A single platform for searching across different mediums—broadcast, print, Internet—can greatly reduce the labour associated with reputation management, especially for large organizations like Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
In particular, the ability to search for “media mentions” across the broadcast medium is invaluable to Beja Rodeck, director of media and public relations with RBC Financial, who uses dnaEnterprise Suite v4.0, a communications management application by Ottawa, Ont.-based dna13 Inc.
“I have access to [the broadcast] literally within five minutes of it being live. It allows me, from a response perspective, to be much more proactive and provide information and have corrections made if there are inaccuracies in stories,” she said.
In the old days, she added, a transcript would arrive 24 hours later, making it difficult to correct errors before they got perpetuated in proceeding newscasts.
Besides timely monitoring of the direction that issues may be taking in the media, Rodeck said the application allows for “issues management” across the organization. In other words, through the system, the almost 20 users at RBC can get up to speed on the corporation’s position on particular issues, or be aware of inquiries reporters may be making via multiple channels.
The application provides users the ability to create search terms that are not only meaningful, but that act on all medium types, said Chris Johnson, CEO of dna13. “It’s a single-use framework,” he said.
Besides television, the application searches content across radio Web sites, said Johnson.
The company is looking to add radio to text functionality into the tool, “but we haven’t found anything that meets what we think will work, but it is part of our R&D effort.”
According to Chris, media mentions are generally dispersed across disparate sources, making the task of finding them difficult for any organization — many dna13’s clients were using multiple services to locate and produce information via Factiva or LexisNexis, for instance.
The technology provides alerts on monitoring hits; the ability to track e-mail interactions with colleagues and media; and produce reports detailing media mentions, the associated publication or television channel, the reporter’s name, and whether the mention is positive, negative or neutral.
“It provides a comprehensive view of the issue from its inception right through to the communications or resolution of the subject at hand,” said Andy Church, vice-president of marketing with dna13.
The tool integrates with Microsoft Outlook, said Johnson, which enables e-mails to be copied to the application and be associated with a particular project.
CNW Group, a partner to dna13 has embedded the technology into its own communications management application. MediaVantage addresses a “definite pain point for public relations people,” said Laurie Smith, CNW Group’s director of marketing and communications.
“It can be a real challenge especially in a big organization where they’ve got people speaking to reporters around the world,” she said.
The use of such applications are gaining acceptance in companies in Canada and around the world, said Chris Pepper, director of media relations with Fidelity Investment.
The company has been using MediaVantage for close to two years. “It gives the ability to track media coverage of my own company, of competitors, on issues,” said Pepper. The speed of the broadcast search capability, he said, is “incredibly impactful because it’s so timely.”
“I can watch it on my computer or office television. When I come back to my desk, I can have a full transcript on what the interview is all about,” he said.
According to Sue Feldman, vice-president for content technologies with research firm IDC, vendors providing search capabilities across the broadcast medium is much more widespread than before, however, it’s really speech that’s the source of information.
Redundancy in language allows the text to be easily searched, she said, however, proper names are more difficult to handle due to the lack of redundancy and the fact that they are not often found in dictionaries.
Close captioning, assuming it’s spelled correctly, often helps resolve this problem, said Feldman.
The rise in broadcast-medium search functionality may be due, in part, to the availability of more robust technologies, said Feldman.
But also, the presence of broadcast content on the Internet has encouraged vendors to provide this capability. “As soon as something is online, people want to do things with it.”