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FAQ’s

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APPROACH & 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.
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When my fellow founder Hugo Amos suggested “Black Swan” as our company name, my first reaction was “that’s pretty bold mate, do you really think we can do that?”. Seven years later the world finds itself in the midst of the impact from an unprecedented Black Swan event; COVID-19. Did we predict the emergence of a new virus strain at that specific moment? No, and whilst that’s never going to be possible, anticipating the human reaction to an emerging pandemic is absolutely predictable and we see this as Black Swan Data’s primary focus – to enable our customers to navigate this time of unprecedented change. Amidst ongoing concern for the vulnerable and our loved ones, we are laser-focused on using our Social Prediction technology, that analyses millions of public online conversations around the world, to help guide the path for our customers with objective data. Experiencing an unprecedented Black Swan moment like COVID-19 naturally leads brands to question what the immediate and longer-term future looks like and how they should respond. Unsurprisingly the digital world is not short of conjecture and opinion on this. The daily drumbeat of news, dominated by individual COVID-19 soundbites, may encourage brands to interpret and react with haste. However, in this artificial environment there is a temptation to react to what feels like a trend, identified using tools like social listening or traditional “question and answer” type research, only to discover it was a passing fad. It is crucial therefore to identify the trends and cultural drivers that will emerge, grow and sustain as COVID-19 plays out in a more sophisticated way. Surfacing these requires structured scientific analysis, using the tools and techniques of Social Prediction and crucially a sufficiently robust time-series dataset. Just a few weeks in to COVID-19 we believe it is too early to make meaningful long-term predictions and extrapolations. With extrapolation, for example, understanding underlying drivers of behaviour is crucial, and timing (will this sustain growth or taper off?) is everything, so patience is necessary. We’ll get more technical, covering S curves and exponentials in future posts! Having said that, there is much we can begin to make sense of, through cultural and category intelligence, to help brands in the shorter-term. By virtue of having ‘always-on’ access to our data sources, Black Swan has the ability to revisit and refine our historical forecasts with precision, by category, by market, and across cultures with new COVID-19 information. The current worldwide necessity of physical isolation, for example, may have vast implications across holistic lifestyles including cooking, in-home virtual workouts and […]

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Supporting women earlier in their careers will fuel the pipeline for tomorrow. Discover Camilla Carson’s practical tips to change the trajectory of your career, no matter the stage you’re at. ‘Do women really need their own day?’ I won’t be the only woman who rolls my eyes at this familiar statement in the next few days. I can hear Piers Morgan saying it now… Look around you in the office, co-working space or more importantly the boardroom and tell me if you still think we can spare a day to dwell on what more can be done. Re-affirming our commitment to a working culture where women can thrive, rather than simply survive. https://www.internationalwomensday.com In many ways we can use IWD to dwell on the huge advances that women have made and my own career in finance and technology – two sectors known for their challenges in the diversity stakes – has been full of positive stories. Moments where male colleagues have championed my work and opened doors which I might once have had to quietly jimmy with a crowbar. It is crucial that we fling those doors wide open, rather than expecting women to battle their way to the top. IWD also allows us to reflect on the gaps which persistently hang around. The latest data is interesting if not comfortable reading. Last year McKinsey conducted their fifth investigation of ‘Women and Work’ in partnership with LeanIn.org in the US. At Black Swan we believe that the truth is in the data so let’s dive in. Representation of women in C-Suite positions in the US grew by 24% in 2018-2019 BUT parity is a long way off – this only took us to 21% of C-Suite level positions being held by women We’re doing a little better in the UK. 32% of FTSE 350 board level positions are held by women https://30percentclub.org/ For every 100 men promoted to first level management, only 72 women were promoted and only 58 black women 1 million more women. Pipeline is key. If we addressed this disparity at the top of the funnel 1 million more women would be in positions with a route to serious advancement in the next 5 years in the US. Although progress has been made at the top, the main barriers lie earlier in our careers. The research talks of a ‘broken rung’ where far less women are promoted to first level management positions. This effect then compounds as we move up the levels and results in the familiar excuse at VP level and above – ‘No women apply […]

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From CES 2020, the best global technology show, we share our biggest take away – hint it wasn’t a robot launch or self-driving car…

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