Cognos Consumer Insight Helps Us Make Sense Of Social Media Discussions


Last week I decided to buy a new camera bag. Instead of heading out to one of the camera stores in Munich, I researched different styles and products on Google. The websites of most manufacturers were somewhat helpful. Once I had picked a few models, I starting drilling down by look at blogs, groups on Flickr and Twitter. And that was worth the effort – turned out that most people didn’t like the models I had initially picked. As a matter of fact, I ended up buying a bag that hadn’t caught my eye before. It got the best reviews. Long story short: Two blog entries along with a few comments in a Flickr group influenced my decision – not the manufacturer’s websites. Chances are that you have similar stories to tell.


Social MediaSocial Media are extremely influential. A Forrester report from 2009 stated that 78% of all consumers trust peer recommendations. Likewise, most consumers do not trust marketing messages any more. The implication for organizations is obvious: you have got to understand what customers are saying about you! But how do you best go about that? I remember sitting in my car ten years ago listening to a debate about the future of the internet. Somebody made the bold statement that companies would hire professional internet surfers in the future. These “analysts” were supposed to spend their days surfing the web and checking websites and forums for interesting things. Certainly an option. Hilarious.


Well, it doesn’t have to be manual. Earlier this year, IBM introduced a new solution called Cognos Consumer Insight and it allows organizations to analyze conversations in social media such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc.. To do that, the solution collects and processes data from the desired social media sites & categories. Text analytics are utilized to comb through the potentially massive amount of data and to identify sentiment and general trends. The output of all this can then be analyzed in the usual Cognos 10 environment.

Cognos Consumer Insight
Cognos Consumer Insight


The output of Cognos Consumer Insight is very powerful. The potential is huge:

  • Identify discussions about quality issues. Act on the information before the issues turn into a serious social media disaster.
  • Which product attributes are really important to customers? Is it the color, is it the look?
  • Which social media channels are the important ones for us? Is it Twitter, are they key blogs, discussion forums?
  • etc..

There are several different ways to look at the data. Apart from traditional reporting, you can perform a sentiment analysis, view evolving topic flows, identify affinities or simply look at specific tweets, statements and such (see the examples below).

Sentiment Analysis
Sentiment Analysis: Positive (green) vs negative (red)
Evolving Topics
Evolving Topics: Hot words


Understanding what people talk about and how they talk about your products and services is extremely important. IBM Cognos Consumer Insight helps you stay on top of this.

There is a lot more to discuss about this great solution. If you happen to attend BAForum and IoD, make sure to sign up for the relevant sessions about this topic. There is a highly interesting Social media & Customer Analytics track this year. Hope to see you there!

P.S.: Back to my camera bag: The discussion forums and blogs indicated that easy access to your camera is super important when selecting the right bag. A bunch of manufacturers had led me down a path of looking at maximum storage room. Their designs did not get any good reviews. Cognos Consumer Insight could help them improve their product design and messaging.






2 responses to “Cognos Consumer Insight Helps Us Make Sense Of Social Media Discussions”

  1. Octopus

    Social Media really has impacted the level of consumer insight you can get and it’s great to see new tools such as cognos be developed to help us take more advantage of this fact! has some more examples of how consumer insights have changed over recent years.

  2. marketing oxford

    Consumer insights from social media have impacted how we have ran clients marketing campaigns. We have started using cognos to help to come up with social media campaigns. We’ve found that using adverts based around HOT topics that relate somewhat to our clients product/service perform a lot better! At we love how much insight can be gained from social media nowadays.