I joined Orenda Software Solutions in 2015. I was excited to join a start-up and knew that I’d be taking on a leadership role but was unsure of how I would perform. My background is in academic research, not operations, administration, or management. At the time I remember reading somewhere that Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is a popular book for business leadership with some people going as far as to make it a required reading for new managers in their organizations. Initially I was sceptical of how relevant it would be, but with an open-mind I picked up the 2003 edition translated by Chow-Hou Wee.
Overall, I found that the advice and insight is applicable to leadership and business in general. The concise and succinct statements put a lot of emphasis on evaluating situations before engaging in battle and on being prepared to adapt to changing conditions during battle. In short, the considerations on tactics and strategies transcend their military origins and are applicable to all areas of competition.
I finished reading and noticed that at work I was mindful of what we as an organization were trying to do and how we were working to achieve them, but not to the point where I was drawing military analogies for each situation. It wasn’t until I was in a planning session with one of Orenda’s external advisors that I had time to think and realized that one of Sun Tzu’s quotes captured how I see Orenda being used strategically in any industry.
“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu.
This quote describes the reason for Orenda’s existence. Our social monitoring and analysis is meant to provide insight into how the public discusses your brand. To know yourself, you have to be honest about your brand and look at the data that measures how people talk about your product or service candidly. Criticism will give you areas to improve and why. To know your enemy, or competition, you can look at the same metrics over the same time period and learn the reasons for differences in trends. Knowing where you rank among your industry and why will give you the foundation for what actions to take in order to optimize your existing success or to become more competitive in the future.
Being aware of certain metrics will give you the information needed to recognize the conditions that explain changes in them. You may eventually be able to optimize performance by controlling certain variables you weren’t previously tracking. Orenda measures perception, specifically, we measure the factors that determine reputation like how trustworthy or reliable a brand is. We realize that the value of data is measured by what you can do with it and we believe that measuring how the general public perceives your brand encourages more informed decision-making on all levels. When different team members can access data they eventually learn to recognize trends and to investigate when the reason behind trends going outside the norm. Creating collaboration from your team can yield suggestions and insight you may not have previously considered.
With new projects I try to bring it back to the user’s planning or objectives. I like to get everyone involved to think broadly and get back to basics and focus on answering a few key questions:
What is our purpose/why do we exist?
Why is this important/what are we trying to achieve?
Where are we now in relation to our next goal/What have we already tried?
What do we consider success and how do we measure it?
Hypothetically, what could we have done differently during the last plan?
What are we most afraid our competition might do?
Asking these questions and using Orenda to monitor public perception is all about getting immediate and authentic feedback from social media to gauge how well a brand is performing. I like to think of it as conducting or writing out a strategic reputation plan, it’s something that I think major brands are doing in some way through marketing or public relations efforts, but going outside of these disciplines and including team members from all departments will reveal insights that are often overlooked. I hope that Orenda will inspire more entities to embrace our take on measuring reputation, perception, and building a healthy relationship with the people who determine their brand. When it comes to a brand’s relationship with society, it is very much about trust, something that can be built and maintained by measuring the cause and effect of action and perception.