Experiencing persistent negative perceptions is not uncommon for a brand. To uncover the reasons for them, companies often look at the landscape of their social research by getting reports of post volume and sentiment.

That type of data only skims the surface of the problem, however. Companies are not diving deep enough with just those raw results. The next step in the detective work is bringing deeper segmentation and analysis to find real business answers.

Deep segmentation of data allows marketers to attack the problem from a specific point of view, getting to the root of what's causing and driving it, and where and how people are talking about it. Marketers can get better insights from unstructured content, and the only way to do that is by breaking it down to levels beyond just media channel, volume, and sentiment. Therein lies the evolution of social.

Though different ways to approach segmentation exist, this post will focus on three levels of dissection from which a brand can gain huge insight in researching a negative perception problem.


In a recent webcast, I examined data about Monsanto and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). What was really telling about that negative perception problem was the distinct difference in concerns between genders. Men were vocal about the political implications of GMOs, mentioning topics like lobbying the government, Obamacare, and other governmental aspects. Women, however, brought to the table different concerns, including the possible impacts on the health of their children and environmental consequences.

Media Channels

If marketers are trying to positively affect the negative perception of your brand, they need to go about it delicately and tailor the message to fit the correct audience. For a positive outcome, the message will have to be different when reaching out to women as opposed to men.

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Mark Brandt is director of research and analytics at Visible Technologies.

LinkedIn: Mark Brandt