Digital agency, PulsePoint Group, tracks real-time social sentiment for Fortune 500 brands with Tableau


Deliver real-time sentiment monitoring across digital channels
Prevent costly setbacks with root-cause analysis
Ad-hoc analyses allow quick response to reputation changes

Communications management agency, PulsePoint Group, a part of global consulting firm and Tableau partner, ICF, has a roster of clients, including major brands like Toyota, Wells Fargo, Delta, and McDonald’s. With Tableau, PulsePoint transformed its client analytics engine, moving from 20-slide PowerPoint presentations to interactive, actionable dashboards delivered over Tableau Online.

Partnering with Alight Analytics, PulsePoint uses ChannelMix—Alight’s data aggregation platform for marketers—to bring data from sentiment tracking tools, IQ Media and Brandwatch into Tableau for analysis. With a few clicks, clients can monitor brand sentiment in real time and understand the root causes of changes—a vast improvement from yearly brand studies. Several Fortune 500 companies use these dashboards to respond to market changes and manage communication crises, providing a competitive advantage across various industries.

The ability to add filters and easily segment the data by just dragging a dimension allows us to spot the factor that's dragging down a client’s reputation. It's this topic or it's this brand or it's this division.

From yearly studies to real-time reputation tracking

PulsePoint Group helps clients harness the vast digital landscape to understand brand reputation across channels, influencing marketing strategy for billion-dollar companies. PulsePoint consultants use social media monitoring tool Brandwatch and media measurement tool IQ Media to attribute sentiment, key messages, and other variables that influence public sentiment.

PulsePoint purchased the Tableau platform, including Desktop and Online, to empower clients to dig into their own data. Partnering with Alight Analytics, the creator of the ChannelMix data aggregation platform for marketers, PulsePoint can bring data from sources like Brandwatch and IQ Media directly into Tableau for analysis. And data infrastructure setup is included in the ChannelMix platform, so PulsePoint consultants dive into the data right away.

Today, PulsePoint’s clients can access Tableau dashboards on a daily basis to understand how their reputation is performing in real time. They can also look back on data from previous months or forecast future occurrences.

“If they say, ‘I want to understand what happened in January,’ they can just change the filter on the Tableau dashboard and they can see January’s dashboard. It all lives in one place for them.” says Brittany Paxman, Senior Director and leader of the analytics practice at PulsePoint Group.

According to Brittany, most companies conduct a brand reputation study once or twice a year. “You could be going down the wrong path for six to 12 months before you realize it, because you don't have the new data,” shares Brittany. “The biggest, most significant impact [of Tableau] is that clients can adjust and respond pretty quickly.”

Today, clients can slice and dice data to track changes in brand perception, digging into dimensions like categories or product names to understand the root cause of changes.

“The ability to add filters and easily segment the data by just dragging a dimension allows us to spot the factor that's dragging down a client’s reputation. It's this topic or it's this brand or it's this division.”

“[Tableau] serves two purposes. First, it's operational. So on the day to day, they can just know everything's OK, or something is wrong and we need to take some action really quickly. It's also analytical in that it allows them to segment that data in ways they never could before.”

[Tableau] serves two purposes. First, it's operational. So on the day to day, they can just know everything's OK, or something is wrong and we need to take some action really quickly. It's also analytical in that it allows [clients] to segment that data in ways they never could before.

Preventing sentiment challenges with real-time dashboards

Though PulsePoint Group’s reputation services are in high demand, it faced a serious problem. It took too much time and too many staff resources to build reports for clients.

“We had to do it manually,” said Brittany. “We would have teams of people tagging content and creating charts. It could not be done with nearly as much frequency. We would do it once a quarter.” And that just wasn’t fast enough in a world where public sentiment can sour in a single day.

PulsePoint’s clients—including major Fortune 500 companies —must keep a close watch on how they’re perceived in the marketplace. An unexpected blow to their reputation can lead to massive setbacks in sales and share price.

Additionally, PulsePoint consultants would have to know the reports they needed to create before analyzing the data—limiting exploration and leading to missed opportunities. “With Tableau, we can actually ask questions and say, well, what if we analyze it this way?”

“With a couple of clicks, I can give you a dashboard that will replace 20 PowerPoint slides,” Paxman said. “And that’s been really powerful for our clients.”

ChannelMix constantly collects, cleans, and organizes data for PulsePoint’s clients, so the firm always has access to up-to-date information in an analysis-ready format.

The power to analyze this brand and reputation data in real time is a competitive differentiator for PulsePoint’s clients—allowing them to quickly react to trends, understand unique factors that influence their reputation, and forecast changes in the marketplace.

By utilizing Tableau and ChannelMix, PulsePoint has turned reputation data from a service offering into an on-demand product with increased relevance and efficiency.

“It's essentially a productized approach to measuring reputations that we can repeat for different clients. And it's highly customized,” shared Brittany.

With a couple of clicks, I can give you a dashboard that will replace 20 PowerPoint slides. And that’s been really powerful for our clients.

PulsePoint grows revenue stream with data as content

The reputation dashboards are just one example of data’s importance at PulsePoint, which specializes in organizational optimization, crisis management, and digital and communication strategy. The company also has helped several clients turn their data into shareable content with Tableau.

“These companies are the gatekeepers to some really interesting information. And one of the ways that they can stand out is to use that data as content,” says Brittany.

“One of the strategic recommendations we’ll make in the digital and communications space is that companies should be taking their data and using it as a marketing tool, using it as a way to build thought leadership, as a way to improve their reputation.”

For example, one of PulsePoint’s clients wanted to help people in Southern California find cooling centers on hot summer days. The client simply started with a list.

“We dropped that list into Tableau and suddenly, within five minutes, we had an interactive map and were able to make it a lot more engaging,” Paxman said. “We took that map, uploaded to Tableau Public, and embedded it on the website as something users could use to go and find cooling centers.”

As a result, the client saw a much wider-reaching impact. Suddenly, the client’s audience could see their proximity and engage with the visualization, versus a static, bulleted list.

“The core reason we began using Tableau is because it enabled us to be better data analysts,” says Brittany. “We were able to take the data that we had access to, visualize it quickly, and analyze and segment it in ways we never were able to do before.”

With Tableau, PulsePoint helps clients understand sentiment data, offering creative solutions to marketing problems. And with Tableau Online, PulsePoint’s clients access data from anywhere, modernizing brand reputation tracking.

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