It’s every social media manager’s dream: a control panel revealing the spectrum of online chatter about a company, from good to embarrassing. Such a tool would enable PR reps to shift the public conversation about a brand by promoting positive feedback and responding to Twitter banter or news that could be potentially damaging. For instance, McDonald’s could have more quickly quelled the backfire from its #McDStories hashtag (Twitter user @SkipSullivan wrote: “One time I walked into McDonalds and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up. #McDStories”). Enter TrendViz and its intuitive free demo, demo.trendviz.com. With an elegant sans-serif Raleway typeface and a subdued gray background, TrendViz displays bright, color-coded beads of information. The demo allows users to select a real company and sort its online mentions by relevancy or positivity, with stronger sentiments appearing in darker shades. Keywords next to each cluster give a bird’s-eye view of trending stories. Two agencies, design firm CLEVER°FRANKE and developers Ai Applied, toiled on the site for a year. They tested the tool using the brand behemoths of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) to push its servers to their limits. “If we could make TrendViz work for these search terms,” says Gert Franke, co-founder of CLEVER°FRANKE, then “the toughest nut was cracked.” The team cracked the nut using MongoDB for data storage and tailor-made algorithms for sentiment analysis, subject detection, text-extraction and data clustering. His team’s difficult programming work makes it easy to visualize thousands of data points—and convert hashtag haters into brand lovers.
Leta Sobierajski and Michael Dijkstra made AIGA’s design blog whimsical with a nod to its past.