Beechwood, the integrated agency, is setting up an agency to monitor brand perceptions online, as it seeks to help clients manage their brands online.
The agency, which will be called Flux, will offer clients an online interface with real-time information about their brands’ profiles through fluxmonitor.com.
It will monitor the volume of online "brand chatter" from a large number of sources and aims to detect emerging trends or any shifts in opinions.
Fluxmonitor.com will analyse and interpret a brand’s profile in social networks, blogs and user-generated sites, with the aim of spotting trends, interesting posts and hot topics as they emerge.
Philip Beeching will leave his position as chairman of Beechwood to head the company. He says: "Many clients remain unaware of how much their brand is part of a constant online dialogue. Even doing something as simple as showing them the results of searching millions of blogs for their brand on technorati.com can leave them gobsmacked.
"Consumers are shaping brands online, whether brand owners like it or not. You can’t stop it, you can’t control it but you can seek to legitimately influence it. The only way you can do this is to embrace it, understand it and respond to it by engaging with your consumers online."
He says the Diet Coke/Mentos phenomenon, where people filmed bottles of Diet Coke exploding after Mentos were added and then posted the films on video sites, is an example of how user-generated content can influence brands.