I have been using Meltwater in my PR and Crisis Communication class (#FrebergPR) this semester, and it has been one of the best decisions. The community in which Carol Ann Vance (Director of University Relations for Meltwater) and her team has created with #MeltwaterEDU has been vibrant and extremely rewarding.
Just recently, I was able to read the new book by Jorn Lyseggen, who is the founder of Meltwater. The title of the book is “Outside Insight: Navigating a World Drowning in Data,” and I was amazed with how fast I was able to get through it. I couldn’t wait to write this review of the book! Here are some of the things I wanted to share with you based on my analysis of the book:
Introduction to a new way of thinking and digital paradigm. I felt this was very strong, and it does show the overall premise we are facing in the industry. Traditionally, we have explored what is happening internally first, and then what is happening outside. However, to be proactive and adaptive, we have to shift how we approach our data analysis and application, which brings forth the Outside Insight perspective. With that being said, data now has to be evaluated in three different formats: external data, real-time data, and benchmarking. We have seen this presented in other circumstances, but not working together. There are three separate chapters on each of these points with a lot of current cases that show how others have approached this (ex. Minute Maid, USPS, etc).
Relevant application of understanding the importance of data and how to apply it. I felt Chapter 9 (Outside Insight for Marketers) was particularly good and relevant to the courses I teach in social media. The first point that was made was how 1) social media was measurable and 2) social media was about engaging in relationships between brands and organizations. Most of the time, you see this order presented the other way around. However, I do think it is important to note while social media does involve proactive measures to establish strong relationships, it can be measured. With that being said of course, we (ex. marketers, PR professionals, etc) have to understand how clean, reliable, and trustworthy the data really is (which is a completely different conversation).
In addition, this will be relevant for my fellow colleagues interested in crisis and risk, is what is discussed in Chapter 11 (Outside Insight for Risk Management). This is a key area of specialization and focus for social media, and we have to have the tools, plans, and metrics structures in place before an incident occurs and be able to evaluate and act on these insights in real-time.
Discusses future implications and risks to note. I think this is one of the things I felt was particularly strong about this book was not only identifying areas for the future to watch (some I have never heard of!) and the potential risks of this new paradigm approach. I feel having a balanced approach on things – noting the benefits and challenges – is crucial, and I was pleased to see these points highlighted in the book. Algorithm changes, impact of privacy, fake influence and buying likes, and many more topics were covered here. All of these points are key for us, especially educators, to discuss and share with our classes.
Wealth of examples. I love how there is not only clear examples shared in the book, but really puts things into context. For example, one of the case studies that was featured in the book was Kodak, and how they really didn’t see what was happening outside of their company as far as camera sales goes. However, as Lyseggen points out, if they looked at external data, they would have noticed a shift occurring in the industry, which ultimately impacted their brand and position as a camera company.
On the flip side, in the same chapter, Instagram is featured as a brand that did look at what the data was saying, and reacted accordingly to it. These are the types of examples to share with students so they can see the direct connection between data, application, and creative strategy.
Did I also mention there were QR codes in the book where you could access more information? Yep – this book has this as well!
Personal / Professional Voice Blended well together. I felt this was one of the great things about this book. Most of the time, you do get one or the other when it comes to book. Each author has their own writing style, but I liked how Lyseggen would interject his own thoughts and perspectives into the mix along with making sure he was communicating the key concepts here.
Multiple components to create an interactive learning experience. I think this has been the first book that has truly integrated mobile effectively. With the purchase of this book, you are able to get two additional options. First, you have the opportunity to download and use the Meltwater Outside Insight app, which provides additional features and resources here free to use. Some of the resources here includes additional case studies and video interviews, which is great to have, especially if you are using Meltwater for class.
Summary + Recommendation
What are my thoughts about Outside Insight? Definitely a great book to add to your class as you incorporate Meltwater into your classes. Along with the great insights, you are able to also see how leadership, in the form of Jorn, can really impact how a company operates and how they work. I have been impressed with Meltwater as a brand and company for a while now, and this experience along with this book cemented this view for me.
So, after you read this post, you need to:
- Go to Outside Insight’s main website and bookmark it (also full of amazing posts and resources!)
- Click on the button to view the Outside Insight book.
- Buy the book on Amazon!
I would like to give a special shout out and thanks to Carol Ann Vance (you are AMAZING, Carol Ann!) and the rest of the great Meltwater team for their continued support for educators, students, and fellow professionals in the media industry. Your commitment and generosity to share your resources, time, and help us better understand the media and digital landscape has been truly wonderful. I know from the group I manage on FB for social media professors, Meltwater has been viewed extremely positively.
Hope you all are having a great day!