Underhood gets to grips with your online reputation
Using an innovative, automated system, Underhood helps companies and brands to get a handle on their social media efforts.
It’s baffling that many companies still treat social media as a one-way communication channel, rather than actively engaging with their audience. It’s not only a question of image – it has concrete impact on their bottom line.
This is the message of Underhood, a Finnish company that “allows firms and brands to see how well they are performing on the Internet and helps them step up their social media game,” says co-founder Sami Kuusela. “Many still use the Internet for basically issuing press releases, and do not participate in the conversation around the company.”
In the digital era, a company’s social media activity and dialogue with its audience are critical elements of how reputation is built and maintained.
“There is a growing understanding that reputation is absolutely crucial for any company,” says Kuusela. “Some say that reputation is the single most important factor in the success of a firm.”
The data is out there
Underhood’s algorithm, developed in-house, assesses reputation based on three criteria that examine firms’ social media presence: similarity (how similar the language of the company and its audience is), dialogue (how engaged and reactive the company is) and visibility (how well-known the company is).
The whole process is entirely automatic, producing a detailed report that lets companies see how effective they are on social media, and where they should make additional effort.
“Online, we can see immediately the reactions and exchanges on a company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts,” Kuusela says. “Our system can’t be tricked, as it measures people’s actual, genuine behaviour online”
Underhood releases plenty of information for free, but for a monthly fee, historical data and further comparisons and reports are also available. Rather ingeniously, anyone can see how companies score on Underhood. “It’s an additional incentive to take this stuff seriously: everyone can see how well you are doing. Even if you didn’t yourself check your score, you can be sure that your competitors will,” Kuusela says.
The company is also transparent about its analytical methodology, which has allowed Underhood to partner with researchers interested in reputation analysis.
The company may be young (it launched its beta version in July), but Underhood has already received significant endorsements. In February, it landed an investment of 100 000 euros from Asiakastieto, a company that provides corporate, risk management, and sales and marketing information services. And, in November, it raised roughly the same amount from a group of angel investors.
To expand from social media, the firm is already looking at using other sources of data to measure reputation, such as news media articles. But in the long run Underhood aims to develop even more comprehensive tools that allow extrapolating how companies are performing generally based on various data sources, using a method called “nowcasting”.
When I ask Kuusela about Underhood’s own score on its platform, the response is delightfully frank: “It’s crappy, but that’s how it should be since we’ve just entered the scene, and there’s little buzz around us yet. Reputation doesn’t happen on its own but takes a lot of effort.”
Text: Teemu Henriksson