‘Train of Thought’ Data Analysis

How exploring a topic can lead to unexpected insights

There’s loads of ways in which customer data is, or can be, used in organisations.  The use cases are almost endless, from product development to crisis management, PR to creative content, media planning to influencer marketing.  
And as with any other aspect of business, it pays to have a plan. We’ve all heard the old saying ‘fail to prepare, and prepare to fail’, right? It’s no less true of customer data analysis. Having a really clear view on the strategy you wish to inform, and therefore the questions you need to answer, even the ‘hypothesis’ you want to prove, and the tactical actions you plan to undertake based on the insights, is really important.
However, sometimes, really valuable insights can appear when they aren’t really being looked for.  The valuable ‘nuggets’ of insight may come by surprise, when you least expect them.

That’s partly why Crimson Hexagon has developed the ForSight platform.  This lightning-fast, search-bar-simple tool is perfect for gaining insights in real-time from social media data for all sorts of uses, such as many of those listed previously here.  However, sometimes the power of the tool; its simplicity and speed, come sharply into focus when using it to ‘explore’ a topic.

This is when, instead of starting with a plan, you start with a hunch, or some basic curiosity, about a topic,  Type it in, and see what comes back.  It maybe nothing, but there may be something interesting or unexpected that appears in one of the ‘cards’ that get returned, about the online conversation, images or logos shared, influencers, audience profile… So change the search to drill in closer.  Maybe look at what that hashtag is about, because it’s not an ‘official’ or ‘owned’ one for the brand, as far as you know…  And who is that individual who’s mentioned the campaign and who seems pretty influential?  Take a look…

Exploring a topic

As an example, imagine we work for the automotive company Kia, taking a look at what’s going on around the Australian Open tennis, a major January event in the sporting calendar and a huge sponsorship tie-in for Kia.
First, we’d search for ‘Australian Open’ in Heliosight…


We’d see straight away that Kia is prominent in the conversation, including one of the main logos being seen in online images around the Australian Open.
We’d see other things too, like the sentiment of the conversation, the interests and demographics of the audience talking about the event, and some of the key themes and trends emerging, as hashtags or general words.  So, here we’d see that the main countries talking about the Australian Open are Australia (naturally!), the US and UK, while Serena Williams is a huge trending topic in the conversation and interest of the people talking about the tournament.


So, if we want to know more, we could simply click onto ‘Serena Williams’ on-screen, and uncover the stats about that specific section of the Australian Open conversation.
Now, we see that Kia is the number one logo being shared, with some positive brand awareness of the logo appearing in images of Serena.

We may also be interested in another thing: the new appearance of Russia as a key region where this conversation is happening.  Seeing as Korean automotive brands such as Kia have been growing in Russia for the past few years, and rivalling the local AvtoVAZ brand, this may be of some interest.  

So, instantly we can filter the HelioSight data for Russian content, to uncover influencers, User-Generated-Content, and more, to try to capitalise on the brand’s links to the Australian Open, Serena Williams, and Russia’s interest.
It’s only the speed and simplicity of HelioSight that enables this.  Without being able to follow your ‘train of thought’ at speed, and with no limits to data  volumes or searches, this wouldn’t be possible.


In a business landscape full of data, and of strategies to get value from that data, there is still room for basic human creativity, and using the brain to follow hunches and explore a ‘train of thought’.  It may be the inspiration behind your new product or campaign, identify your next advocate, or uncover the competitive advantage you never knew you had.

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