Grey Examines PlanetFeedback's BrandPulse Analytic Tool

Grey Worldwide is examining the use of consumer feedback site's BrandPulse, a real-time consumer insight analysis engine launched in January.

Currently in pilot testing with Procter & Gamble Co., BrandPulse is positioned as a complement to research and focus groups that can identify areas in which more insight into consumer behavior is required.

“I think it begins to replace focus groups, and it [also] begins to focus focus groups,” said Pete Blackshaw, CEO of PlanetFeedback, Cincinnati. “I think what's critical for agencies is how to leverage the Internet to get consumer insights better, faster and cheaper.”

The diagnostics tool is the product of feedback received by PlanetFeedback via its Web site and those of its clients. The online service receives 1,200 to 1,400 letters per day in the form of compliments, suggestions or questions for companies. BrandPulse analyzes and tracks the opinions.

Nancy Bachrach, chief marketing officer at Grey Worldwide, New York, was impressed with BrandPulse after a recent briefing by Blackshaw, a former P&G executive.

“BrandPulse becomes a way for marketers to learn what viral consumers are saying about them,” Bachrach said. “We represent marketers who could benefit enormously from this information.”

Targeting agencies is part of Blackshaw's strategy to gain industry acceptance for BrandPulse. Ketchum Public Relations also is exploring the possibility of using the tool to gauge public feedback to campaigns, Blackshaw said.

“We're starting with [ad] agencies and PR firms because they're a great starting point and they will convince their customers [who are marketers],” Blackshaw said. “We believe [for agencies] there could be new business development [and] some application to media buying in terms of building a rich profile of advertising consumers.”

Depending on the number of categories and the number of users handling the product at the subscribing company, PlanetFeedback will charge $50,000 to $100,000 annually for BrandPulse. The company said this compares favorably with other syndicated research products.

While Grey has made no decision, Bachrach said feedback from BrandPulse would help agencies formulate better strategies for their clients.

“People who write in to PlanetFeedback are customers who are highly influential, and their emotions have been raised to such levels that sending feedback to a company is absolutely essential,” Bachrach said. “My view is that you can sit in a dozen focus groups before you can find a person who is as exercised, active and influential as the letter writers to PlanetFeedback. Secondly, this is viral. They are influential people. My attitude is, get to the influential people, and they'll get you to nearly everyone else.”

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