Post Covid World : Can historical data predict the future ?


The change in consumer behavior caused by the coronavirus has created an unexpected challenge for companies: Pre-pandemic Data is now unreliable, or even obsolete in predicting new trends.

How can we possibly predict what will happen next?`

Strategy is about the future, but uncertainty is now the rule. No one has the ability to predict the future, not even Marty McFly. How to navigate in these times then? One way to deal with this challenge is by taking a 3 step data informed strategy at the speed of digital culture. I have named this approach the 3E Methodology: Explore - Enrich - Embody.

We need to investigate as if we are "anthropologists"
We need to move beyond the science of data to the “art of interpretation” and embrace the current context. The value that can be obtained from data depends first on the relevance of the question: what would be key to explore in order to identify new opportunities? Knowing how to ‘ask’ the data will totally change the value of the result. We also have to understand ‘the why’ and explore the underlaying data and the connected topics that are driving a trend’s performance whilst working with cross-functional teams.
How to?
The ‘Who is our customer?’ question has become more difficult than ever to answer. Leveraging AI for deep segmentations based on psychographics using Twitter insights combined with traditional demographics will unveil key profiles, values and tribes.

Case : Nespresso with Codec
Nespresso needed to define and populate their pre-conceived Global consumer tribes and find an effective way of scaling these tribes down to accurate, actionable local insights for country-specific markets.
Using Direct Persona Translation, Codec transformed Nespresso’s existing brand research to create tribes within France, US, Australia and the UK. This resulted in a precise definition of relevant, real-life communities of social media users within each country with insight around passions, interests and mindset.
This understanding of their tribes’ consumer activity formed the basis of their brand strategy moving forward. Nespresso’s long-term purpose around sustainability was enhanced as a result of key trends emerging through deep diving into their tribe values.

 #2 ENRICH connecting the dots between multiple data sources
The consumer journey is made of multiple different touch points. We need to combine those numerous data sources to connect the dots, explore new territories and unveil tensions to enhance the experience.
How to?
Identifying pain points across the consumer journey has become more challenging than ever in this fragmented digital world. By "scrapping the surface" and combining social conversations from Twitter and Instagram with search trends from YouTube and business sales, cultural trends, key behaviors and patterns will be uncovered.

Case : BNP Paribas with Publicis Conseil
A project I managed as a data lead:
BNP Paribas wanted to launch a new offer to engage younger audiences and become the favorite bank for cinema enthusiasts.
WHAT : Social listening using Radarly helped me uncover key topics and cultural trends expressed on social media around any recent / previous movies.
HOW : Google search trends helped me discover that people search for movies through the lens of emotions ("I am looking for a movie to laugh / think / cry).
WHO : Segmentation of the audiences based on psychographics (passion points, mind set, values) using Audiense allowed me to unveil 4 key profiles around cinema : passionate, technophile, binge watchers, elitist.
"We Love Cinema”: a digital ecosystem for cinema enthusiasts providing engaging content and a ‘CineMatcher’ to search and find relevant movies based on audience interests. The project led to a huge increase of the brand awareness. I was able to measure this post campaign using brand lift studies.

... and observe the world in real time
We need to learn from audiences in real time to accelerate market launches and preempt low signals. History is about the present, not the past.

How to ?
The world is changing at an incredible speed; companies can no longer keep up with this level of acceleration in order to create innovative products and services ahead of the competition. Cutting edge AI technologies based on the Trend Prediction Value (TPV) algorithm will help to identify emerging signals, calculate the potential growth for each trend and accelerate the market launch.

Case : PepsiCO & Black Swan Data
PepsiCo asked Black Swan Data to use their trend prediction methodology to recommend new flavor innovations for their core beverage brands.
A deep dive into millions of relevant and real-time consumer generated beverage conversations from Twitter to identify ingredients and flavors that were most strongly associated with each brand, and identify potential white-space opportunities using the Trend Prediction Value algorithm.
PepsiCo was able to prioritize their Innovation pipeline by using key metrics to inform which flavor variants should be launched, and when. This resulted in the creation of Pepsi Zero Ginger and Pepsi Zero Wild Cherry.
In a Nutshell
Data interrogation, enrichment and automation are key for making wise decisions about the business in the long run.
5 rules to keep in mind
1. Understand the real problem that needs to be solved and learn how to interrogate the data; the smarter the question, the bigger the impact.
2. Collaborate with cross-functional teams with a clear roadmap.
3. Combine multiple data sources: online & offline, structured & unstructured, external & internal, owned & earned media.
4. Tech obsessed but tool agnostic.
5. Measure the true impact of marketing efforts by using incremental methodologies and data driven attribution.
Seddik Cherif
Research Manager at Twitter France


Data Storyteller passionate about digital marketing and cultural trends