The best insights often come with no mention of a specific company or its products.
"The mistake people make is they just listen for brands and miss all the conversations," says Frank Cotignola, consumer insights manager at Kraft Foods. "I tell people who are using this data to flip it around: Listen to what people are saying, and then see how your brand fits in."
Kraft, for instance, has more than a dozen flavors of barbeque sauce and it's always looking for new recipes. Thus, knowing what people like about barbecuing, how they cook, or what new dishes they're trying may be more valuable than knowing what percentage of comments about a particular brand are positive or negative.