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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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Our mission is to accurately predict and anticipate changes in consumer behaviour so that our customers can stay ahead of the curve, make better strategic decisions and launch more successful new product innovations to market.  To achieve this we work closely with social media platforms and data providers to unlock the power within their data. Every day millions of us publicly share our opinions, motivations, needs and ideas online. We apply AI and Machine Learning technology to transform this ocean of unstructured text into best-in-class strategic consumer intelligence and trend predictions.  This mission has led to us collaborating with the team at Twitter for a number of years to co-develop new use-cases and applications for their data in the field of consumer insights and new product innovation. So, it was with great pride that earlier this week Black Swan Data was announced and recognised by Twitter as the newest member of their Official Partner Program. The Official Partner badge is awarded to a handful of select companies recognised for excellence in the application of Twitter’s data. To achieve the badge we were evaluated as meeting the highest standards of performance across a number of areas including the quality of our products and services.  The badge is a huge external endorsement and it tells our customers what they can expect when working with Black Swan Data: Guaranteed Excellence – Official Partners are best-in-breed solutions, selected after demonstrating high customer satisfaction and an extensive evaluation. Partners are continuously reviewed to ensure great experiences across all facets of their business. Innovation – Official Partners receive unparalleled access to Twitter data to provide dependable solutions and build ground breaking products. Access – Twitter Official Partners receive early access to information, betas, and cross-functional support teams to ensure their success.  “Black Swan’s Trendscope platform enables brands to identify, prioritise and predict which emerging consumer trends they should be actioning in their future product innovation strategy. We’ve admired their capabilities for several years now and seen the impact they can deliver to clients first-hand. So, it’s with great excitement that we’re announcing Black Swan Data as the newest member of the Twitter Official Partner Program that recognises businesses who are best-in-class at applying Twitter’s data.”  Lauren Jenkins, Head of the Twitter Official Partner Program I’m absolutely thrilled to be announcing this news and would like to personally thank Twitter for their ongoing partnership and support, as well as all our ‘Swans’ for their hard work and excellence. Inch by inch, yard by yard, mile by mile we are transforming the market research industry and this is another […]

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Consumers’ non-alcoholic beverage choices and preferences are evolving. 2020 was ripe for embracing the low- and no-alcohol trends, and consumers’ thirst for non-alcoholic beverages have continued to increase with attitudes towards moderation and balance becoming salient. Using our US Non-Alcoholic Beverages dataset, we’ve taken a deep dive into three major shifts that are occurring within the category; Breaking Monotony, Enhance The Natural and Functional Health. Utilising over 68 million, recent unprompted social and online conversations, we believe these are the trends that should be guiding your marketing and innovation strategy in 2022+. Trend prediction quickly explained You’ll see we’ve used our Trend Prediction Value (TPV) to rank the trends below. TPV is a scientific metric that ranks the thousands of conversation trends we’re continuously tracking by their future growth potential. Put simply, the higher the TPV ranking, the higher certainty that this trend will be growing in consumer conversation in 6-18 months. It enables brands to spot future growth opportunities earlier, and use a scientific measure to prioritise which trends to action in their innovation and marketing strategies. You can find out more about TPV and our Social Prediction tool, Trendscope here. Breaking Monotony   As many of us slowly ease out of covid restrictions, consumers are turning to new flavours and ingredients, hoping to regain some of the excitement and diversity that’s been missed over the past 18 months. Specifically, seasonal and international flavours are stimulating consumer’s interest, as they choose beverages that can break the humdrum of daily life and repetitive routine.   Where to focus Crafting an Experience Customers are no longer consuming beverages as a means to an end. They are searching for products that can boost moods and create new experiences to share and remember. Drinks that can distinguish themselves from traditional formats and flavours, such as THC Drink (TPV #5) or Vietnamese Iced Coffee (TPV #59), will pique customer’s interest. Flavour and Format Experimentation With 21% of consumers showing greater interest in international flavours, brands should be prepared to innovate with rich and unique ingredients. New products such as Nimbu Pani (Indian Lemonade) (TPV #918) are gaining traction in the category whilst formats like Sparkling Lemonade (TPV #53) or techniques such as Cold Infusion (TPV #253) become increasingly popular.     Enhance The Natural   Consumers want to know exactly what is in their drink. Increased concerns around artificial additives and general sugar levels are driving this space as consumers become more knowledgeable and aware of a product’s ingredients. Where to focus   Sugar and Unwanted Additives   Consumers want to […]

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Covid has undoubtedly shifted consumer’s cleaning habits and priorities. Although many of us are slowly easing out of the pandemic, and may feel ‘normality’ returning, the last 18 months has permanently elevated the importance of hygiene in the home, and consequently, purchasing behaviour.

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Non-Alcoholic Beverages Predictions Report

In a fast-changing marketplace, how do you understand the future growth opportunities of your category?

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