Tech Talk: Synthesio CMO Allen Bonde

“It’s impossible to track all the things that your customers could be doing online. But brands could do a better job planning campaigns or thinking about new product features or even figuring out if people were saying negative things about their brand.”

Tech Talk: Synthesio CMO Allen Bonde

What does Synthesio do?
Synthesio offers a technology platform that helps brands better understand their customers, using different types of social signals. It could be what they're doing on searches, what they're saying or what they're filling out in surveys.

Imagine this big web of crawlers and connectors that suck in all this data from these different sources, such as social networks, consumer websites and media sites. It then applies different types of AI to make sense of it—what people are saying, what the sentiments are, what they've done and the super cool stuff: what they're going to do next. It's getting into the predictive realm with data science.

How does your AI inform a brand's marketing and PR strategy?
It's impossible to track all the things that your customers could be doing online. But brands could do a better job planning campaigns or thinking about new product features or even figuring out if people were saying negative things about their brand.

Increasingly market research and professionals are tasked with figuring out what consumers are saying about their products, brands and competitors and using those insights to make better decisions about which markets to target or which product features to emphasize.

How do PR professionals use your technology?
Use cases are very much related to brand reputation. With crisis communication, when there's an incident, you look at what's being said and whether the sentiment is positive or negative.

With general brand reputation, what are people saying about a company's corporate social responsibility or, for example, its response to COVID or with air travel, will people feel safer and fly on an airline if it requires vaccination?

This closely relates to brand management and how you communicate to the market based on customers' concerns. We have a tool called topic modeling. It pulls literally billions of data points. But it then applies what's called unsupervised machine learning, which is technology that automatically organizes and clusters conversations into topics.

A big issue for every company is coming back to the office and employee expectations. Looking at the topic, the tool actually discovered a cluster, a lot of online chatter before it hit the news, around whether employees wanted more money when giving up working from home. Normally businesses wouldn't have asked their employees, "Do you expect to be paid more or less?"

But now some of the big tech companies are saying, "if you're going to work remotely, we're going to pay you less."

Tell us a bit more about your company's origins and your clients today.
Headquartered in New York, Synthesio was founded in 2006 in Paris, where it has an office, as well as in London, Singapore and Brussels. The initial team had a vision that technology, especially AI, machine learning and data science could make sense of what was an emerging channel, social media. In 2018, the Paris-headquartered multinational market research and consulting firm Ipsos acquired Synthesio.

Today, some of Synthesio's clients include Cigna, Sega, Delivery Hero, Deloitte, Havas, Michelin, PBS, Remy Cointreau, Danone, IPG Mediabrands and Publicis.

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