Social Analytics Cracks Case Of The Jalapeno Cocktail - InformationWeek
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Social Analytics Cracks Case Of The Jalapeno Cocktail

NewBrandAnalytics scours social media feedback to help the food industry identify operational issues ranging from unappealing drinks to inconsistent chefs.

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As one of the signature cocktails of the Crave America restaurants, the Sweet Heat drink is supposed to be spicy--but when it went nuclear, alarm bells went off at Crave headquarters.

Using a social media monitoring service from NewBrandAnalytics, Crave was able to identify a pattern of comments and complaints from customers who found the drink too spicy, Zach Sussman, marketing director at Crave America, said in an interview. One mention could have been a fluke, perhaps an isolated bartender error, he said. "Once we saw mentions of this at three or four locations, we started thinking maybe we have a recipe problem, or an ingredient problem."

The drink is made with Bacardi Dragon Berry, mango, jalapeno, St. Germain, and white cranberry, so it's meant to pack a punch, but not to knock you out. The issue turned out to be that the potency of jalapeno varied considerably from one batch to the next, so putting in the same quantity every time was actually a mistake. "We addressed it by making it more of a bartender's discretion thing," seasoned to taste so the result would be enough spice but not too much, he said.

NewBrandAnalytics says those are the kinds of operational insights you can get with its industry-specific solutions for social media monitoring that you wouldn't get from a more-general monitoring or sentiment-analysis service. There are now many services on the market that analyze posts to Twitter, blogs, and customer review sites, scoring them by whether they use positive or negative language when talking about a company or its brands. NewBrandAnalytics targets its analytics to specific operational categories, such as food, drink, reception, and wait staff performance in the restaurant industry. It is also targeting travel and leisure (hotels, cruise lines, and spas) and retail, with products for airlines and healthcare under development.

[Puzzling over the implications of Facebook Timeline? See Facebook Timeline: Will It Benefit Your Business?]

Survey processing specialist Medallia is doing something similar for hotel chains such as Best Western.

"We're trying to help service-oriented businesses understand what their customers are saying and make the proper operational changes to close the loop," NewBrandAnalytics co-founder Kam Desai said. While other monitoring companies provide overall assessment of brand sentiment, meant primarily for marketers, "what we're doing is completely different" because it's targeted at operations, he said.

"It's sort of like finding a tumor, versus treating the symptoms--we want to go after the cause of the issue itself," added co-founder Ashish Gambhir.

Another example from Crave concerned a pattern of complaints about a popular dish that all occurred when one chef was on duty, Gambhir said. "It turned out he wasn't using as much shrimp in the dish as should be there. The standards weren't being met. Something like that is a first warning from consumers before it turns into a dish that no one likes."

In other words, it's an opportunity to catch an issue early before a pattern of complaints starts to snowball and cause broader damage to the restaurant brand.

Comments on the food aren't the only things that turn up in this analysis.

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BPM For Real
BPM For Real,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2012 | 11:04:23 PM
re: Social Analytics Cracks Case Of The Jalapeno Cocktail
Very good example of 'mining' social. The value of not just the words being said but also the TOPICS being talked about gives us great insight into our customers and our own enterprise. What if you could see innovation or frustration coming from an area and could do something about it?

By pure coincidence, I wrote on the same topic today:
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