PR ON THE GO Last update: January 17, 2024

Beyond Buzzwords: Using Perception Data to Optimize Your Startup's Messaging

Every startup starts with assumptions about the needs of its audience and shapes its messages and campaigns around those assumptions. Then comes the second step: Collecting perception data on how your brand messages are being received. From there, an optimization process should take place.

We asked our PR and growth experts: What is perception data in media intelligence and media monitoring, how is it collected, and how can startups use it to reframe their messaging? See their insights here.

  • It's about making your audiences feel heard.
  • A real-time feedback loop to evolve your messaging
  • Use perception data to support your market positioning.
  • Identify positive keywords, topics, and preferred channels
  • Foster sustainable growth
  • Identify the needs and expectations of your users - and exceed them.
  • Adapt content production to appeal to your target market
  • Identify key themes in media coverage
  • Detect areas of strength and concern
  • Speak the market's language
  • Become a responsive and responsible brand
  • Guide campaigns, product development and company initiatives

It's about making your audiences feel heard.

Emily Reynolds-Bergh, Owner at R Public Relations

"Sentiment that’s expressed in comments, DMs, shares, stories, and reposts can all contribute to “perception data.” Overall, this is your company’s digital reputation, and it should be closely monitored by your PR team.

Employ a community management strategy and social listening to get a feel for the discourse surrounding your brand, and aggregate data in reports to make smarter decisions moving forward. Audiences want to feel heard by brands they love, so taking feedback in stride is a good way to build loyalty."

A real-time feedback loop to evolve your messaging

Paul Chow, CEO at Design Dynamics

"Perception data is the gold mine in media monitoring. You learn who your real brand champions are – your loudest cheerleaders – and what they love about you. These are your allies. But perception data also exposes your hidden weaknesses, those areas where your message is off-key or your product's missing the mark. Use this intel to refine your communication and adapt your offerings. This data is also your real-time feedback loop. You can track how your messaging evolves and adjust on the fly."

Use perception data to support your market positioning.

Gabrielle Marie Yap, Senior Editor at CarnivoreStyle

"Perception data in media intelligence or media monitoring refers to the insights derived from analyzing how audiences perceive and interact with a brand’s content across various media platforms. It’s about understanding the sentiments, opinions, and attitudes of consumers towards your brand, product, or service. This data is often collected through methods like sentiment analysis, which involves machine learning models performing a textual analysis of customer feedback to decipher the underlying context of what was written and the overall perception.

Startups can use perception data to optimize their messaging, constantly refining it and demonstrating the value of PR. It assists startups in understanding customer perceptions, identifying strengths and weaknesses, monitoring online presence, managing crises, identifying brand advocates, addressing negative feedback, and tracking reputation over time.

For instance, startups can use AI and machine learning to optimize marketing messages. A startup named Persado uses AI to generate language that resonates the most with any audience, segment, or individual. It runs your current marketing message through its database of millions of different marketing phrases to tweak the phrase to get the best return based on how these marketing phrases yielded the customer behavior desired.

Moreover, perception data can also help startups in market positioning. Your market perception against competitors can reveal your strategic position. Using this analysis to improve helps you adjust or implement new strategies."

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Identify positive keywords, topics, and preferred channels

C.L. Mike Schmidt, Lawyer at Schmidt & Clark LLP

"In media intelligence or media monitoring, perception data refers to insights and feedback gathered from various media sources about how the general public perceives your brand or startup. It includes sentiments, mentions, and general public opinion. Startups can use perception data to fine-tune their message strategy.

First and foremost, startups must understand how their brand is perceived in the media landscape. Is there excitement about the product? Is there any negative sentiment that should be addressed? By diving into perception data, you get a pulse on what's resonating and what's not.

One key way to optimize messaging is by identifying patterns and trends in the data. Are there specific keywords or topics that consistently come up in a positive light? This could be a goldmine for crafting messages that align with what your audience is already connecting with. On the flip side, if there are recurring negative sentiments, startups can adjust their messaging to address those concerns and build a more positive image.

It's also important to track the performance of different channels. Are certain social media platforms more favorable for your startup? Are there specific influencers or publications that are driving positive conversations? By honing in on the channels that work best, startups can allocate their resources more effectively.

Moreover, perception data helps in real-time adjustments. Startups can monitor ongoing campaigns and quickly pivot if they notice any shifts in public opinion. This agility is key in the dynamic world of startups where adapting quickly can make a significant impact.

In my experience, startups can use perception data not just for external messaging but also for internal improvements. Understanding how employees perceive the brand internally can lead to a more cohesive and positive work environment."

Foster sustainable growth

Tom Andrew, Founder & Lead Developer at Where to Stream

"Perception data in media intelligence or media monitoring refers to the analysis of public sentiment, opinions, and attitudes towards a brand or product as expressed in various media channels.

For startups, leveraging perception data is crucial for optimizing messaging strategies. By monitoring news articles, social media, and other platforms, startups can gain insights into how their brand is being perceived by the public. Understanding these perceptions enables businesses to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in their messaging.

Startups can then adjust their communication strategies, emphasizing positive aspects and addressing concerns to align with the desired brand image. This proactive approach allows companies to build and maintain a positive reputation, resonate better with their target audience, and ultimately foster sustainable growth."

Identify the needs and expectations of your users - and exceed them.

Dominic Zijlstra, Founder at Adaptify SEO

"As a serial entrepreneur and founder of companies like Adaptify SEO and Traverse, my experience with perception data has been game-changing at every level. This all-encompassing data can significantly contribute to the refinement and evolution of your startup's messaging, ensuring it resonates with your target audience.

At Adaptify, we utilized perception data to identify our user's needs and expectations, further tailoring our offerings to meet and exceed them. For example, based on feedback from Beacon Digital, we developed new features like a backlink progress tracker. This illustrated how our users were perceiving and utilizing our tool, enabling us to make informed decisions on future improvements.

Moreover, perception data can assist startups in maintaining relevance and establishing authority. We saw an illustration of this with NachaTech, an early adopter of our tool. Their authority-driven content strategy, backed by our automatic SEO, drove their site impressions from zero to over 5000 per month. The perception data we gathered through our tool, about their niche audience's reactions and requirements, helped us assist NachaTech in achieving this success.

Startups can harness perception data to fine-tune their media intelligence approach. It goes beyond the quantitative insights, revealing qualitative aspects that can form the basis of a robust and effective messaging strategy."

Adapt content production to appeal to your target market

Priyanka Swamy, CEO at Perfect Locks LLC

"One kind of media intelligence companies use to understand their brand's perception among consumers better is perception data. Information reveals consumer perceptions of your company, goods, and services. Various sources can provide perception data, including social media, news stories, blogs, and forums. It can assist companies in determining the advantages and disadvantages of their brand as well as market opportunities and risks.

Startups can utilize perception data to improve their messaging by analyzing the data to learn how their target audience views their brand. This can assist them in determining the differences between their messaging and how the general public views their company. With this data, startups can refine their messaging and produce content that appeals to their target market. Startups can also benefit from perception data by learning which channels work best for reaching their target audience and what kinds of content work best there.

Startups should begin by identifying the main topics and subjects closest to their target audience to optimize their messaging. They can then utilize perception data to find out how their target audience views these themes and issues. Startups may also use perception data to determine which communication tactics work best for different channels. Startups might increase their production of visual material to better engage their target audience, for instance, if perception data indicates that this group of people finds visual information engaging."

Identify key themes in media coverage

Ayman Nazish, Growth Associate at SocialSharings

"Perception data in media intelligence refers to the insights gathered from monitoring and analyzing media content to understand public sentiment, opinions, and attitudes toward a brand or topic. It includes social media mentions, news articles, and other online content, providing valuable feedback on how a brand is perceived in the media landscape.

Startups can leverage perception data to optimize their messaging by identifying trends, sentiment shifts, and key themes in media coverage. Analyzing this data allows startups to refine their communication strategies, address concerns, and align messaging with the public's perceptions, ultimately enhancing brand reputation and engagement."

Detect areas of strength and concern

Connor Butterworth, CEO & Owner at Southwestern Rugs Depot

"Perception data in media intelligence encapsulates the qualitative aspects of how a brand or product is viewed by the public. This includes sentiments, impressions, and emotions that people express across various media channels. Startups can leverage this data to fine-tune their messaging by understanding the emotional and psychological impact their brand has on the audience.

By analyzing perception data, startups can identify trends in public opinion, detect areas of strength and concern, and align their communication strategies more closely with audience expectations and values. This informed approach to messaging can lead to a more resonant brand voice and improved engagement with target demographics."

Speak the market's language

Scott Gabdullin, Founder at Learo

"Perception data is the heartbeat of media intelligence, offering a real-time pulse on how audiences view a brand. For startups, it's like having an ongoing conversation with the market. This data isn't just numbers. It's the emotions, beliefs, and attitudes people hold towards your brand. Tapping into this, startups can craft messages that don't just speak to the market, but speak the market's language. It's about finding that sweet spot where your message aligns perfectly with what your audience feels and needs."

Become a responsive and responsible brand

Alex Adekola, CEO & Founder at Remove My Mugshot

"Understanding perception data in media intelligence is crucial for startups to finetune their messaging. This data, essentially, is the collective sentiment about your brand gathered from various media sources. It's like holding a mirror to your business, reflecting how the world sees you.

For a startup, where every impression counts, perception data is gold. It shows you how your message lands with your audience. Are they excited, indifferent, or skeptical? This feedback is vital. It allows you to tweak your messaging, making sure it resonates with your audience, turning potential skeptics into believers.

Now, consider a PR crisis - a situation no business wants, but many encounter. Here, perception data is your early warning system. It tells you when the tide is turning, giving you a chance to respond before a ripple becomes a wave. It's about being nimble and strategic. You acknowledge the issue, engage with your audience, and show that you're not just a faceless entity but a responsive and responsible brand."

Guide campaigns, product development and company initiatives

Will Yang, Head of Growth & Customer Success at Instrumentl

"Perception data in media intelligence refers to qualitative insights gathered from sources such as news, social media, forums, and other digital platforms that reflect how a brand, product, or service is perceived by the public. This data typically encompasses sentiment analysis, share of voice, message efficacy, and reputation assessment.

Startups can leverage perception data to fine-tune their messaging by identifying what resonates with their audience and aligning their communication strategies accordingly. By analyzing sentiment trends and understanding the public's reaction to their messaging, startups can craft campaigns that shift or reinforce brand perception, manage crises preemptively, and ultimately guide product development and company initiatives that echo with market needs and expectations."


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