Rowena before we talk Products, could you tell us a bit about the company background? Why Starcount? Why social data? Why now?
When our CEO and CDO, Edwina and Clive decided to come back to work after retiring from dunnhumby, their mission was to find data sets that gave brands who didn’t have the luxury of rich grocery transaction data like Tesco the ability to understand consumers in just as much detail.
Grocery data is great because customers come frequently and buy lots of items but if you sell cars, handbags, insurance, or sofas you may only see your customer every 5 years… or twice a year if you’re lucky.
So to increase their loyalty, engagement and to encourage upsell, you have to find out what they love more than just your brand. They looked at lots of data sources but social data was by far the most insightful, effective and far-reaching option as it gives a really honest view of what people love and engage with. Instead of being rearview-focused and looking at past behaviour, it allows us to look at lifestyles, motivations and mindsets to predict how customers will behave in the future. Knowing this gives brands a better idea of how to tailor their communication plans and overall strategy to achieve greater engagement with existing and prospective customers, giving them a competitive advantage in the market.
What made them choose to invest in Starcount?
There was a huge opportunity with the data! Starcount was, at the time a celebrity and brand ranking tool, Clive and I spent the first 3 years creating ways of interpreting consumer interests based on the ‘social stars’ they follow. This led to the creation of what we now know and love as our ‘passion graph’ which shows what customers love outside of their shopping habits and where they consume these passions, be it brands, influencers, media channels etc.
Could you tell us more about the Starcount Observatory?
Well, where do we begin? The Observatory uses the passion graph I mentioned to combine social media data from 1.3 billion global consumers. It’s awesome because you can instantly visualise how consumers are motivated and triggered. You understand their interests, motivations and lifestyle patterns and can see where their emotional loyalty really lies. We monitor and quantify emerging trends, predict future buying behaviour and track the changes over time.
Unlike many data sets used today to understand why consumers buy – such as TGI and YouGov surveys which model out data from very small sets (around 150,000 people) – our social data is at individual customer level. Observatory presents rich insights built off a panel of 25 million, in the UK alone!
What exactly are passions and motivations and what do they tell us?
Yes, all the buzzwords can be confusing. Here they are explained:
- Stars – Any social media account with a significant following or profile.
- Star Type – What are they (brand, website, influencer, media, destination, organisation etc.)
- Passions/Motivations – The passion is the ‘why’ somebody would follow a ‘Star’. What are their hobbies? What do they like to do/study/get involved in? By understanding passions, you can see why they follow certain ‘Stars’. What are the reasons for liking electric cars? Is it because they’re technology enthusiasts? Are they environmentally conscious?
- Penetration – The number of people in the segment that follow the
‘Star’ or match with the passion.
- Mindsets – once you understand the passions and motivations (what they are interested in and why) you can start to understand the mindsets i.e. how they will act in the future.
How is Audiences different and what do your clients use it for?
Audiences was created as a natural partner to the Observatory. The Observatory is a customer segmentation tool which delivers bespoke market insights. We wanted to build something that our clients could use without our assistance to create their own audiences for targeting and more importantly – use to plan omnichannel marketing.