One of the most exciting aspects of working in digital communications is the breadth of new tools which offer deeper insight, richer data and more creative tactics; all of which assist us to provide a better service.
The speed at which tools emerge is both fast and exciting. What is fantastic one moment may be replaced by something even better in weeks, if not sooner. As a result of the pace of change, I get to experiment with new tools as we look to provide clients with enhanced business intelligence and more creative execution.
One tool I’ve been trialling is Recorded Future; a software company with both Google and CIA funding, based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and Göteborg, Sweden. The company’s mission is to ‘record what the world knows about the future and make it available for analysis’.
The tool is a ‘temporal analytics engine’ which ‘unlocks the predictive power of the web’. It is based on ‘linguistic and statistical algorithms used to organise unstructured text from the web and identify time-related statements about past, present, or future events’ (check out the Recorded Future blog for some predictions or click on the image below to see the tool in action).
Admittedly, these definitions may have people scratching their head in confusion and so it may be easier to start by saying what Recorded Future is not.
Firstly, it’s not a social media monitoring tool. Secondly, it’s not an online media analysis service and thirdly it’s not a web analytics tool. Instead, it should be considered something complimentary to all three.
Essentially, Recorded Future helps to map associations between entities like companies, products and people and events, such as acquisitions, product releases and IPOs, as well as the subsequent momentum generated. They currently work with the financial services and defence & intelligence sectors, but there’s an opportunity for those in digital communications and social business to utilise the tool to make more informed decisions.
I think Recorded Future has two clear applications in those fields:
Firstly, where Recorded Future really shows value is highlighting the links between events, publications and people, as well as the impact this creates online. Tools which show what has driven online conversation and coverage and maps how they are linked to people, organisations and places is hugely valuable in communications planning. Conventional monitoring tools are fantastic for looking at online mentions, but they are not designed to map networks and deliver this kind of information.
Secondly, Recorded Future ‘facilitates analysis of temporal patterns and better understanding of complex relationships and issues to explore what might happen in the future’. Whilst, Recorded Future does not claim to predict the future, by continually scanning tens of thousands of online sources, it can offer intelligence based on the authority and information within sources.
For example the tool could be utilised to provide intelligence on what a client’s competitors are expected to do next, such as a legal challenge, senior appointment, or merger & acquisition. This insight can help shape not just communications strategy, but the business one too.
I’d seriously recommend Recorded Future to anyone with an interest in social business planning, or who wants to understand their clients that bit better; by looking beyond online mentions and towards understanding the relationships, networks and connections that shape online reputation.