web logs and internet discussion groups, which bring together people of similar interests, can help them turn hot links into cold cash. But besides trying to get out their message, companies are also learning that blogs can provide early warning signs of potential problems. They are increasingly turning to firms that can help them sort through the blogorrhea to find what they need.� The Economist, February 9, 2006

Growth of the Internet and Blogosphere

“Blogs are built around the post – a piece of content created at a specific time. Each post has a unique, permanent web address called a permalink. Bloggers routinely link to one another’s posts, which remain accessible indefinitely. That linking gives blogs a viral quality, so an intriguing post can get broad attention amazingly fast.”

Internet usage has been characterized by extraordinary growth over the past decade. There are more than 1 billion users around the world, with nearly 5 million Internet users just in Switzerland, about 66 % of the population, one of the highest usage rates in all of Europe.1 At the same time, traditional media channels are fragmenting, and new and interesting modes to deliver messages are becoming popular, such as podcasts, blogs and online ad campaigns to name a few. In sync with this rapid growth in Internet users, recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of user-generated media – a term used to describe various postings and feedback available on blogs, forums, chat rooms, social networks and other online venues – that has propagated across the Web. Probably the most visible of the types of user-generated media are blogs. Simply put, blogs are personal Web sites as we have always known them, but the difference today is that anyone with an Internet connection can create a blog, and the ability to update it frequently only relies on one’s willingness to do so. Technologically speaking, creating and posting a blog is as easy as writing an e-mail. That’s part of the reason why this phenomenon has managed to grow so rapidly over the past several years: globally, it is estimated that there are more than a 100 million blogs, though it is hard to keep a precise count since the blogosphere is estimated to double every five months. On average, a new blog is created every second of every day.2 On the other hand, some research has shown that as much as one-third of new blogs are abandoned within twelve months.

David Kirkpatrick, Fortune, Januar 2005

“The fragmentation of media has seen an explosion in the number of ways people seek news and entertainment, with many turning to websites, cable TV, satellite radio and podcasts.” The Economist, January 21, 2006

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Internet World Stats of March 31, 2006: Technorati – State of the Blogosphere, August 2005, Part 1: Blog Growth,


The Swiss Blogosphere has grown by roughly 300 %

In Switzerland, blogging is a relatively recent phenomenon, with approximately 1,600 blogs published in the country.3 Its growth, however, has been no less remarkable – the Swiss blogosphere has grown by roughly 300 % in the last year alone. With ubiquitous access to the Internet, the number of blogs in Switzerland is likely to continue growing at a fast rate. As more and more people get online, every customer and every stakeholder becomes a newsmaker and as a result can impact perceptions about your company and its business. The blogosphere is rich with examples of issues arising or news breaking through use of blogs. What starts out innocuously enough as a consumer complaint on a personal blog can snowball into a full blown crisis and leave lasting damage to a company’s reputation and its brands. News is amplified in the blogosphere and acquires a life of its own. It typically also has a longer tail and can be reactivated, which poses a problem for managing a company’s reputation. In addition, blog posts appear indefinitely in search engine results. Journalists & Blogs: According to a Euro RSCG/Columbia study published in June 2005: •


Journalists use blogs for: - Finding story ideas 53 % - Researching and referencing facts 43 % - Finding sources 36 % - Uncovering breaking news or scandals 33 % • Only 1 % of journalists found blogs to be credible • 68 % believe that blogs will become a more popular tool for corporations. –


Shift from broadcast to conversation

Blogs can impact every marketing discipline and every audience for a positive or negative outcome. For public relations, communications shift from a broadcast to a conversation. Some control is lost, but significant credibility can be gained. For investor relations, blogs both source and spread rumors. For product marketing and product management blogs are the most effective, cost-efficient focus groups imaginable, even if they are not a representative sample. Blogs are an excellent tool for two-way customer communication. As part of employee communications, blogs create conversations, which humanize management and surface vital issues quickly. Dealing with Online Issues: There are several approaches to dealing with an issue or inaccuracies in the blogosphere. Responses need to be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. Some approaches include: E-mail or telephone if there is a preexisting relationship; bloggers may post e-mails they receive from you. Post a comment on a critical blog clearly identifying yourself as a company representative.

Means for online communication Burson-Marsteller and NetBreeze have experts with a unique understanding of the positive impact and consequences of the online world for the communications ecosystem: - Blog relations - E-fluentials – influencer tracking and reputation management - Policies and guidelines for internal and external corporate blogging - Digital media training - Web Rep – blog, website and discussion group monitoring and analysis - Digital Check-up for optimal online strategy including Search Engine Optimization - Online Crisis Management

Post a response on your company Web site/blog. Respond through mainstream media. Respond through other channels, e.g., employee meetings or a customer contact.


What is Web Rep?

Web Rep is a new service provided by Burson-Marsteller and NetBreeze, which quantifies, analyzes and monitors an issue, brand, service or a product’s presence and reputation on the Internet. Web Rep is comprised of the following product suite: • Check-up & Monitoring – A regular quantitative and qualitative analysis, based on a selected timeline (once, daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly) of a certain issue, brand, service or product’s presence and reputation on the Web. This includes identifying prominent bloggers, prominent issues and conversation topics in order to determine confluences of interest; identify credible bloggers who are sympathetic to your issues and those who are not. • Thorough Issue and Sub-Issue Assessment – An in-depth analysis of issues and sub-issues. Burson-Marsteller has worked with clients on early issue warning to uncover critical issues clients were not aware of that could potentially surface later in other mediums as the conversation unfolds. • Stakeholder Analysis – An in-depth stakeholder analysis to identify who is saying what to whom and the potential implications.


How does it work?

Web Rep is based on a specially set-up “Knowledge Generator” a unique development by NetBreeze GmbH, which searches and observes the relevant sources (databanks, Internet channels) and analyzes all pertinent messages and structures, summarizes and links data from the Internet into usable and actionable knowledge. The NetBreeze Toolbox (NetBreeze Toolbox protected by patents) consists of hundreds of little intelligent agents that collect, analyze and display the documents for you. We set-up this “Knowledge Generator” with knowledge about your specific issue. Basically these agents use search-engines, crawl news sites, read and analyze blogs, identify and download documents, extract important sentences, persons, company names and topics. The result of this process is a structured database with all the important Internet documents with a bearing on your specific issue. The NetBreeze Toolbox then offers you a host of research tools to analyze the results. The research tools let you visualize, regroup sub-topics, identify unknown issues and find and read the really important documents.


Principles for online success: a phased approach Phase 1 – Evaluate The first step in developing a strategy is to evaluate, through online monitoring of blogs, websites, online news, message boards and discussion forums on the Internet for content about the brand, product, service or issue. Phase 2 – Participate … Perhaps This is where we move from monitoring to engaging and interpretting the data to identify influencers and what they are saying, and to whom, for a strategic online approach. This includes a review of the influencer map and monitoring analysis to determine confluences of interest – credible bloggers that are sympathetic to your issues, supportive of your product or brand and bloggers who are unsympathetic or critical. This includes strategic insights and navigating the potential benefits and outcomes for a company to proactively engage or not and how to best make use of the information. A company’s blogosphere might include product blogs, corporate reputation commentary or discussion on industry issues. Depending on the findings of the analysis, a company may choose to proactively focus on one area at a time, or none at all. Some clients have identified issues that they weren’t aware of and used the information strategically. Some companies have identified bloggers “in their camp” and engaged with them to deliver positive messages. Phase 3 – Develop a Policy Many companies are in the process of identifying policies and procedures for how to navigate, respond and clarify issues and inaccuracies for greater understanding of the terrain. As part of this they are embarking on creating and distributing clear policies for proactive and reactive engagement with bloggers. In most cases, we are seeing corporate communications and affairs groups serve the role as evangelists to the company on external blogging rules and regulations. This includes engaging with stakeholders within your company to create a blogging policy such as legal, HR/Employee Communications, Marketing and IT. A policy sets expectations among employees and executives.

Principles for success: • Be informed and understand the terrain of prominent issues and opportunities that affect your company • Develop an online strategy • Create and distribute clear policies in advance of encouraging employee blogging • Facilitate an agreement on level of risk tolerance • Garner executive support • Foster openness • Observe blogosphere etiquette

© photos gettyimages and masterfile


About Burson-Marsteller Switzerland Burson-Marsteller is one of Switzerland’s leading public relations and communications companies with branches in Zurich, Berne and Geneva. With approximately 40 employees, B-M offers services in corporate communications, financial communications, public affairs, health care and scientific communications, media relations and specific areas in advertising. The company is headed by Roman Geiser. Burson-Marsteller was founded 50 years ago in the USA and for years now has been a leading player in the creation and management of communication strategies and planning. The company has 53 branches and 46 affiliated offices operating in 58 countries on all continents. Burson-Marsteller is part of the Young & Rubicam agency network. About NetBreeze NetBreeze GmbH is a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, and since 1999 has had more than 20 clients with over 40 different solutions. The vision is to extract knowledge from the Internet for the support of business processes automatically using the full range of artificial intelligence. With the NetBreeze Toolbox, this vision is brought to reality. The Toolbox allows NetBreeze to work with the totality of data available online, especially the Internet data stream, from which information is extracted that can give a company the decisive advantage it needs in the market. Further information Burson-Marsteller AG Zurich: Grubenstrasse 40, 8045 Zurich Phone +41 (0)44 455 84 00, Fax +41 (0)44 455 84 01 Berne: Konsumstrasse 20, 3000 Berne 14 Phone +41 (0)31 356 73 00, Fax +41 (0)31 356 73 01 Geneva: Bd. des Philosophes 18, 1205 Geneva Phone +41 (0)22 593 69 20, Fax +41 (0)22 593 69 39, Your contact at Burson-Marsteller Joanna Corsaro: Roman Geiser:

NetBreeze GmbH Leo Keller Ringstrasse 12, 8600 DĂźbendorf Phone +41 (0)44 824 32 79


“Many big companies have been looking eagerly for ways to tailor their advertising to specific groups of consumers.

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