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Uncovering big data and the networks of influence

 

Big data is… well big. And, for the most part, free. The studies say that 80% of all available data was developed in the last two years. This data relates not only to the global hype of social media. We often think big data is all about numbers – quite wrongly as it turns out because as big data is all about humans.

The ability to analyse digital and offline connections between individuals is powerful because it allows us to really understanding the nature of those relationships. However, to unleash the power of big data for communications, the right process is really paramount.

It all starts within your organisation. Individuals, departments and the organisation as a whole have important knowledge about the influencers, stakeholders and connections between them. This is the necessary basis of your analysis.

Next, algorithms gather connections of the identified individuals and showcase the links between them. This step also allows you to uncover new influencers that are connected with the known ones, for example using data from social media.

The output of these two steps is quite powerful but doesn’t really go to the deep levels of data. In order to uncover the real power of big data, human analysis is crucial. The experienced researchers who can also analyse the relationships between the actors should gather the additional data. We call this step netnography.

The gathered data can be supplemented by media analysis based on coverage databases. This holistic approach allows you to get beyond the silos of traditional data analysis and providing deeper insights into actual relationships between the various people.

The network is now complete. But there is one more step needed to make it useful: segmentation. Sorting the actors by influence within the network allows you to create a small world of stakeholders within the given subject.

The analysis of the interconnections within your small world allows you to identify the most influential actors as well as the ones that connect the actors within the network. This inputs directly to the engagement strategy.

Big data is therefore relevant and useful for:

  • Engagement strategy development
  • Issues monitoring and crisis preparedness
  • Reporting and brand equity monitoring
  • Measurement and evaluation

The ability to analyze and visualize the networks of influencers and stakeholders opens new opportunities for companies and organisations to re-define their engagement. Importantly, however, the amount of available information requires the process to be thorough and disciplined.

 
Łukasz Bochenek

Managing Director / Deputy CEO, based in Geneva

Łukasz is Managing Director of International Strategy and Client Service. He is based in Geneva and leads an international team across Geneva, Brussels and London.

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