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What is Narrative Intelligence and Why Does It Matter?

December 3, 2020LeAnne Gault

Narrative Intelligence

What's the matter? Can’t hear me over the din of online voices and media shaping public discourse about politics, your industry, or even your brand? I’ll speak up. You can’t always see them or how they’re amplifying a narrative, but they’re out there.

Most savvy organizations already possess some awareness of the conversation surrounding their brands. How could they not? It’s 2020, and a lot of the world is still learning, working, and coping from home. Add to that fact that everyone is online all the time. There is a dizzying amount of data being passed between millions of devices.

To keep up with the rapid growth of online activity, companies are turning to quicker, more comprehensive tools to measure the returns on their PR, Communications, and Marketing efforts in that space. These tools generate a variety of insights bases on monitoring social media. But is it enough? 

Conversation moves markets. News coverage, social media, and online forums feed off each other. That feeding frenzy can have massive impacts on companies, stocks, and investors. Whether it’s competitors, biased media, foreign adversaries, or homegrown agitators, knowing who’s creating and who’s sharing a narrative can make all the difference. 

What Is Narrative Intelligence?

To get at a more grounded definition of narrative intelligence, we first need to identify all the moving parts. Much like we understand basic intelligence as the ability to collect and apply general knowledge and skills, narrative intelligence is defined in a similar way, incorporating different methods of gathering information from the media into a cohesive whole.

To keep it simple, here we’ll break Narrative Intelligence down into three main areas: listening, atomizing, and data analysis.


Dating back to the bygone days of newspapers, press clippings services were the premier way to scour the media for mentions of your brand. Media monitoring agencies specialized in targeting and collecting copies of media content relevant to your business, filtering it to your liking according to industry, geography, or subject. But simple social media and media monitoring can’t provide a holistic picture of what’s being discussed and amplified online. 

Kudzu consumes and analyzes tens of thousands of news articles and online conversations every day, as well as the people and organizations who create them. It can show you how narratives are started, who’s amplifying them, and how they evolve to affect the things in which you’re invested: Your company, your portfolio, your people, and your government. 


But how can you easily process all of the information coming at you from thousands and thousands of news sources and online narratives? We believe the key lies in the atomization of all of that content.  The Kudzu platform utilizes large-scale consumption of publicly-available information (PAI) and sophisticated data analysis algorithms to extract narrative intelligence and conversation trends from traditional news organizations, social media outlets, video publishing platforms, and other digital sources, then atomizes those sources into easy-to-understand and shareable narrative themes as well as a providing summary of each article. So not only do you have the narrative intelligence to understand, detect and visualize amplification patterns and behavior among entities of all types, you also have what you need to participate in the conversations that matter to you. 

Data Analysis

With such a staggering wealth of data out there, having a platform or tool in place is essential to understanding how it connects, and what business you can make from it. You may begin with a careful look at an increase in the narratives and conversation trends within a specific niche, say FinTech, but how you aggregate that data into a more digestible solution is where data analysis comes in.

Kudzu provides the ability to group entities by national origin, sphere of influence, political or factional affiliation, industry, or any other organizational unit, in order to better determine the origin and evolution of narrative amplification campaigns. As a result, the platform acts as a force multiplier of analysts, who can see connections and patterns earlier, on larger scales, and on deeper levels than they could previously. There is also an extensive data export functionality in order to allow for use in other data-processing and analytics applications. 

So, Why Does Narrative Intelligence Matter?

We’ve already covered what narrative intelligence is, and how it gathers the important data on the narratives or stories that begin and proliferate online. But why does that information matter?

Well let’s look at some use cases: 

Organizations & Investors

What's one of the most important assets for any organization or investor? Understanding the narrative intelligence around their industry or portfolio companies. The amplification of the wrong narrative can destroy a business or balance sheet. Kudzu not only detects and monitors the entities involved, it also equips our customers with targeted messaging at scale to harness the power of positive narratives or counter disinformation-filled narratives.

Media & Politics

Every day our platform tracks thousands of entities, consuming tens of thousands of news stories, online videos, images, and social media posts. We analyze this content from their high-level shape and form to their core components like keywords and hashtags. Kudzu also detects viral narratives and identifies the entities driving them. We help agencies, campaigns, and media organizations engage with and share positive narratives while staying one step ahead of disinformation campaigns designed to damage reputations, businesses, and careers.


Kudzu helps local, state, and federal agencies understand narrative trends that shape public perception. This intelligence can be used to inform policies or combat misinformation campaigns. Kudzu's Narrative Intelligence reveals amplification patterns and networks, keyword trends and volume, and more complex metrics like trend velocity, which helps you identify emerging trends and threats earlier than ever.

There are a number of ways teams have gathered information about online narratives in the past, but how many have been able to dial into the organic conversations as they happen in real-time?

As the ground shifts with political movements and greater social responsibility, online narratives are constantly at the mercy of hourly events. With narrative intelligence, you can address FUD, or a communications crisis the moment bad news strikes, or be prepared for changes in the market. Just as well, narrative intelligence not only prepares you with insight into what’s happening right now but allows you to see future trends with predictive analytics based on the data you’ve accumulated.

 It’s one thing to pay close attention to what is being said and amplified, it’s another entirely to engage. With valuable data in hand, narrative intelligence gives you an edge in producing bespoke content for you use to join in a conversation or even counter misinformation. The exponential growth in people logging on to consume and share media in 2020 has only amplified the need for narrative intelligence. 

Kudzu provides clear insights into the volume, amplification, and top trends that enable organizations, agencies, and investors to understand the public perceptions of a brand, industry, or investment. Narrative Intelligence analyzes text, video, photographs, and social media feeds to detect viral narratives, identify which entities are proliferating the narrative, and contextualize the conversations. 

Kudzu is a simple web-based interface, so there’s nothing to download or install. Contact us to get a demo and see what it can do for your organization.

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