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Beyond Brand Management: How Narrative Intelligence Optimizes Decision-Making

May 8, 2024Evan Robert

In the modern information environment, brand perception is highly prioritized by any public-facing organization. Online content, true or false, is disseminated so widely and quickly that for many stakeholders, it seems like the only narrative worth analyzing is that of their own brand image or corporate cause. 

But while establishing and maintaining a brand or cause in the public eye is undoubtedly essential, in reality, it is one facet of many that should drive decision-making. 

By solely focusing on narratives as they relate to its corporate brand, organizations run the risk of creating a narcissistic company that dotes on and celebrates its self-image while its bottom line silently suffers from ignorance of key industry narratives. 

Narratives must be seen through a bigger lens than simply having a positive or toxic sentiment toward a given brand name. The right data paired with a deeper understanding of narratives can do much more. 

To see the whole picture, decision-makers have to analyze and contribute to narratives that affect the people in their companies, their supply chain management, their awareness of operating risks, their industry at large, and all other assets that can make or break a company’s ability to succeed. Decision advantage is paramount for any corporation seeking to thrive in the warped and divisive online environment. 

Narrative intelligence helps individuals, organizations, and governments go deeper than surface-level brand management. Let’s look at how narrative intelligence provides a more holistic approach to help leaders make better decisions in a crowded information environment.

Listening for more than the brand

While brand management tools effectively listen to online chatter about a brand’s perception and awareness level, those alone are not indicative of a healthy corporate entity. 

Narrative intelligence takes a different approach. Instead of only measuring sentiment or reach, EdgeTheory provides platform-agnostic narrative solutions. EdgeTheory’s platforms use tools that analyze tens of thousands of articles, posts, and many other forms of online media. Then, using artificial intelligence, these narratives are weaved into thematic patterns and insights that are essential for your organization to know and act upon.

With capabilities like theme clustering, source tracking and tagging, custom network monitoring, and executive narrative briefs, among others, EdgeTheory provides an exhaustive view of crucial online information in an easily accessible way.  

Understanding beyond sentiment

Analyzing an organization’s likability is an important metric. But it is only one metric. Narratives that are adjacent to an organization, say that are industrywide or that affect other countries in which the company operates, can have a more devastating impact than a generally negative sentiment on a social media platform. 

EdgeTheory uses the principles of narrative intelligence to distill a wide variety of data into digestible and actionable insights. Visuals like geospatial narrative tracing tie stories to physical places and help stakeholders make critical decisions about the future of their organization. AI recaps of clustered narratives give a high-level overview of developing situations that might need a response. Detailed data visualizations provide context on how a narrative is being shaped over time where the narrative has been, who is pushing it, and the external factors that may have contributed to its emergence. 

Creating a comprehensive response

It is easy for a company to put all of its eggs in the brand strategy basket– to focus all public-facing content on improving or maintaining a positive image. In an emotionally charged and reactionary online environment, pouring significant resources into protecting the brand is tempting. But ultimately, this strategy misses other avenues for growth or risk mitigation. 

This starts with the data an organization chooses to analyze. If the data sets are narrowed to brand mentions and sentiment analysis, then the only actionable conclusion based on that data is to create content that manages the public perception of the organization. 

Data sets should be broader, not only covering the corporation’s perception, but also the perception of the industry, the geopolitical factors shaping an organization’s ability to operate, the industry influencers and their established networks, and much more. By taking a more holistic view of the information environment, an organization can be fully informed of all relevant factors before crafting a response. 

EdgeTheory implements data sets that are variable, allowing for a bird’s eye view of a narrative through briefs, while also allowing for data to be highly customized. Analysts can drill down to the source level, see how content is shared across networks, and follow a narrative thread across the globe to determine how and where to best respond. 

Using several AI and natural language processing (NLP) techniques, EdgeTheory produces recaps of complex narratives that are ready to share with stakeholders, internal teams, and on social media.

Decision advantage keeps companies ahead of the narrative

It is overwhelming to digest all of the narratives that stand to alter the health of an organization. But funneling an organization’s attention into the status of its brand will create blindspots to narratives that could help or hinder its success. 

To combat the chaotic information environment, companies need to use narrative intelligence to sort through the noise. Finding and owning narratives will not only improve their brand, but improve their operations, their opportunities, and their overall organizational health.

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