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FAQ’s

FAQ’s
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Which Consumer Goods categories do you cover?

We can potentially work in any category, so if your category isn’t listed here, fear not. Get in touch and we’ll see how we can help. Our expertise: Packaged Food; Non-Alcoholic Beverages; Alcoholic Beverages; Skincare; Cosmetics and Household.

What data sources do you use?

A variety of publicly available Social data sources including: Blogs (e.g. HuffPost), Message Boards (e.g. Reddit), News Sources (e.g. The Wall Street Journal), Reviews, (e.g. Amazon reviews) and Social Networks (e.g. public tweets from Twitter). We can also utilise our specific regional social data partnerships such as Sina Weibo in China and VK in Russia.

How are you different from social listening?

Social listening monitors what is currently happening in digital conversations about pre-determined subjects. We go beyond simply monitoring what you already know. We build consumer defined category datasets that allow us to surface and identify emerging and unknown trends that you otherwise wouldn’t know about. Our TPV algorithm scientifically ranks each trend by its future importance to the category, enabling you to identify white space opportunities 6+ months earlier than any social listening tool is capable of.

What do you mean by irrelevant content?

Our goal is to set a new industry standard for Social data in terms of how clean, useful and reliable it is. To achieve this we spend a huge amount of our time and resource removing irrelevant noise and content from Social data. For example, if a beverage brand wants to understand how the Lemonade conversation will evolve, all irrelevant content - like Beyonce’s album of the same name - needs to be first removed. Otherwise, the data will be skewed and our subsequent predictions will be less accurate.

What sectors do you operate in?

We focus on the Consumer Goods, Quick Service Restaurant and Travel sectors but our tools and processes have the potential to be applied to any sector. Put simply, if consumers are talking about a topic online, then we can analyse that conversation for business intelligence.

What predictions have you made in the past that have come to fruition?

Our predictions come to fruition most months, as new products come to the market. The top three which our clients have successfully actioned are a Matcha variant of green tea for Lipton, a seaweed flavour of healthy crisp alternatives for PepsiCo brand Off the Eaten Path, and a Wasabi flavour for Walker’s Sensations.

How can I access Trendscope?

Trendscope can be accessed via a monthly subscription which includes training and onboarding alongside access to our Insight Consultants to ensure you are maximising value from the tool. Typically, a new account can be up and running within a matter of days. Please contact us to start the conversation.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad term for techniques that enable machines or programmes to perform what are deemed as ‘intelligent tasks’ otherwise performed by a human with much greater capacity and speed. We use forms of AI, namely NLP and Machine Learning, to turn unstructured Social data into meaningful business intelligence.

What is Machine Learning?

A subset of AI that includes statistical techniques that enable machines to improve at tasks with experience. We use Machine Learning to solve complex problems where defining the rules of what the solution has to DO is impossible. Instead of programming rules we teach the machine via examples, so we define what we EXPECT from it and the machine learns the rules. For instance, giving precise and robust rules why a Social media post is positive/negative/neutral is impossible. Instead, we manually label several thousand posts then make the machine learn the rules based on this training dataset.

What is TPV?

TPV is a scientific ranking metric that helps brands identify which trends to prioritise for action. It assigns a comparative value to each of the thousands of trends within a category, enabling trends to be ranked objectively based on their predicted importance in +6 months’ time.

What is NLP?

Natural Language Processing (NLP) put most simply is the field of using computers to understand and analyse human language (inclusive of sarcasm, colloquialisms, emojis etc.) to gain an accurate depiction of its content and sentiment. It means we can read and make sense of millions of pieces of consumer generated digital content within a matter of seconds.

Does your approach replace traditional research methods?

Our methodologies surface insight from ‘actual’, unprompted consumer behaviour via Social data. Our proprietary AI and algorithms use this data to identify and rank each and every trend in your category based on its future predicted value. This is how we scientifically distinguish between a fad and a trend, making it easier to determine when and how to act. Traditional research has both its advantages and disadvantages, but by asking consumers direct questions which are pre-emptive by design, you leave yourself open to blindspots.

What is Social Prediction?

Social Prediction uses AI and data science to go beyond monitoring what’s currently being talked about by consumers to accurately predict what will be most important to them in the future. We achieve this by building consumer defined category datasets from the ‘bottom-up’ and apply predictive models which can identify new and emerging trends 6+ months earlier than any other trend methodology.

Who are Black Swan Data’s competitors?

We see ourselves at the forefront of a new research-technology market that uses Big Data and applied data science to unlock rich consumer insight and accurate trend predictions from digitally generated consumer content. Given we are one of the only providers of this type of capability, we compete against many different types of companies - all of which don't do exactly what we do or as fast as we can do it, but offer services that solve a similar use case for our clients.

How can I commission a Horizon report?

Horizon gives you the most comprehensive and accurate view of your category now and in the future. It is a modular based reporting system which ensures we cover the business questions that are most pertinent to your brand, including: Category Strategy, Innovation, Communication and M&A. Because we use our continuous, automated datasets, Horizon reports can be compiled within a matter of days - what would take traditional research techniques months. Please contact us to arrange a call with one of our Insight Consultants to find out more.

Which new product innovations have you helped launch?

We work across a range of sectors and markets, helping clients understand which trends to activate and when. Our trend intelligence enabled Unilever brand Lipton to launch a Matcha Ice Tea months ahead of the market. Our consumer insights have helped PepsiCo launch successful new brands such as Bubly, Life Water and Off the Eaten Path.
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We’ll be in touch soon. Until then, here’s some reading to whet your appetite.

Here at Black Swan Data, we are proud to be recognised as a Twitter Official Partner. The Official Partner badge is awarded to a handful of select companies who have been independently evaluated as best-in-breed solutions, which in our case is using social intelligence to anticipate and predict consumer behaviour for marketing and innovation strategy. Beyond the stamp of endorsement of the Twitter badge, as a Partner we also get to work together on cool projects like their Birdseye report a series of ground-breaking studies that unearths the trends driving conversation across multiple categories, one of which is Alcoholic Beverages. In this post, we’ll give you a taster of some of our key findings. What we found As with all our reports, we’ve used our TRENDSCOPE SaaS platform to analyse millions of publicly available consumer conversations around the consumption of Alcohol to identify three key trends that are driving the conversation, and by extension, consumer preferences in this fast-changing category. Healthier Drinking? 11% more consumers say “Yes”. Non-alcoholic beverages are getting an upgrade. More people are exploring the Low and No Alcohol space, looking to drink cleanly and avoid the effects of alcoholic beverages. This is also driving preferences towards plant-based ingredients like Lychee, Grapefruit or Orange, as we saw from an 11% increase in the conversation around healthy ingredients over the past couple of years. More than one in ten switch to the canned Piña Colada. Making it easy. With a 12% YoY change for the period of September 2020-21 versus the same period between 2019 and 2020, is is clear thatafter two years of lockdowns and increasing time spent at home, consumers have turned to recreating the taste experience they would normally receive at a restaurant or a bar using ready-to-drink options. This is partly because of the convenience these formats offer, as well as continued supply issues that have made getting access to ingredients to make your own cocktail at home restricted. American brands and products see 33% increase in conversations. Beyond the comfort zone. Tired of the same old? Evidently, with a 24% increase in conversations around this topic. Consumers are expanding their alcohol choices and are looking for international drinks and brands that are authentic with interesting product stories. Consumers are increasingly discussing trying new European and Asian offerings as well as artisanal, local American brands and breweries – especially when it comes to Low & No options. Another area of growth is the curiosity around influencer-led brands and the increasing role celebrity figureheads are playing in driving trial and preference. Overall, […]

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Many large CPG firms are struggling to innovate fast enough, and this is leading some to experiment with different business models and different ways to get things through their large systems. The cry of ‘be Agile!’ can be heard in many corporate offices, and with this push to be more agile it could be easy to think that stage gate processes should be abolished altogether.   

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Since the beginning of market research in the early 1900’s, companies have been trying to understand the needs of their customers, find ways of improving their products, and validate new ideas before spending large amounts of money developing them.

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Personal Care Report

Discover what drives change in the Body Hygiene category

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