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4 Digital Tools for Trend Scouting and Ideation

  |  July 2, 2014   |  Comments

In order for marketers to succeed, they must use tools that can help them generate new, effective ideas as well as monitor trends in the industry. Here are four examples of tools that can help with just that.

The digital age has improved innovation processes. As technology continues to shape our world, mindset, and attitudes, it's necessary to use online tools for trend scouting and ideation. To be effective, you must continually seek out and evaluate new, online tools to help you maximize productivity for tasks, such as ideation.

Game-changing ideas are difficult to produce on demand. Therefore, leaders in the "idea-generating" business don't focus on quantity - instead they focus on producing ideas that are realistic and impactful for their customers and clients.

Below are four tools that will help you accelerate ideation and improve customer insights.

Hashtagr - Map a Universe of Possibilities With Hashtags

Hashtags are words or phrases - preceded by a "#" - that identify messages on specific topics. For example, #SimplicityPays is a hashtag used by Siegel+Gale to share content created by the firm. Content tagged with #SimplicityPays includes photos, videos, and bylines that are shared across platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Hashtagr is a new aggregator tool created by three college students that aims to "connect the world" via a hashtag search engine. The technology aggregates hashtags from platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, and offers an overview of what customers and clients are saying across social media.

Not only do hashtags connect users to content, they connect users to other users interacting with that content - the possibilities are endless for businesses trying to gain a greater understanding of their customers.


Sentiment140 - Read Between the Lines

It's essential to dig through survey results, focus group transcripts, and message boards for inspiration, however, the volume of content can be overwhelming. Information overload, combined with the unlimited processing power of cloud computing, has elevated the relevance of sentiment.

Sentiment140, which analyzes Twitter "sentiment," was created by three Stanford University graduate students as a class project. The "sentiment" analyzed provides users with a deeper understanding of consumer attitudes. Sentiment140 enables teams to understand at a high level how people feel about brands and topics.

For instance, search the hashtag #USSoccer on the Sentiment140 website, and get a snapshot analysis of the conversation and sentiment fans express on Twitter about the U.S. soccer team. White is analyzed as neutral sentiments, green is positive, and red - negative.


Betterific - Stay in Tune With Your Audience

To understand and respond to emerging trends, it's essential to monitor customer feedback. A valuable tool for the ideation process is being able to quickly and easily analyze customer feedback.

Betterific has been described as "the Reddit for customer feedback." According to their mission statement, their goal is to crowdsource innovation. Users post suggestions about how to improve products and services, and other users vote that idea up or down. The highest ranked posts rise to the top.

Named by The Next Web as a start-up to watch, Betterific serves as an agile customer feedback and consumer insights tool. The website enables you to connect with brands' most engaged customers. The feedback offers valuable insights into trends and fodder for idea generation.


Topsy - Analyze the Social Conversation

For effective trend scouting, it's important to continuously monitor and analyze the social conversation. You must seek to understand the perception of a brand before you begin to ideate.

Topsy is a global, real-time, data-tracking tool that analyzes the global conversation on Twitter. Last year, Apple acquired Topsy for more than $200 million. The website tracks how often terms are tweeted, identifies influential subject matter experts, and measures the exposure of events or campaigns. The platform also offers a comprehensive Twitter archive, offering the full Twitter history at your fingertips. Topsy Pro is also great tool for regular brand reporting. The depth of analysis means you can easily pull key statistics, trends, and insights out to include in regular daily/weekly reports.



Thomas Mueller

Thomas Mueller is the chief experience officer, digital, leadership, and simplification, at Siegel+Gale based in New York. Thomas is often inspired by cycling trips through New York's Catskill Mountains, where he spends much of his free time renovating his country house and admiring the simple wonders of the constantly changing scenery.

As a brand experience visionary, he passionately believes in honing the essence of simplicity to enable remarkable experiences through any service, interaction or communication. For the past 17 years, Thomas has devoted his work on the client side at agencies to the pursuit of making users and brands equally happy.

Today, as chief experience officer at Siegel+Gale, he works with consumer brands, financial services firms, media companies and nonprofits such as American Express, Bank of America, Citi, IRS, Penske, United Mileage Plus, HP, SAP and Rotary International to help them leverage the power of simplicity. Prior to joining Siegel+Gale, Thomas worked with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Arnold Worldwide and Razorfish.

Thomas holds a BFA in communications design from Fachhochschule München in Germany, an MFA in media design from the Art Center College of Design and a certificate from the Harvard Business School's Business Perspectives for Design Leaders program. He has contributed to such notable publications as the Wall Street Journal and Forrester Research Reports. His many awards include the New Media Invasion Gold Award, Cannes Silver Cyber Lion, Art Directors Club NY, The One Show, Webby, WebAwards and DesignInteract.


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