Weber Shandwick Establishes Global Intelligence Division

Wednesday 22 January, 2020

Weber Shandwick today announced the formation of a Global Intelligence division to advance the firm’s commitment to deliver data-driven solutions to client partners. Comprised of more than 100 data scientists, analysts and engineers around the world, the group uses data and analytics to inform strategies – such as insight-driven, earned media storytelling opportunities – that address a wide array of business challenges.

At the core of the unit is A-Hub – a custom-built, AI-powered platform that can sift and sort billions of data points from thousands of data sources, enabling analysts to efficiently develop custom models that uncover insights and predict tangible outcomes. A-Hub uniquely incorporates earned and social media from a variety of data sources into its data stack, in combination with proprietary client and paid media data. This capability allows Weber Shandwick to develop stories most likely to meet client goals, such as building reputation, enhancing brand affinity and driving sales.

A-Hub was built in-house by the Global Intelligence team, which brings together a wide range of cross-market technical expertise – combining former physicists with hedge fund quants and rocket scientists. Many on the team hold doctorate and other advanced degrees from top institutions, including MIT, Yale, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and the University of Oxford.

“The strength of talent within our Global Intelligence unit, combined with the computing power of A-Hub, positions Weber Shandwick to lead the way in deep understanding and predictive modelling around social and earned conversation,” said Chris Perry, Chief Innovation Officer, Weber Shandwick. “That depth of intelligence has already had a significant impact for clients as they increasingly leverage data and analytics to fuel their marketing and communications efforts.”

A-Hub utilises artificial intelligence to ingest data from virtually any source, including but not limited to: print and online media, social media, broadcast, search, display, email and streaming platforms. The Global Intelligence team offers reputation benchmarking, brand positioning, journey mapping, audience segmentation and influencer identification among its specialties. The team and technology adhere to the strictest privacy standards, partnering with legal and regulatory experts to ensure the data behind the firm’s analyses are unbiased, sourced ethically and compliant with a complex regulatory environment.

“Instead of simply providing measurement at the end of a campaign, we’re developing effective, impact-driven programmes based on insights from the start. This provides a proprietary advantage to our clients in the field as they seek to gain market share, reputation impact or increased profitability,” said Brian Buchwald, head of Global Intelligence at Weber Shandwick.

Weber Shandwick has a long history of developing bespoke tools and technology to meet client needs. In 2018, to address inefficiencies in how brands respond to customer comments on social media, the firm built Q, an enterprise platform that uses machine learning and AI to streamline any brand’s social customer service operation. In 2014, Weber Shandwick developed Mediaco Publish, a CMS specifically designed for brand publishing. And in 2010, the firm developed firebell, the industry’s first social media crisis simulation software and training session.